Travel days are tiring. We took a bus from Vienna to Munich. The ride was more spectacular than any other Amtrak or bus ride I have ever been on. While many of us fell asleep on the 6 hour bus ride, the rest of us stared out the window in wonder.
On the way there, we made a quick stop in Mondsee, Austria to experience the most beautiful views ever.
The day was spent mostly sitting in the bus, so I’ll take this time to talk a little bit about the classes.
German 1: This class moves fast. While the first day was mostly spent with introductions and basic phrases, we were given a lot of material to memorize and study. In addition to that, we had our first exam coming up on Monday. A lot of students spent the bus ride reading over material and practicing their phrases with their peers.
German 102: Being an arts and history class, German 102 is built around our travel schedule. The first week was spent broadly studying Austrian history and narrowing in on several artists and artistic movements. For German 102 we only have two projects and a final for our grades. No intermittent exams like German 1. However, we do have reading—a lot of reading. Not keeping up with the reading will make your work load devastating. The past week in German 102 was spent learning about the Ringstrasse period, a turn of the century period which brought about new art and new period in Viennese history. We learned about new artists such as Gustav Klimt and also studied the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Rumor has it the Klimt and Freud may have attended the same events whilst never formally meeting each other.
Today is presentation day. I filled my Keynote with only pictures and talked about what I saw. Seemed to go well.
After class, the entire study abroad group got together and went to another heuriger. It was quieter than the first, but the group was not.
We fit the bill of being loud Americans. But the group was having fun. I was having fun. And it was the perfect way to end our last night in Vienna.
8 AM bus tomorrow.
Otto Wagner. Professor Tokofsky will talk a lot about this architect in German 102. Otto Wagner is incredibly important to Austrian history, architectural history, and art as a whole. However, I didn't realize how important it is to physically visit the architecture you study. It’s completely different than looking at pictures in a way I can’t objectively explain.
My project that I chose for German 102 was to do an oral presentation of the Postsparkasse—the Viennese Postal Savings Bank designed by Otto Wagner.
I was alone for the most part while photographing the building, so it was nice to get some time to just think and relax under Wagner’s thoughtful architecture.
Click below for my full Postsparkasse pictures album.
Matt and I woke up.
Post waking up, we found a way on to the roof. We went up. We took pictures.
Post class, Belvedere Museum tour.
Post Belvedere Museum tour, Austrian pool. It’s called Thermalbad. I didn’t swim though (just did my hair in the morning).
Post Thermaldbad, first heuriger expedition. We took a train about 40 minutes out, walked for 20 minutes, and found ourselves surrounded by a giant villa with great food, a beautiful view, and an amazing atmosphere.
*Heurigers are wine taverns, but they also have food. Really good food.
Classes were still fairly light today, but it was clear that the pace would be fast, and work would have to be done regularly.
After classes concluded Brendan, Matt, Sophia, Jenna, and I liked Vienna’s old town so much, that we went back to take pictures. We stopped at a café, got some cold drinks on the blazingly hot Vienna summer day, and headed to The Hofburg (a previous residence for the emperor family) for some Instagram pictures. This took the whole day.
Plus side of study abroad: You can spend 48 hours with people and feel like you have known them for ages.
I am taking two classes on this program: German 1 and German 102. German 1 is a first level language course, and German 102 is a history, arts, and culture class. Don’t take three classes on this program. There’s barely enough time to take two. These cities are amazing, and there is always something to do. If you find yourself with any free time, you are definitely doing something wrong.
Class goes from 9 AM to 1 PM for me. This time will vary depending on what combination of classes you take. Right after class, we left for a group tour of Vienna’s historical buildings in its beautiful old town. After an absurd amount of walking on the tour (which we are told we will get used to soon), the big group dispersed, and Brendan, Jenna, Sophia, and I went to a café where I got a seven euro hot chocolate which was worth every cent.
The day took a wonderful turn for the even more interesting when we decided to go to the Danube River on a whim. As we got out from the train stop, we found a giant trampoline suspended over the river. Two euro for ten minutes of trampoline jumping time, a setting sun, and a wide angle lens was a recipe for success.
After burning at least 500 calories jumping on the trampoline, it was time to get Mexican food. Yes, it’s mildly silly to get Mexican food on the first full day of being in Austria. However, after walking for 45 minutes trying to find a restaurant that was only 12 minutes away and after our food finally came, we realized that the Austrians seem to do Mexican food better than the Americans. Way better.
Stomaches filled, legs, tired, we returned to the hotel.
My general schedule looks like this: finish freshman year at UCLA, fly to Chicago and see family and friends for two weeks, fly to Germany/Austria to study abroad for four weeks, fly to Washington, D.C. for an internship for eight weeks, then fly back to UCLA to start sophomore year.
Mildly hectic, yet I didn’t pack until the day before. Typical. Don’t do this. Do not recommend—at all.
Spent the two weeks back home hanging out with friends, catching the strawberry moon, stopping by the Baha'i Temple, roaming the Chicago Botanic Gardens, , et cetera. A well needed break in the midst of a packed summer.