The more time I spend in Vienna, the more I start to feel at home. The Austrian culture is starting to feel normal to me and not as foriegn as it once was. This weekend IES Abroad took some students on a field trip to Steiermark, which is one of the regions of Austria. Some advice I have for future students, travel often and when IES Abroad offers their field trips, jump on board! These trips have so much history and they provide more activies that most students would not think of on their own.
We started our journey bright and early on Saturday morning. After a short two hour drive, we arrived at Austrias open air musuem. This gives people the opportunity to walk through history and all of Austria.
There are close to 100 different buildings to show the different structures of the many provinces of Austria. We got to see houses that go as far back at the 1500s.
Not only did we get a chance to explore Austrias history, there was a fantastic group lunch that allowed for students to get to know each other.
Next Stop: Graz! Graz is the second largest city in Austria and the capital of Steiermark. Once there, we spent our time doing a walking tour of the ciry and taking in all the beautiful sights.
Sunday was spent touring the Austrian Wine Route and the Gamlitz Wine Festival. The wine route took us along the southern border of Austria and in Slovenia at some point. There we got to stop at people's vineyards and order some Sturm. Sturm is a young wine that is basically fermented freshly pressed grape juice. This drink is only around once a year from late September to early October. Of course, us Americans used this as a great excuse for a photoshoot.
The dresses we are wearing are called Dirndl. These are traditional dresses that are worn in Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria. In festival, such as Oktoberfest and the Gamlitz Festival, women will wear these dresses. The men will wear lederhosen. Although, in the more modern times, it is common to see many women wearing lederhosen as well. My friends and I were commenting that each Dirndl represents the personality of who is wearing it.
At the festival, there was lots of traditional Austrian foods and wines from the local vineyards. Overall, this was a great way to fully embrace the culture of Austria. I now feel like I can maybe pass as an Austrian and not just the hopelessly lost American in the middle of Vienna.