What better way to write my blog than to write it outside, in the shade, on this sunny Sunday in April, on my favorite hill, on mine and Sofi’s new outdoor blanket? There is no better way. The majority of the past days spent have been outside, enjoying this unusually hot April weather. We even started using the rental bikes which have come in handy when we want something to do, or if we don’t want to catch the bus downtown, or if we don’t want to walk to get groceries. This beats trekking it through the snow with wet feet and cold hands for sure. The warm weather has opened the door to so many new things, like also getting a head start on our tans, so if you don’t recognize me when I come home, I won’t be offended. The warm weather has also kept me from getting home sick. I hate to sound selfish but knowing that there is still snow in Sault Ste. Marie has given me a little boost in being okay with my distance from home. The warm weather has completely enhanced my mood, and I can finally do all the things that I pictured myself doing before I came to Austria – like sit in town square, enjoy the people and my surroundings, and just eat some fresh market fruit. Or do what I’m doing now, writing my blog outside, in the shade, on this sunny Sunday in April, on my favorite hill, on mine and Sofi’s new outdoor blanket.
The past two weeks have brought me a couple of adventures as well, including another day trip to Vienna, a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, and a 24-hour adventure to Salzburg to watch the Salzburg Red Bull hockey team play in the game 7 play-off final. All of this was in addition to a couple of presentations, after all, I am here for school, right? Having a couple of group projects to complete was an obstacle for me, considering I am so used to being at Algoma U with the same group of people, with the same like-minded individuals, who have been trained by the same set of teachers. In these group projects, I have encountered so many different thinkers with different perspectives, and different ways of arriving at a finished product. This gave me a little preview of the real world, where I will indeed have to deal with new people and be open to new suggestions and working procedures. Although my workload is much smaller here at FHWN than it would be at Algoma, I am gaining a whole new set of skills and experiences just by encountering different mindsets. This is just another reason to study abroad, learning in a new environment is a valuable experience.
Now onto the good stuff. The day in Vienna was lovely and relaxing, as we decided that this time, we weren’t going to power through the city as tourists, we were just going to walk around, shop a bit, and see where the day takes us. The day ended up taking us to a couple of stores, a lovely outdoor restaurant for lunch (there are outdoor restaurants and café’s everywhere), and a park to relax in and enjoy the sun a little more. This set the tone for the next Vienna visits to come. The amusement park is next on my list.
In the same weekend, my friends and I spent the day in Bratislava, Slovakia, and we all got to add a country to our list yet again. This cute little capital reminded us of Ljubljana, Slovenia, which was a huge plus and moved the city up on our ladder of favorite places. We toured the Bratislava Castle, which was accompanied by another beautiful view, and we then made our way to the town square. The nice thing about Bratislava was that we didn’t need to pull out Google maps at all, we just kept moving towards the pretty atmosphere a few steps at a time, always making it to something worth seeing. We were led to the town square where we enjoyed lunch, and a delicious ice cream, where we happened to meet up with our friends that took a separate train from us! The world is seriously small – I’m just waiting to bump into someone from the Soo! The remainder of the day was spent by the river, where there were tons of people past the bridge enjoying sitting on the hill, or having a drink at the outdoor restaurants. We joined the crowd in both activities. Although it was only one short day, Bratislava was one for the books!
The final adventure of the past two weeks included a Canadian and a Fin at an Austrian hockey game. After waiting to see if the Salzburg Red Bull hockey team would even be facing the Foxes in the game 7 play-off final, we landed ourselves standing tickets to the game, which we were lucky to get since tickets sold out in an hour. The excitement of booking the tickets brought us to Friday, where we went to Salzburg to enjoy the beautiful day and some hockey at night. Salzburg was a lovely city, and before coming to Austria, when I would think of the country, I would picture Salzburg in my head. It was amazing to see my mental image come to life and to get a little feeling like I was a part of The Sound of Music. Sofi and I spent the day by the river, walked around, and enjoyed some lunch, which brought us to game time. As soon as we arrived at the rink, we purchased some merchandise including matching t-shirts, and enjoyed a drink before the game. The hockey game was a blast, and even though the Salzburg Red Bull’s fell short in a 3-2 loss against the Foxes, Sofi and I were still pleased considering the team was in fact from Italy and their goalie is from Finland. After the game, we enjoyed a warm, starry night as we waited to take a 3:20am train back to Wiener Neustadt. After a six-hour journey home, which should have been only three hours (we experienced some late trains), sleeping on the floor of the train, and a dreadful walk back to the dorms, we made it to bed at 9am, and although getting home was a struggle, the day in Salzburg and the European hockey League game made up for it.
Being back in Wiener Neustadt was a relief yet again, and I feel recharged on this sunny Sunday morning, ready for the next weeks ahead. May is in sight and I am excited for the next adventures to come, especially knowing that I will be returning to Salzburg in the future weeks.
P.S: When in Europe, never expect a smooth train journey. We have yet to have one.