One of the things I love about Vienna is that the Rathaus serves more as a city and community center than I have ever experienced before, even when I lived in much smaller towns. It seems that every week there is a new event happening at the “Rathausplatz.” During Christmas time they have the Christkindlmarkt, and while I’ve been here they’ve had (among others) a Styria fest, a Formula 1 race car event, and, my favorite, a skating rink! Now, when I say there was a skating rink, I don’t mean one of those little squares, like the ones I have always skated in at home. No, the Rathaus Skating Rink consisted of two huge rinks, connected by a meandering of paths through the park. These paths included up- and downhills, turns galore, and even a round-about to prevent collisions (This only partially worked). And of course, the entire time you have the Rathaus, the beautiful structure that it is, colored lights, and music to set the atmosphere. The center of the Rathausplatz was dedicated to a little skating village, with stands selling traditional foods, wines, and lebkuchen (which is technically a food, but really, it deserves its own category!) It served as a fantastic way to spend the evening with friends, even if we did end up with some bruises to show for it!
It is absolutely fantastic seeing how a central location organizing events like this can give even a large city like Vienna a close-knit, small town feel. It really brings the community together!
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<p>Fionna studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Though she is originally from the Netherlands, she has spent the last ten or so years in California. Her free time is spent reading, horseback riding, nerding out about television shows, hiking, and dreaming of future travels and adventures. She is looking forward to spending her spring semester enjoying the life and culture in Vienna, Austria and the surrounding countries. </p>