Saturday August 11, 2012
A long day. Definitely a very long day…but wonderful as well! We left Vienna in the morning, taking the Tram to Westbahnhof and catching a train to Dorfgastein at 8:44 a.m.
I absolutely love taking the train in Europe (most definitely my favorite way to travel.) For five hours we traveled from East Austria to West Austria and gradually we saw the landscape begin to change from flat farm land to a river and beautiful mountainside.
We struggled to get the best pictures as the train hurried by, but this was obviously very difficult. At one point we saw what we believed to be a castle on top of a mountain, but we couldn’t get a clear photo.
Upon arriving in Dofgastein we were greeted by four individuals: Frau Weissgaerber, her son Wolfgang, Ewan, and Melanie. The first two will be a couple of our professors in Vienna upon our return, for German Grammar and German Conversation. We stuffed their car full of our stuff (not nearly as much as when we arrived in Vienna, but still enough to fill the entire trunk and backseat) and walked to the Pension we will be staying at throughout our time here in Dorfgastein.
It really is a beautiful pension. The rooms are nice and large, the girls in one room, guys in the other, and we have our own private bath with is also much larger than I was expecting!
After dropping off our things, we walked over to the supermarket (which will be closed tomorrow because, like everywhere else in Austria, hardly any shop is open on Sundays.) While there we bought a Jause, which is an Austrian word for snack, for both today and tomorrow for lunch. We also bought Kekse (cookies) and Alpenmilch Schokolade mit Erdbeer Joghurt (Alpine Milk Chocolate with Strawberry Yoghurt). The other two girls, Kelly and Annika, and I ate outside on the patio because the weather has been just perfect for us since arriving. The locals think it is is cold, windy, and cloudy..we think it’s the perfect amount of sun and a light breeze so we aren’t dying from 90-100 degree weather like we have had all summer.
Following lunch we had our first German lesson. We met at the Town Hall, which is also the firestation, and we had a small group discussion about a trip we are making to Sportgastein tomorrow morning.
We received cards for traveling with the bus (which will give us a discount) as well as maps. Listening to us all speak German, it is obvious we are all at different levels and have different strengths so it will be interesting to see how our classes will work in Vienna.
After this short intro class we took a walk around Dorfgastein–which took about 7 minutes. We went by a handful of small restaurants, a couple bars, and the catholic church in the middle of the village with a cemetary in the back.
Later that evening we went to dinner and ordered traditional Austrian food. I had the Wiener Schnitzel with Erdaepfel (Austrian word for potatoes.)
Also, drinking at dinner is part of Austrian culture and I had my first beer (drinking age in Austria is 16.) In all honesty..I did not enjoy the taste very much. It wasn’t terrible, but I very much prefer the taste of red wine. However, I figured I’d give it a try and dine traditionally tonight. The beer was 0,3 Liter (the size options were 0,2, 0,3, and 0,5 Liter which is pretty standard) and we all had a very enjoyable evening, speaking mostly German and discussing our professors’ experiences in the United States.
Tomorrow we will be taking the bus to Sportgastein. During this time of year, this village holds an Almfest. And here there will be many little Huette (huts or booths) each unique. At some there will be music, at others fresh Alpenmilch straight from the cow or different traditional foods. We will also go on a small walk/hike after visiting the festival.
I am excited to start German classes, and I am so thrilled these first couple days have been extremely memorable!
Servus! as they say in Austria. Until next time..
And here is the wikipedia page for Dorfgastein–the English page is kind of scarce but if you read German there is a little more information. This village has less than 1700 people..wow. That’s smaller than Linfield College!