The Dessert Cities

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Flag of Austria  , Lower Austria,
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I can't believe I'm through my 2nd week in Vienna. I'm finally all settled in to my apartment and learning my way around our neighborhood.  I've got a pretty good handle on the metro and bus systems, so I can navigate well to things that aren't close.  Grocery shopping has certainly been an interesting experience, probably more so than it was in Leiden.  It’s a constant challenge to find chicken breasts and decent looking lettuce.  I'm eating a lot of fish right now, since that’s the easiest to find and I can't do pork at every meal (which is everywhere!), but I’m definitely putting the oven to good use.  We’ve all had some translation issues at the store.  I thought I was getting olive oil, it was rapeseed oil (which I didn’t figure out until after I smeared it all over chicken).  Rebecca thought she bought a frozen pizza with chicken on it, turned out to be tuna.  But we are learning!

Our book issue for class is getting worked out, we have 3 of our missing 4 books, just waiting for the last one, hopefully will have it soon.  Thankfully it’s not a key text, just a supplemental.  On Thursday we had our first Methods class.  This is going to be an interesting class I think, and I already need to nail down my topic for the paper for this class.  I’m having trouble coming up with a question, so that’s what I will probably spend the weekend doing, along with reading.  I can’t believe I’ve been here 2 weeks and I have yet to actually study, but there just wasn’t anything to do until now.

Webster took us on a 1 hour tour of the Vienna highlights on Tuesday, which was a nice opportunity to get our barrings and know what we all wanted to see.  On Wednesday Amy and I spent her last day here sightseeing around Melk and Krems, which always make me think of dessert.  These 2 cute towns west of Vienna are apparently very popular with the tourists, so we figured we had to see them.  Melk is home to the impressive Melk Abby, which is perched on a plateau above the town.  We hiked up to the Abby through the rain and walked around the grounds a little bit.  Unfortunately the Abby is only open for group tours after October 31st, so we didn’t get to see the interior, but the grounds were very nice.  Afterwards we meandered back down to the town center and had lunch (Schnitzel and Potato Salad, yum) before catching the train to Krems.  I’m not entirely certain why Krems is such a tourist "must see," but it was a very cute town.  We spent most of the time there wandering through the old town photographing the lovely architecture and doing some window shopping.  We then decided to stop for some coffee and yummy cake before catching the train back to Vienna.

After returning to Vienna, I got to see Amy’s tiny hotel room, it could fit in my bedroom 3-times over.  By 7pm it was time for dinner, so we opted for the Mexican restaurant across the street from her hotel, which had us both very intrigued.  It was actually very good, we were impressed.  I had enchiladas that were very spicy and a margarita that was more tequila than margarita mix and which I was feeling on the metro ride back to my apartment and again while walking the 3 flights up the spiral staircase, not good.

Also this week Kerry came to visit us from the Geneva campus.  He’s the guy whose house in Burgundy we get to visit for a weekend when we are in Geneva.  He came just to make sure we were doing well and to take us out to dinner.  We also were able to get some info about living in Geneva and London next term.  Have to admit I’m a little concerned about those 2 cities, which are supposed to be the 2 most expensive cities.  I’m trying to budget everything so that I can do what I want to do but also not exhaust all my money.  I’m also still working on planning my 2 week spring break between London and Bangkok, but I’m leaning towards spending a week horseback riding somewhere in the UK.  I’ve found several fairly reasonable trips that I’m considering and I probably should decide soon if this is what I want to do.

I’m sure the next 6 weeks here in Vienna are going to fly by.  The Christmas Markets open on or around November 14th, I will definitely be hitting those up, and of course I need to do some sightseeing in the city center.  I’m hoping the weather this coming week is decent and I can stand to be outside, it has been a little chilly lately.  We also had our first snow fall, although it is still warm enough that nothing was sticking to the ground.  I need to get my “touristy” stuff out of the way before class work really gets rolling, so hoping I can do that this week.

That’s it for now.  Love ya all.
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