So much has happened this week! Where to begin! I think it is really interesting that a lot of stuff in Vienna runs on the honor system. For instance for all of the public transportation here you just get on and off without ever having to show anyone your ticket and they trust that you have one. I’ve been told that every once in a while someone will be there to make sure you have a ticket, but I have yet to have this happen. They also have newspapers all over the sidewalks in these bags with a place for you to put the money for the paper, but there is nothing to stop people from taking the paper without paying for it. And A LOT of shops have merchandise outside of the store on the sidewalk for people to look at as they are walking by. This is really strange to me because of how many times I have been warned about protecting my stuff here so that I am not pick pocketed. Even the ATMs warn you to make sure no one is watching you enter in your pin so I find it really strange that somewhere that obviously has a lot of thievery is so trusting that people will pay for things.
In this last week I had my first violin lesson, which took place inside a palace!
After my lesson my instructor gave me and the other 3 students in my program free tickets to the concert he was conducting that night! The tickets were worth 65 Euro (or about $85) each!The concert was really awesome and a lot of fun.
The next day I went to the Tiergarten Zoo. The zoo here is the world’s oldest zoo and has been voted the best zoo in Europe. I really love zoos so I had a great time spending the day there. The zoo is really massive and has lots of animals that I had never seen before, like pandas and koalas :)
Then Last Sunday my roommate and I went to the Imperial Palace to see a series of exhibits there: the Imperial silver collection, the Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Apartments. We had such an awesome time there. We spent over 2 hours alone looking at the dishes used by the inhabitants of the palace. There were so many different collections of dinnerware for every type of situation. Unfortunately this was the only part of the exhibit that we were allowed to take pictures of so I don’t have any pictures of the Imperial Apartments to share.
While we were there we decided to take a break from looking through the museums so we sat in the cafe and I got Eis Schokolade! Yummy!
I have mostly just had classes in between now and then, but today we went on an excursion with our German teacher and she showed us the main university in Vienna and taught us about the school system here. Our classes are not actually at the school so we had yet to see it. It’s actually weird and cool because our classes are in an apartment, which means we have a bathroom and kitchen in our classroom, but it comes in handy for making lunch in between classes. She also took us to a house that Beethoven lived in for 8 years where he composed several symphonies and to a cafe in the Museumsquartier.
Basically everything has been going well here except for one mishap the other day. I tried to get cash from an atm at a subway station on my way home and the atm confiscated my credit card! It told me to wait a moment while it processed my transaction, and then a second later another message popped up saying that it was retaining my card for my security. This became a frustrating experience and caused me to be scared of using the atms here. I still don’t even know why it kept my card. I tried calling the number on the atm but it was out of service and I couldn’t call the bank that owns the atm because it didn’t have the bank’s name on it. When I finally figured out the correct person to get in contact with (after attempting to have several conversations with people who spoke no English), they told me there is no way for me to get my card back from them and that instead they will eventually mail it back to my bank in the US. I called my bank and it seemed that everyone who worked there had a different idea of what they can and cannot do. I was told that they can, can’t, and then can again, ship me a card internationally to replace the card that was confiscated. At the point when they told me they couldn’t send me a card here they said they could overnight a new card to my boyfriend’s address in the US so I had them to that and now apparently there are also two cards on their way to me here in Vienna! So much confusion.