Elizabeth Hiatt
Johannes-Kepler Universitat Linz

Well I guess you could say that a new post is well overdue! I have had the busiest, craziest, most exciting couple weeks of my life! Late on Sunday night about two weeks ago I got back from my two week Easter Break from classes, and all I wanted to do was collapse into bed – I didn’t even finish unpacking.  For the vacation, first I spent a weekend in Vienna with two of my classmates (since we were flying out of the Vienna airport on Monday), and then I went to Hannover, Dublin, Amsterdam and Eindhoven, and finally Zilina and the mountains of Slovakia.  It was absolutely incredible, and I had the time of my life.

First stop:  Vienna.  Vienna is an absolutely incredible city, and it really wasn’t enough to stay there for just a weekend.  I’ll have to go back.  The first exciting aspect of the trip was that I got to ride a train for the first time! I was very happy – and I loved it!  One of the people I traveled with to get there was from Italy, and when I told him it was the first time I had ever been on a real train he looked at me like I was from another planet.  Then the other girl I was with, Sarah, and I had to explain that we don’t really have too many passenger trains in the States.  I honestly love all of the public transportation here.  When we got to Vienna we checked into our hostel, which was absolutely fabulous! It was clean, modern, and had great accommodation.  Sarah and I were in a private room with two other women: one was older and only spoke German, and the other was only a bit older than us and spoke English and German (and probably some other languages too).  As we talked to her, we found out she was from Germany and actually coming back from Slovakia.  She was getting her Masters in Cultural Anthropology, and she had just come from Slovakia where she was researching some minority groups that have settled there.

After that, we met up with Stefano again and we walked into the city center, which was quite a journey!  We went to the Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and it was truly a magnificent sight! After touring the inside a little and taking a tremendous amount of pictures, we went to the Sacher Hotel.  Stefano’s favorite torte of all time is Sacher Torte, and this was the place where the recipe was originally developed. We had to wait in line to get in to the place, but it was absolutely worth it because the torte was delicious.  Then, as Stefano was staying at a different hostel, we split up and did some shopping.  I had to be careful though – I would be flying with Ryanair and I can only have one bag (I didn’t want to go to the trouble of checking anything), so I had to choose my souvenirs carefully.  Mostly I got postcards to send to people, as those travel really well.  When we got back that night we got to talk to our roommate again, and we found out that the next morning she would be going to a local church to see the Vienna Boy’s Choir! Even though we would have to get there super early we decided to tag along, because how many times do you get an opportunity to do something like that?

We both slept like the dead that night and got up early to go to the church the next morning.  It was freezing, and it actually started to snow a little bit! After going past the church and getting a little bit turned around we found it and went inside.  We sat upstairs and didn’t actually have a good view of the choir or the mass, but we were provided with little TVs to see the whole scene.  The mass was mostly in German, of course, so I only understood a very little bit, but I really enjoyed listening to the choir.  After that we had to say goodbye to our roommate, who was leaving to go home, but I’m so glad we got to meet her.  We had to stop back by the hostel, but then we went to see Schönbrunn Palace, property that belonged to the Habsburgs! It was constructed in an absolutely astounding Baroque style, and was very fascinating to tour.  We saw the inside of the palace and then went out to explore the beautiful gardens that were on the property.  Again, lots of pictures were taken!  We ended up staying there for about a total of five hours or so, tour included and all, so by the time we got back to the hostel all we could do was collapse until dinner.  I had an early flight to Hannover, so I had to go to bed as soon as I could.  Even though I was a little sad to leave Vienna, I was extremely excited because I was going to visit Madison!


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