30.01.2015 - 31.01.2015
The rest of my ski week was a very relaxing one-kind of. I spent the morning and afternoon of my last two days watching animated children’s movies in German to be somewhat productive while not skiing. Unfortunately my knees kept me from hitting the slopes. At meals and at night all of the students would come together to eat and get to know each other!
The day before we left we had to return to the bottom of the mountain to return all of our ski equipment. Unfortunately there are only two ways to get to the bottom-by skiing or by walking to the gondola and taking it all the way down. A small group of us ended up walking to the gondola with our professor that afternoon. I shouldn’t say walk, I should say climb…it’s a mountain. You know the Spongebob episode where he gets stuck at the bottom of a town and tries running up a ninety degree angle to get to the top? That’s how we all felt trying to get to the top of the mountain with our ski gear. I would like to think that this was the most intensive cardio exercise of my life. Luckily once we returned our gear at the bottom of the mountain we took the gondola all the way back up to a bar where we celebrated some milestones of the week. The categories were most improved skier, best dressed at meals after hitting the slopes (sarcasm), overcoming adversity, and best fall. After some VERY amusing nomination speeches we all continued to hang out and celebrate our last day on the mountain.
The last day also required a climb back up the mountain to the gondola, but this time luckily with no ski gear in hand. After returning to the bottom for the last time, we said goodbye to Saalbach-Hinterglemm and returned by train to Vienna. I was beyond excited to return to Vienna! It was time to get familiar with the city I now call home. After a short walk from the train station we dropped our bags at the dorm at four pm and began a race to find things for our room. Stores in Vienna close at five or six pm on Saturdays and are also closed on Sundays. This made food and a phone plan a top priority. Food ended up being the only thing we accomplished but I’m not complaining because now it’s Sunday and I have groceries
My arrival at my dorm, Haus Erasmus, also made for an interesting story. I walked into the room I had a key for and told the girl that I was her roommate, to which she responded with, no you aren’t. Apparently I had been moved rooms without being notified. I later found a letter and my new key in the room I slept in the first night. My roommate is really nice though. Her name is Betty and she’s from Hungary. We’re both sophomores but she studies chemistry which is way over my head.
After getting groceries a few of us decided to go out for dinner together. We took the train into the center of Vienna and I absolutely fell in love with my new city. You come up from the train stop right outside of Stephansdom, a famous cathedral in Vienna. Unfortunately my phone died as soon as we got there so I don’t have any pictures to show yet. From the Stephansdom we headed to see the State Opera House where we bought a traveling bratwurst and a beer to enjoy for dinner sitting on the steps of a large statue outside of a museum. It amazes me that it was legal for us to walk around the city with our beer cans. After dinner we headed to the Rathaus-city hall. Outside of city hall there is an ice skating rink and a small ice skating maze set up. American music was playing and people of all ages were skating together on the rink. It was absolutely beautiful. We also purchased a Glühwein, a hot spiced red wine, to enjoy while we observed the ice skating. After finishing the drink I decided not to return the mug for my deposit back, but instead to keep it as a souvenir and also as my first dish in my room. Now to find a plate and some silverware.
I’m so happy I got to experience the center of Vienna for the first time at night. Everywhere I looked was beautiful lit up architecture and culture and music. It was an extraordinary way to start my night.
After making it back to the dorm from dinner at about nine, almost everyone in the program decided to go out and celebrate it being Saturday night and our first night back in the city. We headed to a bar down the street to start the night and then made our way to an Australian bar called the Travel Shack. It was amazing to see the mix of people crammed into this bar-and I do mean crammed. Also expensive. I miss Champaign’s drink prices.
All in all my first day back in Vienna was amazing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me!