Exploring Wachau & Drinking in Class

For my Arts, Cultural, and Tourism Management class, we went on an “excursion” to look at the coffee culture in Vienna. We stopped in several different coffee shops to just look around and see how people could stay in the shops for hours and read the newspaper without being asked to leave. This coffee culture stemmed from older days where the coffee houses served as the Viennese living room. Houses did not have much space for guests, so people would often times meet at a coffee house. On our excursion, my class was anticipating getting to sit in a coffee house and enjoy a nice cup o’ joe. However, we just walked into these coffee shops and looked at people enjoying their coffee like they were some sort of tourist attraction. 

On the following week we met at the Prater for class. We got to learn some history of the Prater (Vienna’s amusement park & the oldest amusement park in the world). We also got to ride the Wiener Riesenrad (ferris wheel). My teacher had us walk into the Schweizerhaus (my teacher says it is the most popular beer garden in Austria). He pointed out how their mug cleaning process works and how efficient it is. Also, the food and drinks will apparently be ready in less than 5 minutes. The beer has low carbonation and lots of foam, which he said shows how good it is. I don’t know much about beer or really care much for it. While my class was “touring” we were convinced that our teacher was going to have us watch people eat and drink their beer as we walked through another location observing the locals (like in the coffee house). We were shocked when our professor invited us for a beer. The beer was not bad (I could never see myself just drinking beer for fun, but if I had to choose a beer, this was one of the better beers I have had). I did not eat much prior to this, so I did not really pay much attention to what all he was teaching us post-beer (0ops). I did learn that a girl from my class found a really good stick-and-poke tattoo artist. She was getting “Ich bin” (I am) tattooed on her foot. This might be good information for future reference. I am not sure what exactly I would get tattooed, but I have considered it and do want to get something meaningful. 

My fall break trip planning is also coming along quite well. We only have a few more minor things to plan, but the bulk of the trip is all set. Nicki, Claudia, and I will be traveling to Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Tromsø¸ (Norway), and Bergen (Norway). On this trip, we will be seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø¸. We will also be seeing the Fjords from our travels to Bergen. The Fjord trip is not complete yet, but the plan is to go through this tour company where we would be taking a train and ferry for an all-day tour. Also, fall break is apparently a great time to see the Northern Lights (the best times are said to be before winter and after winter).

I feel like a great portion of my days and weeks is consumed by GoPro uploads… Have I mentioned that they take forever? They are so touchy when uploading too. I have to select a small chunk to upload at time and make sure the computer is in use and does not go to sleep or the upload will stop, and make sure that my apartment wifi does not decide to randomly kick me off.

I worked ahead for my 2 upcoming presentations. For my one psychology class, Stephen and I have a presentation which I completed 2 days after it was assigned. The class ended up getting cancelled for this week because of reasons that are not my business (but we all love some tea), so who knows if Stephen and I ever will have to present my assigned topics. I also read and created my presentation for my management class. I am doing this presentation with a girl named Maya (I think?), but I haven’t seen her in class at all, so maybe she dropped it? Anyways, I have been carrying around the book to give it to her so she could complete her part of the project, but I haven’t seen her.

Our Oktoberfest trip is coming up soon. I am so excited. We will be taking an overnight bus into Munich (arriving at 5:00AM) and staying in a tent on Saturday night. I heard bad tent experiences from others who went for the first weekend of Oktoberfest, but I think that crowd of students attracts bad things. I do know that my friends and I will have to pack warm clothes to sleep in. It might rain too, but let us hope that the weather is wrong. Camille borrowed my dirndl for her mom to wear this weekend since they went to Oktoberfest. Camille said she bought a new apron, but I think I might stick with the apron I bought.

I have been trying to take advantage of the nice weather in Austria, so I have been trying to walk as much as I did the first couple weeks. I walked through the Naschmarkt and was reminded of how aggressive the sales people are. I walked by a falafel seller and saw him holding out a falafel like it was a sample and I hesitantly walked by because I didn’t plan on buying anything. He called me back and gave me the falafel and then was mad at me when I said I lived nearby and would buy another time. He was like “why won’t you buy it now” and I was like “I am not going to eat it now, so I will come back another time since I live right over there.” He was grumpy. Also, when you walk through the Naschmarkt, people try to sell you any and everything and every sales person tries to get your attention. I have not seen any good produce sales prices, but if there were some, then maybe I would shop there more often.

I have also realized that protein powder can only be purchased from the Hofer on Mariahilferstraße. I have looked at several stores and that is the only place I have had success at.

I participated in a “Fridays for Our Future” protest. They are trying to take a stand against climate change and are encouraging the world to take action now. The chants were fun to try to say since they were mostly in German, but some of the chants were in English though. The crowd was mostly high school students, but there was somewhat of an older crowd among the students. The protests happened at different locations throughout Vienna. Our location was not the biggest protest, but it still drew a decent group. After the protest, Nicki, Maddie, and I walked down Mariahilferstraße so I could prove that they give out freebies on Fridays. The street did not disappoint and we got free cans of Pepsi Zero Sugar. We also did a blind taste testing to declare whether we thought Pepsi or Coke without sugar was the best. We chose Pepsi, which was good because it would have been awkward to tell the Pepsi people that Coke Zero tasted better.

One of my friends got sturm from a tinder date (awkward situation with the boy, but we cannot complain because we got sturm) and she gladly shared with the rest of us. I went with her to claim the sturm from the flea market (Speaking of flea markets, Maddie got some good deals at the flea market. She snagged some nice shoes for 10 euros and a nice beer stein for 15 euros.) The sturm was incredible. For those who don’t know what sturm is, it is a very young wine from “baby” grapes. The drink is considered dangerous for making one become drunk because you do not taste the alcohol in it. We drank quite a bit of it before we went to a heurig. A heurig is a wine tavern. The hills are absolutely beautiful and unreal. Claire read up on heurigs and ordered us a pitcher of white and red wine. She also read that white wine should be drank before red wine, so we drank accordingly.

On September 22nd, I went on the IES Abroad Vienna trip to Wachau. We toured the Melk Abbey, ate at Weinschenke Edllinger, hiked to the castle ruins (Dürnstein), and toured the Weingut Josef Donabaum winery. I bought a bottle of one of the wines we taste tested for 7.50 euros. Our lunch was absolutely amazing. Salads are hard to come across in restaurants, so I was finally able to get one and it hit the spot. The apple strudel was also super good.

Claire and Maddie tried to sign up for a boxing class at the Universität Wien, but the classes were all full. They looked into boxing classes outside of the university, so Maddie and I went to one (Claire had class). It was a lot of fun and a great workout, but the studio is moving and will have classes when I have class. After our boxing class, I removed a splinter from Maddie’s foot (with my years of jewelry making, I low-key love doing meticulous things such as splinter removal-contact me for your splinter removal needs).

Claire and I will be attending a show at the Burgtheater all in German later on this week. Also, some of us are attending the Rapid Wien soccer game. Stay tuned for my next update of life abroad.


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