WARNING: THIS POST IS LONG!
So it's December and amazingly enough, there hasn't been any snow in Vienna! Yet, I hear it's snowing in Ireland. Roles reversed much? Thanks for all the birthday wishes, dear friends and family. I received the loveliest postcard from Megan today. I got so excited when I saw the French post mark. I also had some chocolate sent from home and a lovely party here in Wien with a plethora of different nationalities; English, Greek, German, Austrian, Turkish, Hungarian, Czech, American ... the list goes on! We also visited the lovely vibrant Naschmarkt that day and did a little hangover-curing walk through Vienna the day after!
This past week has been very hectic with my exams looming and the project work mounting and my time in work nearly killed me on Saturday. I managed a 9 hour shift alone at the bar on a MANIC Saturday evening. What's grinding my gears at the moment is how Austrians don't seem to know how to queue and are quite merciless if for some reason, we've run out of glasses or desserts. Take a chill pill guys! However, I think I have Christmas week off and last night, I booked my train tickets from Dublin to Cork for the week so CELEBRATIONS are in order! I can't wait for that.
Aside from the party, I've been to a great Beisl [traditional Austrian pub] called Kolar which we never would have found if it hadn't been for a lovely work colleague of mine. It was tucked away in the inner city on a street that translates as Shamrock Street - It must be fate! We'd gorgeous freshly baked flat bread that they bake in an oven beside the bar in front of you - Highly recommended. This was after a tough 8 hour shift so I was pretty knackered but the good times kept on coming as someone suggested that we go ice-skating. Now in Ireland, the only ice-rinks we have are put up temporarily during December and are generally too small and over-crowded. Most people tend to spend most of their time clinging to the sides and you are considered to be unreal at ice-skating if you can manage to go a few laps without skidding on your bum.
Nooooooooooot the case in Austria. Oh no. I thought I had some serious skills, being able to rollerblade too but it soon became apparent that Austrians take to winter sports like the Irish take to drinking or making eejits out of themselves. There were people doing spins and skids and one legged runs and two kids, who were chasing each other around as if they were playing on sand. Bit of a hit to the ole' self esteem. Doesn't help much either when there's a DJ in the middle playing " Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle YEAH", causing you to shake your hips, lose your balance and go FLYING onto the ice and skid forwards, glasses falling off your face and spinning in a circle beside you. Mortification. Mind you, there were some lovely Austrian boys on hand to offer a hand [through their laughter]. We ended the night in a crackin' Australian bar called The Travelshack which should have been a quiet drink and turned into people dancing on pool tables and a game of Kings.
Yesterday was spent at the world's oldest zoo, Tiergarten Schoenbrunn, which is amazing! It is huge and literally has every animal you could think of. It's probably not the best time of year to be visiting as many of the animals are in hibernation but some of my highlights were the pandas, the spectacled bears, the sealions and the giraffes. We also saw an anaconda. I'm sorry. How people have any affection to snakes mystifies me. It was HUGE. And it's tongue kept slipping out. Ughgggghghghg.
Have you ever seen a spectacled bear? They are amazing! They are so called as the different colouring on their faces makes it appear that they wear glasses. The translation in German is literally "Brillebaer".
Special mention goes to the penguins too. They are unintentionally hilarious and very regal looking. The zoo is located beside the magnificent Schoenbrunn Palace which has a really rich history and some impressive gardens and views of the city.
Unfortunately, it was quite dark by the time we left the zoo so we just headed to a Christmas market [they are all OVER the place] and drank some punsch. Well, I tried. I ordered what I thought was white hot chocolate. No. It was punsch with chocoalte and cream on top. Have you ever licked a dog? I haven't either but I'm pretty sure it would have tasted like that.
Right. I'm done! I've a test to study for. Well done on TP, Ciara. Megan, your address please! Dee, there'll be something in the post for you as soon as I figure out where I can buy stamps!