Sunday, January 29, 2012

There Are NO Kangaroos in Austria

View of the Alps
The last weekend of my winter vacation I went to visit a friend who is teaching English in Salzburg, Austria. When I first came abroad, I must admit, Austria was not one of the places I really wanted to visit, but I figured because I had a friend living there, I might as well take advantage of a free place to stay and a free, fluent German speaking tour guide. After all, if I didn't go now, when would I ever take a casual trip to Austria?

I was not sure what to expect at first, as all I knew about Salzburg is part of The Sound of Music was filmed there, but it turned it to be a beautiful city, with its glorious view of the Swiss Alps, and has a lot to offer. My first day in Salzburg my friend had to work, so while she was working I spent the day wandering the city. I went and saw Mozart's birth house and the house he lived in when he was older, the Hohensalzburg Castle, and decided to splurge and do a little shopping in the old village at an Austrian H&M (where I found some nice jewelry, I might add!). I was tempted to do the Sound of Music bus tour, which takes you to all of the places the movie was filmed, but did not have enough time and did not want to spend the 40 euro on it either.

Mozart's birth house
That night, I went with my friend and some of her English and Irish friends to Vienna for an evening which surprisingly only cost about 46 euros roundtrip via train. I don't know what it was, but something struck me about that city; I absolutely loved it! You could also purchase a 24 hour or 48 hour underground pass for a small fee, which made it cheap and easy to get around the city. The night we arrived we went out to a really awesome club called Flex which was underground and was designed to be like a cave. It was not overly packed, was relatively cool, and played indie music, which was a nice change to all of the dubstep and drum and bass that are usually played at clubs. It was tons of fun!

Schobrunn Palace
The next day while most of the crew spent their time recuperating, two friends and myself wandered the city, however we were not really sure what most of the sites we were seeing were called; we just knew they were aesthetically pleasing and looked important. We did see the UN building, though, and once everyone else had recovered, we went to the Schobrunn Palace and continued to walk around the city up until we had to leave for our train.

Overall I'd say I had a very fun and successful trip. The only downside to Austria, in my opinion, is that there are few places to take out food, so one must go to a sit down restaurant if they want to eat out. Normally this would be okay, except the food was on the slightly more expensive side and service was very slow. If anyone was looking to go to Austria, I highly recommend you go with someone who knows the German language relatively well, as there are few signs in English and, though most people spoke English, they seemed to look down upon those who spoke English as their first language.

Now, however, vacation is over and I have completed two weeks of classes already. Boy how time flys! We won our second rugby match this past Wednesday against a team that SLAUGHTERED us last semester. This time we beat them 60 to 5 and I made two tackles by myself! It was a proud moment for all of us and we hope to keep up our winning streak.

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