First Week In Vienna

Trip Start Aug 2008
1
32
44
Trip End Jul 2009


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well, I'm settling in well to Vienna! I had my first class (International Political Economy) on Monday night. I was DREADING going to class on Monday after such a fun-filled break. Plus, as I have mentioned before, the word "economy" used in an academic setting makes me want to fall asleep/jump out of a window. Much to my surprise, though, class wasn't that bad. Our professor seems pretty cool and (gasp) even has a sense of humor!

Tuesday we had another useless orientation. We should know by now that it is going to be a waste of time, but it seemed as though this campus would be different ... we were wrong! Ahh, well at least there was free food and free booze! They know our priorities ;)

Wednesday we had our other class (Globalization). After Monday's class I had some hope that this class too would be good. I was wrong. The head of the International Relations Department in St. Louis is guest lecturing in Vienna for the term. We thought that he would have a good grasp on the program and themes related to Globalization and International Relations, but all he really did was talk about himself/St. Louis. Thankfully I've been to St. Louis a time or two ... the foreign students and others from throughout the US were definitely annoyed. He seems like a nice enough guy, though. So, I'm going to try to be happy for what I have!

It's nice to be in a city where there is stuff to do again. We've (supposedly) learned our lesson from previous terms, and we tried to hit the ground running this week. Wednesday during the day Erin and I went to a restaurant similar to Chipotle for lunch (Although nothing can truly be as delicious as Chipotle, we were plenty happy to anything resembling it!). We could see a cool looking church from the metro stop by the restaurant, so we decided to walk toward it. The church was closed, but we could see other shiny objects in the distance, so we kept walking. We saw a ton of really awesome architecture and ENORMOUS buildings. Because we don't speak German, we couldn't really decipher what we were looking at. At one point, we saw an information cart at one of the buildings, so we went up to it to take a pamphlet. A man working at the cart came up to us and asked us if we needed help ... we were like, "Sure! What's this building?" ... his reply, "Parliament." ... yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah we're getting masters degrees ...












We passed a ton of other major sites w/o really knowing what they were. When I got back to my room, I looked everything up on Google maps, and it turned out we had hit almost all of Vienna's major attractions. We passed City Hall, the Burgtheater (the National Theater), Parliament, and the Hofburg (Imperial Palace, National Library, a couple museums, headquarters for OSCE). Next time, maybe we'll bring our map our Lonely Planet book!

Thursday morning, the school arranged for us to have a city sight-seeing tour by bus. Afterward, Erin and I continued our exploration of the city. We went to the 2 main (Catholic) churches in Vienna - St. Stephen's and St. Peter's. Both are extremely ridiculous! They were so incredibly ornate ... it really makes you understand the whole Protestant Reformation - thing. Words and pictures don't really do it justice, but here are some pictures to try ...













Thursday night we decided to participate in a little Viennese culture ... we went to the Opera! It seemed like a really great idea at the time. When we got to the theater, we realized we were 3 of about 20 people in the entire place under the age of 50. The place where we bought the tickets assured us that we were buying pretty good tickets. However, they were dirty liars! We were sitting all the way at the top and almost all the way to one side. This was pretty much our view:











We had to lean over the balcony and turn all the way to the right in order to see anything. Now that I think about it, it was pretty funny. It was a good thing we looked up a synopsis of the opera before we left, b/c we couldn't see everything and we certainly couldn't understand a word of it! I, personally, really enjoyed the music and watching the orchestra (and the crazy conductor).

That's about all for our week in Vienna ...

Oh yeah ... check the next next update too ... we may have taken a weekend trip to Budapest!

P.S. There are a ton of other pictures in the photo album, so be sure to check those out too!
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