It’s been over a month since I packed up, jumped on a plane and, after more than 12 hours, landed in Austria. It’s been amazing already, but right now I’m in this strange place where I feel like I just got here and at the same time, like I’ve been here forever.

For me, all logic says that time moves in a linear fashion. I can not go back in time, nor can I skip ahead. However, it’s during moments like this that I feel like I’ve been bounced back and forth through time. The days are long, but the month is short, the hour ticks by slowly, but there aren’t enough hours in the day! I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night, but I can remember standing on the top of the Alps in Dorfgastein. Time is crazy and confusing and I have a feeling that these next three months are going to be just the same. Extremely spectacular, but a little too fast and a little to slow at the same time.

I feel like I already know Vienna better than Portland, although probably not better than Beaverton, where I’ve lived for 20 years of my life, but Vienna is so large and there’s so much to do that I really haven’t even scratched the surface of what this city has to offer.

In the last few weeks I’ve started my regular classes and I’m preparing for my placement exam at the University of Vienna. I’ve been in a constant struggle with German these last few weeks. Sometimes I feel like I don’t understand a word of German, while other days I feel like I could get by no problem.

The week went by quickly so I’ll just touch on some of the highlights.

Last Friday was Nick’s 21st birthday, which in Austria is not that important of a birthday, but all the other American students were keen on celebrating so we went to a restaurant/bar called 1516 and out of homesickness, we all ordered a huge burger with fries on the side. Then we headed out to enjoy the night life Vienna has to offer.

The following Sunday Ari and I were able to acquire tickets to Vienna’s Musikverein, which was having an open door day and the tickets were free! During the four hours the doors were open the Musikverein was hosting different musicians, professional storytellers and teachers. We ended up staying in the main room and the largest room, the Grosser Saal, and we listened to a performance on the Organ, watched a professional Opera singer teach amateurs, and listened to the final performance by an amateur orchestra.

The Grosser Saal was a beautiful room, completely golden with a painted ceiling and golden women carved out of pillars. It was an amazing experience and we were able to sit in the very front for both of the main performances.

 

*Photo courtesy of Ariana Lipkind*

This song was my favorite performed, Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78. It was performed by an entire orchestra, a piano and an organ.

I will definitely return to the Musikverein if I can and actually pay for a ticket this time, although I hear it’s very hard to get tickets to the good shows. We were lucky to even get tickets for the opening day.

Afterwards I headed back to the apartment and then I was invited to the Augarten to meet my host mother’s friends. They were all very nice and the children were all playing together put on the grass.

The Augarten is big for being a park so close to the center of the city and it’s very popular with the residents around the Donaukanal. It has nice long roads for walking and jogging, volleyball courts and open grass for relaxing. Along with the park the Augarten has a few restaurants, one of which is called Bunkerei. Ari and I ate there once and the food was really good and the atmosphere was great.

There are also two towers that stand watch over the garden. They are called Flak Towers or Flaktürme in German and they were built as a defense against air raids during World War II.

The tower in my photograph is G-Tower, one of three towers in Vienna. It is currently empty and part of the wall on the top is broken because of an internal explosion. It’s a little creepy thinking about what those towers were meant to do, yet life in the park moves on and now they are simply just reminders of a different time.

Heading to school one day I was able to grab a picture of the Rathaus without all the stalls from the Film Festival in front. It’s even more impressive than before.

Towards the end of the week I was invited to dinner with my host mother’s friends and we went a few blocks to their apartment, which had a gorgeous view of the city. From their apartment I could see steeple of St. Stephens off in the distance and it made for the most beautiful sunset. As the sun set I was itching to take a million photos, but unfortunately I hadn’t brought my camera. I think that experience has taught me to always carry a camera, even if it makes me look like a tourist.

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