This past weekend, Melissa and I did some tourist activities in Vienna. It was awesome to look at Vienna from that perspective, as I have been more or less taking Vienna in from the perspective of someone who lives here. Just going about my daily life in Vienna has really given me an interesting view of the culture. In some ways, the culture is much more relaxed. For example, it is pretty common to see a policeman driving around and holding a cigarette outside the window (and as a side point, a LOT more people smoke!). On the other hand, the culture is much stricter, especially in terms of rules. J walking is taken much more seriously, even though people still do it. I guess if I had to summarize based on my brief observations, it seems as though there aren’t as many rules here, but you are more strictly expected to abide by the rules that do exist. Also, just through walking around, reading signs, listening to conversations, and basic interactions, I have been picking up a little German. Hopefully I’ll get even better as the trip goes on!

Anyway, as for this past weekend, we went back to Schönbrunn palace, as Melissa had not yet been there. As it turns out, though, the area does not only consist of a palace, but also of a zoo (which is the oldest in Europe!), several gardens and just an overall beautiful landscape. The zoo had mostly the same animals as I would see in Cincinnati, but two main animals that stuck out in my mind were the Kuala Bear and the Panda Bear, both of which I had never seen (I don’t think!). I’ll probably get to see more Pandas in China, but it was still exciting for now!

On Sunday, we walked through downtown Vienna. I got to see the famous Opera House, and Karlskirche, which is a famous baroque-style church. My highlight of the day, though, was the Sacher Torta that is a very famous Austrian dessert. Apparently about 360,000 of these cakes are exported per year! It is chocolate cake with apricot fillings and whipped cream – really, really good! Other good food I tried this weekend was a Döner, a typical Austrian sandwich served out of a cart – also delicious! In the picture the above, I’m taking one of my first bites on the subway!

I’m excited to keep learning about Viennese and Austrian culture, both through observing and talking to people, and by looking at historic landmarks. This coming weekend we’re going to Munich, which should be very fun! Until next time, aufwiedersehen!

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