The rest of my days in Austria were awesome! I absolutely love it there, which I think most people would find surprising, considering its a very small town, very quiet, and yes some of my family members own cows (and lots of them) and sheep and various farm animals. But really, I think its the people. Its another home, and another family. :) To recap a few important events:
I nearly got blown off of a mountain by the wind.
I saw a "professional" basketball game, which was closer to what we would consider a college basketball game, however it wasn't as big, but every bit just as loud. The fans were crazy! And get this - there are American players ont he team! You could tell which ones they were by how they played, with unique trick shots and "street" ball style... and they spent the majority of the time on the court. A couple of the players even became Austrian citizens so they can play on the Austrian national team! BUT, the referees are AWFUL!!! Really, we think we have bad ref's, but really we just dont like the calls they make - these guys are really bad! 3 of them ON the court, not on the sidelines, and in the way of the players the whole game. They even stopped a couple of the players to make them tuck in their shirts, thus, missing a couple of other guys make a foul.
I went to a fest in a huge concert hall where the coverband played "Cotton-eyed Joe" twice! (WHATS UP Country music??!) But really, this song is popular for their carnivale/fasching celebrations. They played some other good classics, but other than that, I have to say it was a bit... unusual. I just turned 21, and you know what that means for good ole' Americans. DRINK!!! ALOT!!! Right? ....Well, although 21 isnt so special here in Europe, I exercised my right to buy a drink, but I couldn't exercise being 21 because I was surrounded (literally) by 13-16 year olds that were completely sloshed, thus making me feel old beyond my years. And not necessarily old, just very out-of-place. None the less it was a good night, fun to be with my cousins and enjoying the local "scene."
My last day in Burgenland was quiet and nice... the weather was good and I was just happy to have a few hours with my family before leaving again. On Sunday, my cousin Tanja and her boyfriend Dominik picked me up and brought me to their flat in Vienna, which was beautiful! The districts in Vienna are shaped in circles around the city, and where she lives is in the 22nd district, which is currently being "remodeled" with brand new apartments and townhomes designed specifically for young people moving to the city. The prices are super cheap - Vienna's way of advertising for people to move in from the rural areas, as long as you dont make over a certain amount and are under a certin age, u can rent, and even rent-to-own. I especially like her flat, because its only a couple of metro-stations away from the soccer stadium! Dominik also bought an "American style" refrigerator (you know, man-size and not mini-size like the rest of europe) which has a very handy feature, a trap door on the front that you can open to get drinks out of without having to open the whole refrigerator door. He made us schnitzel, some of the best Ive had so far, before we played UNO over some cheap champagne and cake, and we had to go through the deck 5 or 6 times until someone finally lost!
Vienna the next day, I asked Tanja to show me the Vienna she knows and not all the tourist-y stuff. Which was great, we just walked - went to the Naschmarkt (one of the original markets of Vienna having some fo the most exotic and foreign foods), saw the smallest house in Vienna (basically just the corner of a building), had some hot cocoa at a cafe where you can buy the furniture on which you are eating, went to Jukius Meinl a famous coffee/wine and foreign goods shop, walked through the museum park (saw a guy holding a sign 'I want to become a millionare' (personally, I think hes going to make it with his high-standard occupation), and then went ice-skating in front of the Rathaus! Oh it was so much fun, and instead of just a plane rink they have paths of ice and small inclines/declins to make it more exciting... or more challenging for those of us not accustomed to winter sports. And to make it better, my Austrian cousin had not ice-skated before, and I had! Oh it was such good fun!
To end the night, we met some of Tanja's coworkers for after-hours drinks, get this - in a Courtyard Marriott hotel lounge(!) (I didn't find this out until later), and then had dinner in the city center. Her coworker Doris, knew a lot about Vienna and brought us by one of the oldest churches in Vienna - still standing from the 11th century! Amazing! And we saw it at night, which made it even more spectacular. You could see the stairs in the bell tower, still made of wood, and the vines creeping up the side... just cool to see.
Alas, it all had to come to an end... which resulted in a restless sleep for me, thinking about how on earth I would get my 2 suitcases and a backpack on and off 2 different trains! But, in the morning Tanja accompanied me to the train station, with the help of Dominik who very gentlemanly helped carry my bags, and Tanja even helped me get them onto and situated in the train.
It was actually really sad to leave Austria... my family, and the wide-open spaces. But, I couldn't help but be excited for what was ahead. And, I couldnt even focus enough to write. For nearly 6 hours, I just stared out a train window, from the mountainous areas of Vienna, through Linz, and then over the border in Passau, through the flat and barren farmlands of south-eastern Germany.
Then, the big moment in Nuremberg: 20 minutes, 3 bags, 10 platforms later, and 3 callouses later, I made it safely on the train to Bamberg. I was a nervous wreck, but after that I was fine. And in 1 hour, I was meeting my tandem partner from the university on the platform in Bamberg safe and sound.
However, the next few hours alone require their own blog, so that installment must wait - but just a few days. ;)
|From Wien to Nuremberg (then Bamberg)|