Sunday, March 31, 2013

Katelyn's Culinary and Cultural Visit to Vienna

My dear friend and freshman - junior year college roommate, Katelyn, came all the way just to Vienna for a week to visit moi. Amid catching up and seeing the sights, we had quite the week exploring restaurants, cafes, and bars in Vienna. 

Himbeerbowle at Schloss Schönbrunn

Schickaneder, 4th district

Easter Market at Freyung, Wien

Cafe Demel, famous tortes and cakes

Cafe Demel decor

Katelyn trying out a Käsekrainer, a hotdog filled with cheese. Not something for me!

Wein & Co, Universität

On Monday, I took Katelyn to Salzburg, as it was always her dream to take part on the Sound of Music tour. Normally, I hate such tourist attractions. After doing the tour, I still would rather stay away from such organized tours. But at least we saw some lovely scenery, and Katelyn's dreams came true :)

A special thanks to Miss Katelyn for coming all the way to Vienna to visit! It was wonderful in so many ways, and I will never forget the visit!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Budapest & Mumford.... A Religious Experience

Several months ago, Mumford & Sons, a Grammy award-winning folk band from England, announced tour dates for the European tour. Word spread quickly in Vienna, and tickets were sold out within one or two days. My friends and I found out a couple of hours too late, but, as luck would have it, saw that tickets were still available-- and half the price-- in Budapest. 

Vienna is conveniently located close to the border of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, so bus tickets to and from said countries are rather cheap and frequent. I'd been to Budapest once a few years ago around Christmas time, and my friends thought it would be a fantastic chance to get back to the city and have a short weekend getaway in combination with the concert.

We arrived on that Friday night and made our way straight to the venue in anticipation of the concert. There are few words that I can share to summarize the concert and my experience other than it was simply religious. I don't like to throw that term around loosely, but the music, lyrics, and atmosphere simply gave way to an experience I've never had at a concert. 

After the concert, we went searching for food. Hey, did you know McDonalds also offers walk-through service in Hungary???

The following day, while my studious roommate hit the books at Starbucks, my friend and I joined a free walking tour and I checked off "tourist activity" off the list of things to do while in Budapest. 

Later that night, after roaming the city in circles trying to find the Jewish district, we enjoyed some drinks at the most interesting pub I've ever been to, Szimpla.  I can recommend that to anyone traveling to Budapest; it's a mix of art, grunge, trend, vintage, and locals and tourists alike frequent the bar. 

Taking the advice of our tour guide, we spent our last morning at one of Budapest's famous thermal baths and let the mineral waters magically cure any fog that remained from the night before.

All in all, I'm glad we didn't get tickets to the concert in Vienna, as I thoroughly enjoyed my second time in Budapest, the Paris of the east-- a must if you are traveling through Eastern Europe. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's my "Spring Break", and it's been below freezing every day, and we have three inches of snow. Regretting not booking a trip to Spain or southern Italy to escape the winter.

What the heck Austria?! Two years ago at this time, I was running around in a dress and basking in the sun during my holidays. Now I'm afraid to leave the house. The feeling I have is like when I would see snow in Minnesota in May.

On a positive note, my friend and freshman roommate from Uni, Katelyn, has been visiting me.

Updates to come on Budapest, Katelyn's visit, and plans to start studies in the fall SOON!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How I Spent My Friday

Mumford and Sons in Budapest: It was so good, and I was so sad when it was over. (The quality got screwed up when I uploaded it... but you can just imagine.)

More on Budapest to come.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring is Coming... Finally

Today is the third day in a row with a perfectly blue sky and beautiful sunshine. Herrlich. 

This may not be so blog-worthy for many, but let me tell you why this is a monumental time for us here in Vienna: This winter has been the gloomiest and cloudiest winter in 130 years in Vienna. Three days of sunshine--that's something to point out.

Every morning at school, we have calendar time. The kids learn about the months of the year, the days of the week, the seasons, and the weather. We always insert an appropriate weather card behind the date, and for the month of February, we had TWO days of sunshine the entire month.

It was simply depressing.

But now the sun is gracing us with its presence,  and I'm tempted to stand outside for the rest of the day so as to store up some Vitamin D just in case the sun forgets about us again in Vienna.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Liebster Award

Hello World! I have been nominated for a "Liebster" Award from Liva over at No Kangaroos in Austria. Liebster award-- that sounds German, you say? Well, Liebster is a term of endearment according to Leo dictionary. Honestly, I can't say I've heard it too much over here in Austria, but that's alright! In any case, this is a fun way to say WHAT'S UP blog world by answering a set of questions written by the nominator and passing along to eleven other blogs which I liebe, or at least like a lot :D (But I don't read 11 blogs regularly, so I'm just tagging a few...)

So, without further adieu, here I go....

1. Where would you like to go on a dream trip, money no object?

I would love to travel to South America, beginning in Argentina and making my way up towards Chile, Brasil, Peru, Bolivia... basically, all of South America would be amazing.

2. What is the most adventurous trip you have taken?

I once took a road trip to Paris with an American friend and an older couple from Eastern Germany that we had just met. It was pretty adventurous, since we had just met them the week before, had cooked them an American breakfast, and they decided to whisk us away to Paris with them when our German was just okay.

3. How do you prefer to travel (plane, car, boat, etc.)?

It depends. I enjoy train travel, because I find it more comfortable than flying; you can get up and walk around and you can see a lot of the countryside. Also, I don't have to suffer with sinus issues when I travel by train. But obviously traveling by plane is a lot faster, and therefore my preferred means of travel most times.

4. Where do you plan to travel next?

I'm traveling to Budapest next weekend for some sightseeing and to see Mumford & Sons in concert. Looking forward to my second time there!

5. What are your top three travel essentials when packing?

Sinus medicine, my cell phone charger, my travel journal

6. What would you tell a new blogger?


7. Who is your ideal travel companion?


8. What is the best trip (near or far) that you've ever taken?

I've had so many amazing trips... but I'd have to go with Istanbul 2012. Three friends and I rented a private apartment and were pleasantly surprised by the city, the people, and the cats. It was a fantastic mixture of sightseeing, relaxing, eating awesome food, shopping, and going out. The weather sucked, but we that did not spoil our time!

9. Where do you go to clear your head?

I go running

10. What is your favorite city?

Top three: Vienna, Berlin, Chicago

11. Describe yourself in five words.

Outgoing, curious, confident, kind, happy

And here are my eleven questions for the following blogs:
1. How and why did your blog start?
2. How long has your blog existed?
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4. What has been your favorite trip?
5. What is your favorite city in the world?
6. What's the coolest thing you have ever done?
7. Where do you go to clear your head?
8. What do you do when you have an entire day free for yourself?
9. What can't you live without?
10. What language would you like to learn?
11. Describe yourself in five words.

Here are a few blogs I'm tagging, have fun with it!

A Carinthian American
Emilia in Austria
A German Experience
Jenni Austria Germany
Vegan Soul Power

Please Do Not Respect the Privacy of Others

The germ factories, aka the little kids at work, managed to slam me like a train with influenza this past month.  While the month was indeed positive in many, many ways (Laura's visit from America, traveling, vacation, etc.), a giant bomb dropped on my health and I was left immobile for several days.

At one of my visits to the doctor--one of my faaaaavorite pastimes in Austria--I experienced a slight breech in patient confidentiality. I was waiting to check in at the front desk, awkwardly standing in a giant group of people while we all eyed each other thinking "I was here before you. You better not jump in line", which is a totally rational thought to have while living here, as queues are NOT observed. The man at the desk was having a very loud and graphic conversation with the woman checking him in about his symptoms and the drugs he is on, and it became very clear to me that there is little privacy when visiting the doctor. There is no sign that reads "Please stand back to respect other patient's privacy", so everyone just groups around the front desk. The receptionist checking people in was by no means quiet, and I could hear their conversation perfectly, as could everyone else in the waiting room. The man wanted to get a prescription refilled too soon, or something, and apparently he was breaking the law, and boy, did she let him have it. She told him it was his responsibility to follow the rules and to see the doctor regularly, and that this was not a Kindergarten, the doctor would not take care of that... no, no, no. He is an adult and it is HIS responsibility. Talk about talking down on people.

And I heard all of this perfectly as I told the person standing next to me with my eyes that my turn was next.