A Cinderella Story

Trip Start Jan 08, 2008
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Saturday, February 2, 2008

My roommates and I had the opportunity to participate in a Viennese tradition last night called Fasching. For two months, every organization from the Opera house to the Coffee Makers association put together a ball for the public to attend. These balls range in price from 20 Euros to 1,000 Euros.
Last night, the organizational host was the University of Technology in Vienna took place at the Hofburg Imperial Palace and was absolutely beautiful.

After a full day of class and meetings, my roommates and I raced home to prepare for our Cinderella Event. The opening ceremony began at 9:30pm so we could not be late.

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The time was 9:15pm and we were standing in our ball gowns in the outskirts of the city at the wrong bus stop. We quickly searched for the closest correct stop and discovered the waiting time was 20 minutes.
We looked at each other and knew we wouldn't make it on time and decided it would be a good idea to walk. It's only a 5 minute walk right?

Well, I was in 3 inch heels with a ball gown that probably should have been hemmed and 5 minutes into the walk, I sensed that it might have been a better idea to wait for the bus. It didn't occur to me that a 5 minute walk in walking shoes equals about a treacherous 20 minute walk in high heels.

And then...we saw the palace!
In any other city, one would marvel at the beauty and grandeur of this palace, but we are in Vienna-every building is like this. The excitement seems to disappear on the residents of Vienna.

Once we arrived, we shuffled up the grand staircase into a foyer outside the ballroom. The ceremony already started but we couldn't see anything.
The doors to the ball room were overflowing with people stepping on each others' gowns. We missed the ceremony, but I think it consisted of couples in white gowns and coat tails dancing a choreographed dance.

My roommates' boyfriend was in town visiting and brought a nice suit to wear to the ball. About 20 minutes after our arrival, someone approached Rachel's boyfriend speaking rapid German.
He realized their confused faces and looked for his supervisor. It turns out that ties are not allowed at the ball...only bowties. The man couldn't believe that Rachel's boyfriend was allowed in. His supervisor arrived and took one look at his tie and fashioned a bowtie out of his it and said "There you go!" It was a surprisingly good looking bowtie and it was apparent that this woman had done this once or twice.

The night never got any less crowded, we were constantly fighting against the flow of people and there was of course no seating areas and no free water.

Even though my screaming feet were constantly on my mind, I still enjoyed dancing with the Austrian who held out his hand to me.
I had no chance of pretending I spoke German so I told him immediately that I couldn't. It turns out he had lived in Texas for 2 years while his father taught at Texas A&M. He was also a ballroom dance champion (apparently that is a notable thing for young men to do in Europe) and taught me how to tango, cha-cha, and an improvised dance with a lot of spinning.
As klutzy as I felt, I managed to follow him and talk at the same time...not an easy feat! Once I accomplished my goal of being asked to dance at least once, I was ready to take my swollen feet and my parched mouth home.

It was a beautiful palace and it was a wonderful experience, but I'll gladly go back to dancing to my 80's music when I return to the States. :)
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