Hey, so I haven’t written in a while, but it’s because the last entry I spent a ton of time on got deleted, which frustrated me to no end… at least for the last few weeks. I’m still holding a grudge against tumblr, but I think I’ll try once again.
Since I last wrote, I’ve been exploring Vienna much more and can now tell you more about Danube Island, Roman ruins in Vienna, the Opera house, Prater Park, the Naschtmarkt and other things like that. I was also in Slovenia and Italy, specifically Ljubljana, Bled, Piran, Venice and Padova two weeks ago. This last week, I went to see Don Giovanni at the opera house, and on Thursday I went to Haydn’s house for my classical symphony class. This week I’ll be going to the Freud Museum with my Psychology class.
As for this last weekend, I went to Munich for Oktoberfest with my friend, and it was unbelievable! We got to Munich at 6:15 in the morning, and the train station was as busy as if it were noon. We took the U-Bahn to Theresien field (where Oktoberfest is) by 7:30 in the morning. Already people were lining up to get into the beer tents. Large groups of guys and girls around our age were toting small wagons filled with beer bottles, and almost everyone was wearing a dirndl or leiderhosen. After about an hour of waiting, the doors to the hall open. I didn’t hear the doors open or see the doors open, but I felt the force of a thousand people behind me and in front of me start to move toward the door. I’ve never been so sandwiched in my life! Thank goodness I didn’t drop anything, because if I had, it would have been lost forever. I couldn’t have even bent down to pick up anything, that’s how packed together we all were.
When we got inside, Peter and I rushed to find a table and eventually found one with these two boys around our age. One was Vietnamese-German and the other was Portuguese but a student at the university in Munich. At first we only spoke a little bit, but after the beers started coming, we were soon very good friends. Three girls from Nuremburg also joined our table, and we quickly became friends too, speaking in both English and German. I was so happy that I got to speak so much German there, and we were using all of the things that I have learned so far in class! They were all so nice, and we would cheer on the people around us as they stood on the tables to take “the challenge”: downing a full mass without stopping. People would cheer when they chugged successfully, or boo if they failed. They would also boo if they took too long. The energy is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It is the biggest party in the world, and I can’t wait to return someday.
The next day we went on a tour of Munich with FreeEurope—an excellent company if anyone is looking for taking an inexpensive tour that is informative but also very entertaining. We learned about the beginnings of the Third Reich, Ludwig II and his creepy Hall of Beauties, and how 18th century Munich dealt with “splash-back” in the Hofbrau Haus (hint: you had better move your legs from under the table). We went up the Alt Peter and had a great view of the city, and then we had to catch our train back to Vienna.
That’s all I really have time for today, but I’ll hopefully put some pictures up soon of Munich, as well as where I went two weekends ago.
My first blog!!! That’s me in the Alps before arriving in Vienna!
My brain is somewhat fried from almost three hours of German class…interrupted only by the angry landlady who protects the space from the likes of us students and faculty. I was just about to ask my presentation partner in front of the class, “Wo wohnen Sie? Ist das weit?” when she came busting in, followed by Helmut who quickly closed the windows as she spoke in German to us all. But we are beginning German, so we don’t really know what she was saying. All the same, it is a beautiful space to be valued and protected, and I admire her vigilance. I’m sitting in the study room, which is gilded in beautiful gold and white, with mirrors reflecting the light from a crystal chandelier in the middle of the room.
In German class today we learned more about how to give directions to various places in Vienna (das Rathaus, das Kunsthistorichmuseum, der StaatOper). I’m starting to figure out where things are and how to get to them. I feel like I’m in that game Civilization where the map is a blurry fog that clears as you progress each turn of the game.
It’s clearing a lot from learning more about Vienna, such as a lecture I attended on what famous art and architecture one should see while in Vienna and where it is, but for the most part I’ve gained a lot from just going to these places. I was walking past Stephansplatz to go home (There’s an U-Bahn stop there) when I got a call from my friend Sophia saying there was going to be swing dancing at the Volksgarten! I met Sophia, Julian and Abby there and we mostly watched local young Viennese dancing to awesome swing era music (shout out to my cousin Cara!!). I was trying to be the lead with Abby at one point, and failing miserably, so an older Austrian man showed me how to listen to the music and to take little steps. So I got to dance and mingle with “real live Austrians” as the IES director Kent would say! I love how everybody is smiling and having a good time with swing dancing, whether you’re dancing yourself or just watching.
Let me just say that Vienna at night is spectacular. Not that it isn’t beautiful during the day too…but at night during the summer at least, tents blossom up in front of the Hofburg, all kinds of music flows in the streets, the film festival at the Rathaus offers free concerts, ballets, and food from all over the world! I went to watch a film of a performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony last week, along with an Eric Clapton concert from the Montreux Jazz Festival a few days before that.
This weekend I went to a free violin and piano concert at the Haus der Musik and learned a bit about Listz’s life, then I rode the ferris wheel that is in Prater Park with Sophia, Julian and Peter. It was built in the same style as the Eiffel Tower. It was somewhat updated after all the cars were burned up during WWII, but the structure itself is still from turn of the century Vienna. The skyline of Vienna is low because nothing can be taller than the south tower of St. Stephans. There are many trees in Vienna too, which I didn’t really notice until I was up in the ferris wheel. We also got a deal on this 5-D Vienna Airlines experience, lol. It was kind of like Soaring over California…sort of. I can understand why the circular wing (which was supposedly successfully flown one day before the Wright Brother’s flight) didn’t catch on, just based on the lack of control on the 5-D flight we were on, hahah.
Next time I won’t write so much since I know pictures say the most and frankly I don’t like reading blogs much so I won’t make you read mine all the time, but I figured for my first one I’d give a more verbose description of my day and part of my weekend. I love my apartment in the fifth district and my roommates are great :) I’ll write again soon, but I need to go practice now and eat, so bye! I’ll leave you with some pictures that FINALLY seem to be cooperating. Technology….