Last weekend, I ventured to the capital of Austria, Vienna. Anne, one of the main people involved in TEA (Teachers of English in Austria, not just a group that really, REALLY likes a cup of Earl Grey) had sent an email round the Salzburg Teaching assistants inviting us to join her for a party in Vienna. I'd kinda forgotten about this email as it had been sent in October (I think.. Or i might just be very forgetful!) but Ali reminded me and was so glad she did because I ended up having a really fun weekend!
Organized to get the train from Salzburg with Ali and we got on the big international train which travels from Munich to Budapest. Unfortunately because it was the big international train, it was packed and so we traipsed up and down the aisles for AGES before eventually deciding to split up and find our own seats. Typical! The one time I go somewhere with someone, we can't sit together! Luckily Ali found us both seats pretty near each other and the person next to her got off at Linz, so I joined her for the rest of the journey. It took around 5 hours altogether to get from home to Vienna.
FIRST IMPRESSION: Vienna = proper city! Immediately outside the train station, there's big billboards, large roads with traffic lights, tram stops and pedestrian crossing and plenty of global, well-known brand shops.
Ali and I were hungry and we saw the yellow 'M' of the Mecca of fast food. Was so tasty as I hadn't eaten for such a long time!
We went back to the train station after to meet up with the 'Tirolians': Elina, Sam, Kerry, Betsy and Suzy then we went our separate ways... Ali and Suzy were having a St Andrews get-together and I joined the other to go to Anne's house. However, as they hadn't eaten yet, I somehow ended up in the second restaurant of the evening! As I didn't REALLY feel like a second meal, I had a 'Wiener-Mädl torte' instead. White chocolate, sponge cake and vanilla creme.... HEAVEN!!!
FIRST IMPRESSION OF ANNE'S HOUSE: Amazingly massive and grand! Anne was so nice and welcoming, the first thing she said was: 'I Have one rule: Make yourself at home!'.
Met Rachel and Pavel (a Polish assistant, teaching English in Rachel's town) in the kitchen and for the rest of the night, waited for the others to arrive. Pam, Karen, Walter and ... someone who's name I've forgotten :S all arrived throughout the evening and we spent time catching up and hearing about each others experiences.
Woke early - lot of time to explore! We split into groups because everyone wanted to do different things and so walked towards Hofburg with the Tirolians. We passed the Rathaus, where a large but very tourist-y Christmas market was but we didn't have time to look around.
At Hofburg, we went round the Porcelain Museum and the Sisi Museum. Porcelain was pretty boring. Some facts were interesting, but after seeing one set of plates, you don't really need to see 700 other sets! :S
The Sisi museum on the other hand, was really interesting! It was amazing to walk around the living quarters of this iconic Queen and learn about her troubled history. One of my favourite items on exhibition was the syringe filled with cocaine which was used to 'cure' menstrual pains! LOL!
After this, we walked back into the town centre where we had some pizza and saw a really talented artist spray painting amazing sci-fi landscapes! His name is Joel Chavez so check him out!
After marvelling at the artists skills for half an hour while he created another work of art, we went to the Sacher Cafe. This is the place where the world famous Sachertorte was created. It's probably the poshest cafe I have EVER been in, with a cloakroom and the most polite waiters/waitresses in the world (and there was a 30 min queue outside)! The Sacher torte was delicious - I'd defo recommend a visit here.
On the way back to Anne's, we went round two other Chrismtas Markets - One at the Museumsquartier (Maria Theresien-Platz) and one at Spittelberg. Viele Geschenke were bought here!!!
We got back at 7 and more people arrived: lots of TEA members from all over Austria and a few second year TAs, all of whom I'd never met before. We were joined by more 1st years as well: Ali, Suzy, Emily, Nora and Lars from Salzburg. Had a few drinks, sang Christmas carols and ate food together. Really enjoyed it! Met a few cool new people and had some interesting chats! :D
SECOND IMPRESSION: Anne is THE BEST! She gave us a buffet and wine/beer, put 15 of us up for the night and made sure we were really well accommodated in general! Definitely one of the most generous people I know, especially as she didn't really know us before that weekend.
JOURNEY HOME: Got the 1.15 train with Ali. Managed to get a comfy seat across the aisle from Ali, but think we were both too knackered/hung over to talk! I know I was knackered at least!
At Salzburg, we got on a train that went through Hallein. The trains were running slow anyway, but this train stopped at EVERY station along the line, so I ended up missing my connection at Schwarzach! I waited for 30 mins, got on the train and was soon in Saalfelden. The majority of passengers got off here (I guess coz they were school kids and probs go to the schools I teach in!) so took the taxis waiting outside. How annoying! I was going to walk all the way home, but it was soooooo cold I rang a taxi.
All in all the journey took 7 HOURS from door to door! HOW RIDICULOUS! Too long for me!
As a final note, here is a children's shop in Vienna: