Tag Archives: pool

Hallie ist nach Wien gekommen.

So, Hallie arrived in the evening on Thursday and we started off with a bang by going to Cafe Sacher for a slice of Vienna’s famous Sacher torte. Apparently it’s her dad’s favorite kind of cake, so we took many pictures so as to make him jealous. Then Bobby, Billy, Andrea and I took Hallie on a short tour of the first district of Vienna. First we walked to Stephansplatz where we watched a street performer and then went inside the church for a bit. Then we walked through the Graben, a pedestrian street in Vienna, to the Hofburg where I showed Hallie the ancient Roman ruins beneath the city. Then we made our way to the Ringstraße, seeing the twin museums, parliament and the Rathaus. That night we had a sleepover in Billy and Joseph’s room. We pushed their beds together and watched The Sound of Music. Well, everyone else watched The Sound of Music. I fell asleep within ten minutes as usual.

The next morning Billy, Hallie and I woke up and met up with Sarah and Andrew at Schloss Schönbrunn, the summer palace of the old monarchs. We did the tour of the palace rooms, but it was nearly as impressive as I thought it would be. We also walked through the beautful grounds and gardens.

Sarah, Hallie, Andrew, Billy and I by the fountain at Schönbrunn

Sarah, Hallie, Andrew, Billy and I by the fountain at Schönbrunn

After our long tour of the palace Hallie and I got ready to go to the ballet. No trip to Vienna is complete without seeing a show at the opera house. So, Hallie and I ran to get a Käsekrainer, a sausage filled with cheese, and then met Sarah in the line to see Tschaikovsky’s Anna Karenina ballet. It was more modern and experimental than the last ballet I saw at the opera house, but it was beautiful! I think I like ballet more than opera, but I’ll have one more chance to test that. Our class is going to the opera together in two weeks. After the opera Andrew met up with us in the Museums Quartier and we all shared a bottle of wine until it starting raining and we went to Cafe Leopold to stay warm and dry.

The next morning I worked on homework while Hallie went to the Kunsthistoriches Museum. Andrea and I met up with her in the afternoon and took her on another small tour of the 1st district, which included a stop at Hoher Markt for some ice cream shaped like spaghetti.

Hallie enjoying Spaghetti Ice Cream

Hallie enjoying Spaghetti Ice Cream

In the evening Sarah came over to my dorm and she, Andrea and I made a traditional Austrian meal for Hallie. I prepared Leberkäse, a meatloaf kind of thing, with Semmel or rolls, and Käsespäztle, cheese on egg noodles. Sarah made Sommersalat again. It was so delicious! Then we all hopped on the Straßenbahn and headed to Baden to spend our evening at the Roman baths. It was so relaxing. My favorite part was the steam rooms. They each had different scents such as Eucalyptus. We were so relaxed until the kicked us out. We ended the evening with a girly sleepover and we watched Beauty and the Beast. I love that movie.

On Sunday morning we had plans to head out of the city to Wachau valley, but we opted to stay in Vienna so that Hallie could get the full experience. How could she leave without seeing artwork by Klimt and Schiele?! So, we headed straight for the Leopold Museum, which is now officially my favorite museum in Vienna. It is dedicated to art around the turn of the century, which I love. We saw so many works by Schiele and he is also now one of my favorite artists. My favorite drawing was titled Mother and Daughter. After the Leopold we enjoyed a meal at a cafe in the Museums Quartier. We soaked up some sun and listened to good song after good song played by the DJ for “Sounds of Summer in the MQ”. Our favorite song was by Sister Nancy. After lunch we went to the Belvedere so Hallie could see Gustav Klimt’s Kiss before she left Vienna. For dinner we went to our favorite restaurant, Centimeter, for some a very Austrian meal.

This morning Hallie packed up her stuff and I took her to the train station. It was so nice having a friend come and visit. I feel so loved. Thanks Hallie. Now I have to try and get as much homework done as possible before my friend from Northern Ireland, Andrew, arrives in Vienna and I get to be tour guide all over again!

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Parks and Pools

On Thursday we made our way to the Stadtpark (one of our favorite places) for Genussfest, which roughly translates to “enjoy party”. I don’t exactly know what kind of mental image you’ll get from that. Anyway, it’s a bunch of booths set up selling Austrian food, beer and wine. If there’s one thing I have learned about Austrians, it’s that they enjoy their festivals almost as much as they enjoy excuses to eat and drink Austrian specialties. So, Andrea and I went in on some Topfen cheese and olive bread to accompany the wine we bought in Dürnstein on our Wachau field trip.

This weekend was a fairly lazy one. I woke up late on Saturday and decided at the last minute to head to the small Austrian village of Baden bei Wien. Baden is famous for its many pools and natural hot springs. We decided to go to the cheaper of the three pool options, the Strandbad. It has a sandy beach, two hot tubs, a lazy river and two water slides. We spent the whole day enjoying the sun and playing in the water. In the evening we leisurely strolled through the park on our way back to the Straßenbahn station. We found out that there are some old ruins just outside of the town. So, we are hoping to go back to Baden very soon to go hiking out to the ruins and to try out the other pools there.

That night Billy, Andrea, Joseph and I went to the monthly couchsurfing event called the Stammtisch hoping to meet some Viennese. Unfortunately there were so many couchsurfers and it was so loud that I only had time to introduce them to the few people I already knew, namely Meghan, Matthias and Doris. Oh well! There’s always next month.

On Sunday I spent some time catching up on emails and wishing Mom a Happy Mother’s Day. In the afternoon Andrea and I took the U-Bahn to Alte Donau on the other side of the Danube river. There was a large park there filled with families riding bikes, having picnics and all around celebrating Mother’s Day. It made me miss my own family. It also made me consider buying rollerblades. It’s been so long, but I remember it being so much fun! After I got home Mom had sent me an email about Aunt Pat. She hurt her back recently and I guess there were some complications with her medicine. Aunt Louise found her and she went to the hospital. Right now Aunt Pat is staying with cousin Rick and has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.

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Why I’m not allowed to choose the hostel anymore.

We had Friday off of school because of Arbeitstag (kind of like Labor Day), so Billy, Joseph, Andrea, Bobby, Andrew, Michelle, Amanda and I decided to wake up early and jump on the train. It was just after Sebastian’s birthday so we didn’t all feel our best, but we were able to sleep on the train. We arrived in Budapest around lunch time to find out that it was a lot warmer in Hungary than in Austria. After stealing a map from a Best Western, we attempted to find our hostel. The sun was beating down our necks and as it turns out, our hostel was on the outskirts of town. So we had to walk pretty far. When we finally got there, the hostel owners didn’t speak English. Haha, welcome to Eastern Europe.

We jumped on the metro, which was quite frightening. The trams are so old and when they stop at a station, they put on the breaks and then the tram skids to a stop. We made it to the inner city and took a walk around the Pest side.

Amanda and I in front of Parliament.

Amanda and I in front of Parliament.

We visited the beautiful Parliament building and walked to the famous Széchenyi-Lánchíd bridge. Then we walked to Szent Istvánbazilika, or St. Stephen’s basilica. It was a beautiful Neo-Renaissance church. The even had a reliquery with the hand of St. Stephen in it. In the evening we walked to Margit-sziget, or Margeret Island. It was a warm evening and we explored the gardens and the ancient ruins of a monastery.

We were quite ambitious the next morning and we decided to explore the Buda side of the city. We stuck mainly to the area called Castle Hill, but we started the day with a hike up to Statue Park. This is where the moved all the old communist monuments after Russia’s occupation of Hungary ended. They also had old weaponry on display next to the citadel. When we climbed down the other side of Statue Park, we ran into a couple bands setting up for a concert. Billy started getting excited because we happened upon an Iron Maiden concert, but it turned out that they were actually Iron Maidnem, a cover band, and they would be playing that night with Jon Bovi and AB/CD. Oh well.

Then we climbed up to the entrance to the fortified section of Castle Hill. We wandered around here for hours exploring the castle grounds. Yet another reminder that we were in Eastern Europe were the signs reading, “Watch for Falling Rocks.” You mean the castle might crumble down upon me?

Michelle, Andrea, Amanda and I at the entrance to Buda Castle.

Michelle, Andrea, Amanda and I at the entrance to Buda Castle.

On the other side of Castle Hill we spent some time at Mátyás Templom before descending the hill and ending up in a Burger King for some grub and a bathroom. Then we walked along the river to a beautiful view of Parliament and crossed over the Széchenyi-Lánchíd bridge to close up the miles-long circle we hiked through the Buda side. On the Pest side, we visited the largest Synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. Then we ate a traditional Hungarian dinner of goulash. After dinner we walked back to the river to see the city lights.

View of Parliament from the Buda side.

View of Parliament from the Buda side.

The next morning we headed to the Varosliget district of Budapest where they were having a fair for Arbeitstag. We bought some delicious fair food and enjoyed traditional Hungarian funnel cake before heading to the baths. Andrew, Joseph, Bobby, Michelle and I bought tickets to the baths and played around in the lazy river, the mineral pool and the sauna. What a relaxing day in the sun! After our pool time, we walked to the train station and headed back to Vienna. I finished the book Joey got me for Christmas on the train, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It was fun, but we’re happy to be back in Western Europe!

*** A final reason why I’m not allowed to choose the hostel anymore: I didn’t shower for three days for fear of getting fungus from the hostel showers.

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