Friday August 8th, 2012
After waking up at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday August 7th, driving to the Portland Airport, finding out extra checked bags were 50 dollars, flying to Toronto and connecting to an 8 hour flight to Vienna... We. Are. Finally. Here.
We have had a grand total of maybe two hours of sleep each and are finally relaxing (but not napping!) in a cute little room at a pension before heading back to the Austro-American Institute of Education.
Upon arriving in Vienna, we easily made it through the airport, picking up our luggage and meeting Christine, a woman from the Institute. We very luckily had a car to take us into Vienna and the car was completely stuffed full with all our luggage–over ten pieces in total. Exhausted, we were pretty quiet on the way into the city and to the pension, but our eyes were eagerly scanning the outside world, taking in our first glimpses of the country we will call home for four months.
I must tell you.. lugging luggage through Vienna is very painful..I have several blisters forming on my hands and as I type this, and I am glad the lugging is over…for now at least.
We brought our luggage to the pension and stored it before taking the Tram over to the Institute for a quick orientation from Herman, the head of the Institute, and Christine. We each received a pay-as-you-go cell phone, a map of Vienna, a subway map and other information about our host families and emergency phone numbers. By this time we were definitely having a difficult time staying awake –I suspect jetlag will be inevitable for each and every one of us but we are also very excited to finally be in Vienna and I suspect the adrenaline will help us stay awake...hopefully until after dinner!
Following orientation, Christine took us to the grocery store to show us how to buy minutes for our phones and then showed us the Naschmarkt for lunch. The Naschmarkt is an area of town where there is all sorts of food to choose from ranging from Viennese to Asian. A couple of us got Kaeseschnecke (a sort of cheese roll shaped like a cinnamon roll, and the rest of us got Kebaps/Duenuers a sort of Turkish sandwich made with lamb/beef in either a big roll or tortilla. I remembered these from my time in Germany and have been craving them ever since my return to the US, so needless to say I was very happy with this discovery.
We took the Tram back to the pension and struggled to get our luggage out of storage and up the tiny old-fashioned elevator to our room. It took a lot of effort and teamwork, but we were able to push and pull and squeeze our heavy bags into our rooms. After much needed showers, we are resting and will go back to the Institute at 3.30 for an interesting guest speaker. An Auschwitz survivor is coming to speak to another school group studying at the Institute but Herman has invited us to join and we are very much looking forward to such an experience.
After, we are having dinner together at Ruffino, a Pizzeria close to the pension and I suspect we will all drop dead from exhaustion after eating our fill and then it’s off to Dorfgastein tomorrow morning on the 8.44 train!
All in all, a very exciting first day in Vienna, and I am so incredibly happy to be using my German again. However, let's hope the jetlag monster doesn’t attack me!
This is mostly for close friends and family and may include extra details I feel they will enjoy or appreciate more than other readers who may not like them at all. However, the blog also includes many more photos with each entry which may be to your interest so I invite you to take a look if you so desire.