Saturday, March 14, 2009

Will we ever get a break?

Donnerstag - Orientation day at Webster. Kara and I got up and ready for the day at about 8:30. We met Atoosha, our RA, and the rest of the gang and headed over to campus. We got to meet some of the faculty and staff as well as other students from different parts of the world (Ghana, Albania, Sweden, and the Ukraine just to name a few) that we were going to be studying with. The school provided pastries and coffee for breakfast as we sat through presentations about school policies, services, and icebreakers to get to know one another. We were served lunch at a restaurant right next door compliments of Webster. I was served the Wiener schnitzel, which I wasn't that impressed with. I thought it was basically a fried meat patty, and they served it with fries. I enjoyed the company more than the food, especially Althea and Anna. Althea is going to be our voice coach while we're here and I hadn't had a chance to get to know her until now. Anna was one of the student leaders from the Ukraine with an international business major. She was really sweet and funny and I hope I see her around.
After lunch, we split into groups and some of the student leaders gave us tours of the surrounding area. They showed us where to buy snacks, where the post office was, and walked us through this park that sits between the Webster building and the Neue Donau.





I'll take more pictures of the campus soon. If you'll take a look at the skies in the pictures, you'll see that they're blue and looking pleasant. It was sleeting earlier that morning and it rained later that day. I'm tempted to say that the weather in Vienna is just as crazy (if not crazier) than the weather in St. Louis.

After orientation wrapped up, the kids in the apartments invited everyone over for dinner. We picked up some foodstuffs for the evening at a grocery store and took the U-bahn and S-bahn over to their apartment. They're in a much more urban environment than we are in the dorms, which I was a bit envious of. Their apartment building had gorgeous tile floors and cast-iron railings. Very European, if you ask me. Dinner was zucchinis, onions, and lentils served over rice. A bit spicy and very delicious. It was served along with bread and cheese and wine. We ate, drank, and were merry until it was time for us to return to the dorms.

Freitag - We got up early to register with the Austrian police, which was required by law for us to do. Atoosha rounded us up and took us all to a big government building where we filled out our paperwork and waited in a room that reminded me of the DMV while they filed everything. Once our business was finish, it was time for play. Webster organized for us to go on a bus tour of the Ringstrasse, which is the heart of downtown Vienna. We started at the Staatsoper before seeing some of the city's most famous sights: the Hofsburg Palace, the Museums Quartier, the National Library, the Austrian Parliament building, the Volksgarten, Vienna's city hall, St. Steven's church, the Staatpark, the National Mint, the Hotel Imperial, and Stephansdom just to name some. I didn't get any pictures of the places we saw because I figured I'd snap shots in person instead of from a bus.

Emily and Alice eating lunch and waiting for the bus


Delicious lunch



After the tour, we went our separate ways to rest and clean up for Die Hochzeit des Figaro at the Volksoper. Six tickets were ordered in advance for 6 euro a piece, but there seven of us were planning to go to the opera that night. I opted to go for a student discount priced ticket that I would buy at the box office. Kara and I picked up kebaps on the way down, a very common street food here in Vienna. They're very similar to gyros, with shredded lamb, lettuce, onions, sauce and spice in a sandwich-like pita/bun. Ridiculously delicious, and ridiculously cheap - a stand outside our dorms sells them for less than 3 euro. We took the tram and the U-bahn to the opera house and I bought my ticket for 10 euro, or $12.50 in US dollars. I don't think I've ever gotten such a good deal in my life, because it was an unsold ticket in the second row. Let me repeat: a second row opera ticket for $12.50. Where are the deals like that in the States?

Almost everything about Figaro blew me away. The sets were amazing and the lighting was superb. The cast was phenomenal, especially the Count and Countess. Figaro and Cherubino were hilarious. The only character I wasn't impressed by was Susanna - she was good, but just good. Once the opera wrapped up, it was time to go home. Since Kara was staying over at the apartments and no one else from the dorm came to see the production, I was heading home alone. It was a quick and safe ride back, with no problems except for a vending machine not giving me my chocolate-hazelnut bar. It got caught between the side of the machine and some flaking plastic on the back side of the flap that I'd reach behind to get my candy. Lamesauce, but by day had been great enough that I wasn't too bummed by it. I'll get my chocolate bar someday.

Sorry it's taken me so long to post. Just when I think I've got a day off, something gets thrown in to the schedule and before I know it, I'm out running around all day. I'll add pictures soon.

Love, Lucy


  1. You are making me very jealous, Lucy! Opera every week! Sounds awesome! Keep posting and enjoy your stay!

    Love, Inés

  2. xqz me, what was that lunch called? It seems to have been introduced since I left Vienna ...