Thursday, 14 June 2012

Vienna-Austria Day One

Hallo (German for Hello),
View of the Austrian Alps and our lunch stop at the Hotel
So before coming to Vienna I had no idea of where it was in the world and what country it belonged to. I ended up finding out we that were heading to Austria and to tell you the truth I didn't even really care as I hadn't heard much about it before now. I had no idea what language the people in Austria spoke and was more excited about heading to Switzerland and Amsterdam than arriving here. I was soooo shocked after seeing what Austria had to offer at the end of our time here as it was one of the most beautiful countries we visited over the whole Contiki tour! If you ever get the opportunity to come to Europe Austria definitely is a place not to miss.

Along the bus trip from Italy into Austria we again travelled through the Dolomite mountains-A Unesco Natural Heritage site since 2009, the Dolomites stretch across northern regions of Trentino-Alto Adige and the Veneto. The Austrain Alps had amazing peaks and were so beautiful and high they looked like they were touching the sky, I couldn't stop looking at them from the window of the Contiki coach during our trip. Our first stop was at a hotel which also had a restaurant and convenience store. Mia hadn't give us our Austrian talk yet and after 6 days in Italy we were a little confused about what language they spoke here. We immediately realised we were in a different country when we walked into the hotel as instead of pizza and pasta we were surrounded by Wiener schnitzels, sausages, pork and beef. There were lots of weird little dolls and weird writing we couldn't understand. We ended up finding out that their main language is German and they say Hello quite like we do 'Hallo'.  We ate yummy Austrian food at the services stop and got back onto the coach feeling bloated and full as we usually did after our many stops.

After we returned onto the coach and started travelling again Mia gave us a talk about Austria and this talk made me realise I did know a little about the things that this country was famous for after all....

Facts on Austria:
This small country is very mountainous as it shares the Swiss/Austrian Alps. It is the country where Mozart composed much of his famous music, Strauss taught the world how to Waltz and where The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews was filmed. It is one of the 12th richest countries in the world and is also famous for it's desserts and chocolates. Austrian boys from the age of 18 years old must serve in the army for a period of 18 months and the legal drinking age here is 16! Mia told us that Austrian people are very loyal however you need to earn their friendship. I found it funny that she said that Austrians are very clean, organised and like to be on time which I loved as I am very much like this back home! They are famous for their huge pieces of meat such as pork and beef and their strudels. Pez lollies also originated in Austria as did the Viennese Waltz and Austrians love their classical music.  

When we arrived in Vienna Profirio couldn't get us into the street where our hotel was to unload our bags as the street was quite small. I remember carrying my backpack and my extra bags of jumpers and souvenirs I had managed to pick up along the way and struggling as I walked along!lol We stayed at 'Wombats Hostel in Vienna which actually had great facilities and was one of the better hostels we stayed at along the way. I stayed with Rachael, Tara and Simone in a room here and got to know more of Simone which was great. Simone was a lovely girl who worked in the military back in Australia and had already travelled a little before coming on Contiki. She had done the Anzac Day tour in Gallipoli which is something I want to do in the future. 

We had a small amount of time to get ready before heading out into Vienna to have some dinner and watch a Mozart and Strauss concert at the State Opera House. I had dinner with Mia, Porfirio, Rachael, Hamed, Taylor, Tara, Tamara, Jess and Sharni that night where I tried Viennese sirloin steak and potatoes which were so tender and delicious. After dinner we either had the option to attend the concert or wonder around Vienna and have some drinks. I chose to attend the concert as I wanted to make the most of every experience and see as much of the traditional aspects to each country as I could. Lots of people didn't go as classical music wasn't their thing and it's not mine either but it's not everyday you get to attend a 'Mozart and Strauss Concert' at the State Opera house so I chose to make the most of this experience and decided to go along.

Mozart and Strauss concert at the State Opera House:
When we got to the concert we had to wait for the first part to end as we were only watching an hour or so of the concert to get the main idea of what the concert was like. We got to wonder around the State Opera house and the man that lead us around told us stories and showed us rooms where Mozart composed many of his famous pieces and told us of how he was discovered. He gave us a little musical history talk which was quite interesting before we entered the concert. The room was filled full of middle aged to elderly people and we got some strange looks upon entering the room lol Once they started I found the music to be chilling and beautiful. The musicians were world class and I couldn't take my eyes off them. The main lady was amazing on the violin and even though I can't read music or play and instrument I knew that these musicians were amazingly talented. In some of the pieces professional dancers and opera singers came out onto the stage to accompany the orchestra as well. During an intermission the Contiki group that attended got to drink champagne and meet the singers and musicians which was cool and I got a picture of Rachael with them as she loves music and theatre which she was stoked with. It was definitely an experience I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend in Vienna as it's not normally something I would go and watch back home.
Musicians from the concert

Me in a room at the State Opera House where Mozart performed

Tara, Rachael, Tay Tay, Me, Tamara and Jess at the State Opera House in Vienna

A place where Mozart played at the State Opera House

Some of the Contiki Group at the State Opera House in Vienna
Love The Mozart and Sound of Music Loving Backpacker

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