Day 8

Trip Start Jan 24, 2008
Trip End May 05, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Friday, February 1, 2008

On Friday we went on our guided tours again for class. We first went to the museums quarter which was a very impressive square. There was a large well-kept park in the square surrounded by 3 very large buildings which I'm assuming are the museums. In the center of the square was a massive statue of Maria Theresa on her throne. I guess there are something like 50 different museums in this quarter. (I will certainly be coming back here since I am taking a museum studies course right now).    Next we went to the Hofburg Theater where I guess a lot more modern plays are shown. This was near where the parliament is. Then we went to the Rathaus. This was that beautiful gothic architecture building I mentioned on Wednesday. The Rathaus is the current municipal building. This place is massive! There was a very large outdoor skating arena that went all over in front of the Rathaus. I guess you can't rent skates and skate all day there. There were little vendors everywhere and so that people can walk around in just their skates they have a wooden floor where the vendors and ticket places are. 
   The next place we went I can't remember what it was called, but it was this outdoor market place where people were selling home-made things and lots of food. We got brot-wurst and it was amazing! Across the street there was this little tunnel mall that we found and we all kind of found our way in there because it was really cold out. I saw Katie and Taylor in one of the shops and I was just going to wave and walk past and then I realized what kind of shop they were in. It was a chocolatery! Caroline and I immediatly went in and were bombarded by the glorious smell of chocolate. They had every possible kind of chocolate you could imagine. I couldn't leave that store empty-handed. There was a wonderful variety of home-made truffles and I got myself a bag of six. Many of these truffles had alcohol in them. The lady getting us the truffles asked if we were Americans and I said yes. And then she asked is it true that in America if you are under 21 you can't by alcohol? I thought this was hilarious because it was like in Europe it was an urban legend or something.  
    That evening while the rest of our group was going out to the club, Caroline and I invited Katie and Taylor to come with us to the Theresianum Cafe, because we wanted to share this place with our collegues. The place was pretty much packed when we got there. There was the already familiar smell of heavy cigarette smoke the second we walked in. It seemed like everyone in the cafe turned and looked at us when we walked in. Inge greeted us and we greeted her: "Grusse gott!" Luckily we were able to get a booth. The other owner of the cafe was there tonight, his name is Hans. He only speaks German and knows very little German. He seemed like he had been drinking for a little bit. We ordered our drinks and had a grand time. There were some older gentlemen who kind of kept looking at us and tried communicating with us but again they spoke very little English. We wanted to get a picture taken with Hans and Inge so we asked the men to take it for us. One of them wanted to get in the picture too.
He offered to buy us some drinks which Caroline and I gladly took him up on. I got a small glass of white wine which was excellent but I think it had a pretty high alcohol content because I felt it. As soon as I was done the glass the gentleman told Inge to poor me another glass at which I was like "Nine nine Ich bin gut" but she still poored me a glass and I thought it would be rude to not drink it since it was being bought for me. When I was done with that glass though it was getting pretty late so we decided to go. We had a great time though trying to communicate with the older gentlemen in broken English and broken German. We said "Gute Nacht" and "bis Morgen" and everyone in the place watched us as we left.
    As soon as we got outside we realized we now smelled like ashtrays. That is one thing that we kind of take for granted in America that no one is allowed to smoke in public places but in Austria that is not necessarily the case.
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