for a short day and then my natural habitat of Graz. Let's just say, two round train trips to Vienna has made me something of an expert on getting there. We stayed the night in a hostel, which happened to be in the red-light district (thank goodness we caught a taxi instead of walking there...). No worries though, the hostel was very clean and we met a girl from England just starting a job with the UN, working on methods of mosquito control and a bloke from Australia traveling around Europe. In Vienna, we visited much of the same things I saw the previous weekend with the SUNY class, with one addition visiting the Leopold Museum in the Museum Quarter. Unfortunately, there is so much to see and do in Vienna, not even three days was enough time to see everything, but we visited most of the must-sees.
In Graz, we hit up the more Sehenswurdigkeiten (sight seeing possibilities), including the Mur Insel, Schlossburg, Hauptplatz (the main square) and the Kunsthaus (art museum) opting to skip on the modern art inside, rather to salsa dance on Saturday night. Of course, a trip to Austria wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Christmas markets, a warm mug of Feuerzangenbowle (a drink similar to Glühwein), and some tasty Schnitzel.
Another exciting note, on the bus to the train station Friday, I met a student from Graz and chatted a bit with her. She was incredibly surprised to learn I was from the States, and told me she first thought I was from Germany, then the idea came that I might be from France! It seems that all the Germans/Austrians I've met are always complimenting me on my German (even from the beginning of my exchange) and surprised that an Ami (short for American here) is learning German. I've been thinking about why, and here's my theory-people are so shocked to find out I'm learning German (because of a stereotype that Americans don't learn other language(s) and assume everyone speaks English) that they compliment me (mostly because of my effort to speak the language). However, I think it's also because my German is pretty darn good right now-it could be better, but I'm working on it. :D
After my trip to Madrid, I returned the favor by taking Patrick around town in both Vienna