vienna, austria // 7 things in 7 days

It’s been a week since our planes touched down (at least for most of us!) and we landed in the beautiful city that we now get to call home for the next month.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for only a week–we’ve packed in a lot in those seven short days:

1.) Wiener Riesenrad

The Wiener Riesenrad, German for “Vienna Giant Wheel,” is Vienna’s version of the London Eye.  During the 10 minute trip, you get to see the city from the air–and it’s indeed as beautiful from the sky as it is from the street!  It’s located in the Prater, an amusement park located right in the heart of the 2nd District.

2.) Public transportation

Will we ever figure out public transportation here?  Probably not.  We’re at the point in our knowledge of the city where we know the stop we have to get off at starts with “S” and ends with “straße”…but most of them do?  We’ll get there eventually I’m sure–slowly but surely we’re making less and less wrong decisions regarding public transportation!  The busses, trains, and metros have become our lifeline as we go from our house on the border of the 18th and 19th districts to the 1st District, which is the city center.

3.) Cafés, cafés, cafés

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Hot chocolate from a small café near the city center

If I come back from this trip with an empty bank account, you can blame the Viennese café culture.  Vienna is known for its relaxed cafés, where you can order all the cake and coffee your heart (and stomach) desires.

4.) Fan arena

There’s little Europeans like more than soccer football, and there’s few competitions as exciting as the European Championship (most commonly known as just Euro 2016).  We’re lucky enough to have been in Europe for the final (unfortunately not in or near a country playing in the game) and we headed down to the “Fan Arena,” an area set up in front of the City Hall, to watch the game.  Although France didn’t win ( 😦 ), I still had a great time eating traditional chicken weiner schnitzel and crepes from the food truck stands they had set up in the park area!

5.) Stephansdom & Peterskirche

Also known by their English names, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church, these are only two of the beautiful churches located in this city.  Europe, I love your churches!  Stephansdom is larger and the more famous of the two (both located in the 1st District), and you can either take 343 stairs or an elevator up into the steeple to get yet another birds-eye view of the city.  However, I actually liked the inside of Peterskirche more.  Less crowded and touristy, its ornately detailed walls and ceilings and spiritual environment make it a must-see on my list.

6.) Trip planning

Our four-day school weeks make the weekends the perfect time to travel to nearby countries, seeing more of this beautiful and often overlooked region of Europe.  As a group of nine, we’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out where we want to go, how we should get there, and what we should do when we arrive.  However, all of that is much easier said than done!  We’re heading to Prague this weekend (be on the lookout for a blog post on that later next week!) and later to Budapest as a class, and are tentatively planning trips to Kraków, Poland, and Salzburg, Austria for our remaining free weekends.

7.) Staatsoper

Last night, we put on our fancy clothes and headed out to the city center for a night at the opera!  We listened to a beautiful Mozart performance by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra and took in the absolutely breathtaking views of the concert hall and its many corridors.  While I’m not one of opera’s biggest fans, it seemed like an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up here in one of the birthplaces of classical music.  Right now I only listen to classical music when I really need to study, but with my new free CD of Mozart’s classics, I might just have to play it a little more often!

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