First Week In Vienna

Emily Park
June 2, 2013

I can’t believe I’ve been in Vienna for over a week now! On Saturday (May 25th) we had a walking tour of the nearby attractions in Stephansplatz. That night was the Life Ball, an AIDS benefit ball, in front of the Rathaus and they had standing room for people without tickets to come and oggle at the celebrities. It was so accessible to the public through huge screens broadcasting the event the whole time with sign interpreters and English captioning on some of the speeches. We left a little early to go see Tobi (his photo is below) perform with his group at a local bar. Both the psychology and music groups were there so he had a pretty large fan group. On Sunday we went to Mass at St. Augustine’s and then on a bus tour around the entire city. Unfortunately, so many of us were so jet-lagged that I don’t think anyone stayed awake for the whole tour. We ended at a traditional heurigen, which is a wine tavern that serves only this past year’s vintage.


We started class on that monday with German. There are only 3 people in the non-beginner German so it’s pretty intense. The psychology classes are in the afternoon. I’ll post more on those later. On Tuesday evening, a group of us went to go see “Natürlich Blond” or “Legally Blonde” as it’s known in English. They sang and acted completely in German but there were also English subtitles on screens on the side. We got standing room tickets for 5 Euro each and were able to move into seats that hadn’t been taken after intermission. On Wednesday we went to go see “Don Quixote” the ballet at the Staatsoper. Those tickets were only 4 Euro, but we got into line 2 hours before the show started. The ballet was absolutely fantastic. Thursday was technically a “Feiertag” for Corpus Christi Day so all the shops and things to do were closed. The entire city pretty much shuts down on Sundays and feiertage. My roommate and I spent our long weekend at the Naturhistorisches Museum, going to the Naschmarkt, and exploring Vienna. Some people from the program took advantage of the class cancellations by going to Venice for the weekend, but I wanted to see Vienna a bit more before going out and exploring the rest of Europe.


It’s been a whirlwind first week getting used to the 7 hour time difference and slight cultural differences but I’m really glad that we have 5 more to go.

Our tour guide was Kendall. It was really cold that day but it was nice to have a little introduction to the area around IES. I can't remember what this fountain was called at the moment but when the weather is nice, it's a good place to hang out or eat lunch, especially because there is a Billa just past it so you can stock up on little extra goodies for the day. There is an awesome bike rental system established throughout the city. The first hour of renting the bike is free and there are tons of docking stations throughout the entire city. The amount of stonework and detail in Stephans Dom is astounding; I don't think photos could do it justice. When we arrived at the Rathaus to watch the procession of celebrities come into the Life Ball (an AIDS benefit ball) the entire area was alit in a pink light. All throughout the festivities, the color of the facade changed with what was happening. Tobi is one of the awesome people who works in Student Services for IES Vienna. He's also in a regge/rap group called Team H-Town. The grand Belvedere. Inside is a huge collection of 19th and 20th century Austrian art. It's on my list of places to go again and spend more time in. There was amazing stone work all around the Belvedere. The stunning view for which the Belvedere is named. You can clearly see the steeple of Stephans Dom because no building in Vienna is allowed to be taller, and they've stuck to it. Our bus tour also stopped at the Hundertwasser Haus which has no straight lines, matching windows or conventionality. People live there for the same price as any public housing in Vienna. Even the fountain outside the entrance was asymmetrical and covered in interesting tile mosaics. Hundertwasser made sure that his house had less of an environmental impact by having "green tenants" of trees and shrubbery and covering the roof with vegetation. The advertisements and banners for Natürlich Blond outside the Ronacher. The 'curtain' for Legally Blond. We were initially in the standing room (standplatz) but there were open seats that we got to move to at intermission. There were pretty much constant cries of "Grüss Gott" and "Bitte schön" coming from the tellers asking for your order from their stand. I loved all the personal touches in the labeling and marketing of the products in the markt. It was actually pretty warm in the sun for one of the first times on this trip. The crowds probably also helped keep the temperature up inside. Saturday was a very busy dat at the Naschmarkt. Fresh vegetables for sale at the Naschmarkt A beautiful golden monument to Johann Strauss in Stadtpark. My roommate and I found a really cool model of Stephans Dom while we were "getting lost" wandering around the first district.

Emily Park

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Emily is a rising senior studying psychology with a focus in development at the University of Rochester. Her dream job is to be a family therapist somewhere sunny. When she&#39;s not studying psychology, she enjoys dancing with the Ballet Performance Group, swimming on the Master&#39;s team, running along the Genesee, and studying Russian. She is excited to learn about psychology in its birth place, brush up on her German and live in the beautiful city of Vienna.</span></p>

2013 Summer 1, 2013 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Rochester
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