I believe I left of while I was preparing for the mountains in Tauplitz. I took the train there with the other exchange students staying in Vienna and we met up with everyone else at a different station. It was great to see the other students, I felt like it was the perfect timing because it was just after the second week of school and everyone was trying to get settled in. We spent the next day on a six hour hike (which is considered very short by Austrians), then we crashed at the hostel nesteld in the mountains for a couple hours before going out again for a 'night walk'. everything was just absolutely gorgeous. The old coniferous and deciduous trees mixed with the strong mountain tops and grayish blue sky is like no other landscape I have seen before. During the hike we came across a couple lakes and a stream that I got the chance to drink out of. I could not believe how clear it was! I could honestly see the stones on the bottom, it just made you want to stare and stare at it. By one of the lakes was a cave and I, with several other exchange students, climbed over very unstable/steep stones to reach it, and once we got there it was simply amazing. Some people said there were even cave drawings still inside. But by the end of our 'short' excursion everyone was muddy and tired. So we spent the afternoon talking or playing cards. In the morning we packed and then we were brought to the train station by a bus and we sad our goodbyes until the next time.
A couple weekends later my two of my friends from France stayed with me and we attended what is called the 'Museums der Nacht' which translates to 'Night of the Museums'. Basically what happened was that all of the museums in Vienna were open from 6p.m. to 1a.m. and you could visit all of them for 11 euros. The french girls and I also went with two latino boys. We saw six museums in about five hours. First we stopped by the Albertina to see the Picasso exhibition, then it was on to a very famous building called Secession. It has a couple of art exhibitions, including a permenant mural by Gustav Klimt that is based off of Beehtovans 9th Symphony. But the most amazing part of the building is that it has a gold dome that looks like vines and leaves entwined together to make a half sphere. After pushing our way through yet another crowd of people we went to the Mozart Haus and we got to tour his home in Vienna and even see some of the artifacts from when he lived there, including some of his compositions. We also saw two other art musuems (the Leopald and MUMOK, which is modern art) and lastly we saw the planatarium. We had skipped dinner to spend as much time as possible at the museums so we bought a kebab (like a gryo) at about one in the morning, feeling very satisfied with all we had done that night.
Then another weekend came up with all of the other echange students. This time we were in Vienna so I did not have to travel very far, about thirty minutes to the hostel that we were staying in. For the first part of the day on Saturday we toured Parliament and saw some other sights in Vienna that I had mostly seen with my host family. But that night we went to the opera and saw the ' Der Zauberfloete' whcih means 'The magic Flute.' I rented binoculars with one of the other exchange students and thouroughly enjoyed it. Even though I couldn't understand much of the storyline the music was good and it was just kinda.awsome knowing I was at the opera in Vienna. On Sunday we went on a bus tour around The Ring (a circle of all of the most famous cites in Vienna). My faveorite part of that was the Hundertwasserhaus because it is probably the most unique and artisitic architecture I have ever seen. But once again we had to say goodbye but we will be seeing each other again in November in Salzburg.
Just last weekend I was in Graz visiting a girl from France (Lea). I took the train there by myself, which was nerve-wracking but I got about five different people to explain the process to me. On the ride there I was once again awed by Austria's scenery. The trees have changed color so it was like looking into a sea of brown and gold. I arrived on Friday so that night, after her host-mother made us delicious fried apples, we went to a brithday party of a girl that Lea new. It was actually very fun because I am up to the point in my german where I can have slightly more complicated conversations. The next day we met up with two other exchange students and we did a little shopping, saw the Kunstlerhaus of Graz ( it is one of the wierdest buildings I have ever seen) and then we got coffe and the Moor Insel (not sure if that is how you spell it) but it is another very interesting building the sits on the river and sells exceptional coffee. Then we decided to see a movie at the english theater (we saw Moner Never Sleeps) and bought bagels and milkshakes from a very cozy shop tucked into one of the side streets. After the movie Lea's host mother picked us up and we enjoyed some tea, bread, and cookies. In the morning Lea's host-mother took us to two famous churches, one that I do not remember the name of but the artist(s) that designed it made it look (either intentionally or unintentionally) a little like the castle in the 'Little Mermaid". And right next to this masterpiece was the house that Arnold Schwarzenagor grew up in. The second building was much older and was called something like the "Maria Theresia", and just around there we went for a short walk (this time it was actually short) and I was even more amazed by Austria's beauty (I dont think I will be able to emphasize that enough). But the time to leave came too soon (my host mother drove me back to Vienna) and I deprted, promising to plan more adventures with Lea.
My next couple of weekend will probably be just as busy but I will try and keep everyone updated better this time!