Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fasching, Farms, Birthdays and Hockey! Whoot Whoot!

Tuesday February 16th, 2010
Today was a hard day to be at school and get up after getting so little sleep in Venice! But we had Understanding Austria where we talked about the Habsburgs and Photography.
Emily and I walked up to the monastery that is across the river from our school after lunch. It was a lot of steps up to it but it was a good walk and the weather was actually nice! It is neat because you can go up to the monastery through this random staircase that is in the middle of a side street Linzerstrasse. It makes you feel James Bond. :) We were walking towards the stair entrance and saw a man wearing monk clothing and we guessed he was just dressed up for carnival that night, ends up he was a ligit monk as we saw his picture on the side of the monastery! hehe. The view from the top was beautiful as the yellow monastery sits on the side of a mountain overlooking Salzburg. We were able to see our school on the left and then train station with its bright colored block building, but sadly not our house - too far away! After that we ran home where I got dressed for carnival fun after my photography class and picked up the mask I bought in Venice as my costume. But we of course had to stop at a shop and eat a krapfen. This is the traditional carnival food, a donut filled with jelly (usually apricot) with powdered sugar on top! They sell them year round but we decided today was a good day to enjoy one! The apricot was sooo yummy.
Photography was really fun because I took a role of black and white film while I was in Venice so I developed the film and was able to see the the pictures of kids dressed up in the little town of Treviso! I made my first print that night and I absolutely love it! It is of a Italian man with a pony tail, and suit with a monkey puppet interacting with a little boy in a stroller. :) Yeah photography! It is fun to be printing again.

After photography the real fun began tho! In Austria “Carnivale” or “Mardi Gra” is called Fasching. A year student Hannah, and Robert one of the guys from our class and Emily, Jane and I went out to celebrate Fasching Austrian style! Hannah’s lovely host mother told us where to go where the Austrians would be celebrating. We went to a bar that translated to Flying Monkey! We were all dressed up in our masks, and boas and walked in to a CRAZY bar of Austrians. There was barely any room to walk but we each got a beer and headed to a bench. We danced by the benches where people were dancing on them and sang to the songs blaring on the speakers behind us! Eventually we took over the benches and had a grand ole time dancing to ABBA’s “It’s Raining Men”, the “Chicken Dance” - in German of course, “Mickey, Mickey your so fine” along with many other American songs! We did hear a few Austrian/German songs and one about “Viva Verona” is still stuck in our heads! It was so much fun dancing with the girls. 
The costumes were creative and funny. There were two girls that had duck outfits, but oddly had glued a million real feathers onto shirts and skirts - the feathers were EVERYWHERE by the end of the night! We had 70’s afros, and men too successfully dressed up as women, and even Smurfs! 
There was a guy dressed up as a hippie that kept talking to me in German and wandering around and coming back and telling me things. A bit of a creep, but I think it is a good thing that I had no idea what he was saying. I think he had his ego hurt by the way he reacted when I kept ignoring him. haha. Hannah had an older guy that was sitting behind her on top of the bench she was dancing on and he kept putting his head on her bum, so she went to jump over to the bench I was on, and it was soooo funny because this man fell completely backwards over the bench because he had been leaning on her so much! It was a big Austrian man too, but he just laughed as he sat up. lol. We headed home about midnight because most of the things ended at midnight as it was the beginning of Ash Wednesday.
Wednesday February 17th, 2010
We were all super exhausted from fun from the past five days! I had German with my one of my favorite teachers at the school Jasmine. She is really teaching us what we need in order to live in Austria, not what the textbook only says, which is great! She is super funny too! She is obsessed with the United States - she went there once to New York and Florida. She just adores sweet tea, and Lucky Charms and many other random things that make us laugh. 
In Salzburg the ambulance sirens go off every 15 minutes it feels like! Our school is right next to a hospital so we hear it all day long! And of course their siren sounds differently and is much more annoying than the American siren (not to biased or anything) It sounds like a donkey, eeh ahh eeh ahh! Apparently when Jasmine went to New York she was really worried because it was a big city and there were no sirens compared to Salzburg! We found out that since it is socialist health care here if anyone needs any medical care they basically ride in the ambulance, because it is free. No matter if you are having a heart attack or broke your arm you ride in style for free, and the siren is always on - even if there is no time pressing issue!
Thursday February 18th, 2010
Having I had no class so I literally slept until I had to leave to walk to school for lunch! It was great and definitely needed after all the fun in the past week. In the afternoon I did homework. Eh boring day I know. 
Friday February 19th, 2010
Friday I had German and started thinking about my two week break and places I want to go. It has come up so quickly! :) In the afternoon Phoebe (our amazing Phoebe who is kind of like the Dean) took any of us that wanted to go, to a farming school outside of Salzburg. We hoped on the train and arrived in a side town to Salzburg. We had a nice long walk from the station to the town, lol. But that is traveling I have learned. Just walk you will get somewhere at some point. So we finally found the school. The school sells organic products from their school and we saw the market and the locals that were getting food for the weekend. After wandering in the market we got a tour from the Principal of this school. It was impressive because she is revolutionary in that she is the first and only woman Principal of this type of school in all of Austria!
The school is a school for middle to high school aged students ages 14-17/18 years old. It is a boarding school styled school where students go home on the weekends and during the week live in an old castle! The students come to learn house making skills, horses, livestock, farm mechanics, and farming. It is like all education in Austria where the students only have to pay for their board and food, due to the socialism of education. The students have to apply to the school, but those who come from farming or livestock backgrounds get preference because it is crucial that they can continue their family’s trade in an educated manner. Women are able to do horses and house making skills, and men do the mechanics, farming, and livestock. 
The Principal showed us the wood shop where all boys go and graduate with half of their apprenticeship done before they even graduate! They were building things like shelves, and clocks etc. Then was saw their gym which was beautiful all done in light wood, and their modern new dining hall. We received a walking tour through the barns. It was entertaining watching all the city kids with the animals. One girl from the east coast that is studying opera and is very proper asked me to take a picture of her with some calves because “her mother would never believe where she was!” lol. We have a very dynamic class. :) Personally, I loved getting back into my comfort zone with the animals, barns, and open fields - compared to the city streets! It was so funny because one of the calves was so hungry for his bottle that he was sucking on my hand! :) Reminds me of when I bottle fed my baby goats. They had little black sheep, hogs (the BIGGEST sow I have ever seen. She was probably as long as I am tall!) and horses. 
We walked through a large field, through a forest, across a bridge, and then another field and we got to the horses where the girls work. Just like to point out that the girls have to walk 15 minutes through all that while all of the guys stuff is right at the front of the school! Just saying, it was a long walk. Maybe things are not all equal yet... We got to the horse barn which is one of their pride and joys. The Principal was so funny because she had to literally show us every one of the 40 horses the school owns in all of the five randomly scattered barns. lol. The girls learn how to work with horses, taking care of them, riding them and learning how to drive carriages. With horses the main market with them in Austria is farm tourism. This is when tourists live on a farm in the mountains yet also help with doing the daily duties of the farm. I guess somehow carriages come into that. Probably, just an easy thing to get tourists to pay 10 euros a person for a ride down the street. The horses were beautiful. There is a rare breed that they have Noriker. It seemed to me though that the horses had a lot narrower heads than the ones back at home, but who knows I did not see a lot of horses before I left.
We finished our tour trying the snapps that they make right at the school! The male students can take courses in how to make it. We all got a free sample of the apple version - snapps can be made from a wide range of fruits. It was super smooth and definitely warmed all of us up on the cold day. It was kind of weird drinking snapps with Phoebe our “Dean” and the Principal. lol. Then we went to the processing house and saw some hogs hanging. The Principal said that one night when she was falling asleep she was thinking about the school tour she had given that day, and ran out of bed once she could not remember if she had locked in a student into the hanging freezer of the processing house! lol. She got there and nobody was there. After we parted our ways we found out that there was a closer train station to the school after all! Oh well! lol. So we all headed back to Salzburg. 
That night Jane and I went out to try a classic brauhaus by our school. We met up with a girl that has been here all year - Laura - and she showed us down the alleys to Augistiner’s. It is definitely one of my favorite places so far in Salzburg. We walked in and I was really confused because it had a church statue with the golden rays coming off of it the first thing! Then we went down these big marble stairs where we turned and found a hallway where large Austrian pretzels and other snacks were being sold. Off of the hallway were large rooms with big wooden tables and people enjoying a beer and talking. It was the most Austrians my age that I had seen so far since getting to Austria! This is where they hide from tourists! lol. But everyone from all walks of life, and ages found friends to sit down with and talk and drink. We found a wall of mugs picked a .5 liter one up payed the lady for a fill - 2.80 euro - and walked over to the man filling the mugs from wooden barrels of beer. The beer (bier) was actually really good, I was impressed as usually I do not like regular beer. We found a big table and sat down and chatted about nothing and had a great time! Other people from our school trickled in and we all talked until they shut the lights out on us and we had to 11pm! But it was a night with good friends and relaxing Austrian style! 
Saturday February 20th, 2010
Well I did lots of cleaning, and laundry and boring things like that! I also spent most of the day figuring out where I am going to spend my two week break and seeing what! I decided I am going to go to Romania, Greece, and Italy! I am super excited, be gee wiz planning takes so much time! It was so much easier as a kid where mom and dad planned everything and you just walked in and saw things! 
Sunday February 21st, 2010
At noon Bea (our host mom) held a family birthday party for her daughter, Lydia (who is in her late 40’s). Lydia’s husband, son (very cute!) and his girlfriend, and daughter came to celebrate as well as Lydia’s best friend and her husband. We started off in the kitchen talking with a mix of German and English and champagne (so typical Bea...she LOVES it!) Bea put a red apple liquor in our champagne as a “treat” and it actually tasted pretty good. It was so funny because all of Bea’s family kept filling her cup with their champagne cause they couldn’t finish it all! lol. :) 
Then we headed to the sun room that is a room with all windows and a big dinning room table. We had a feast on fresh lettuce, a shredded carrot with spices dish, and thinly sliced cucumbers in her yummy homemade dressing. Dressing over here is just simply amazing - it is light like Italian but it has the best flavors! Then those plates were removed and we had ham and egg, egg and cucumber salads and the shredded carrots. Then we had fondue with beef and chicken, but unlike what I have done before instead of oil, Bea made a soup to cook it in to give it more flavor. And Bea’s homemade bread! I love her poppy seed bread because it is beautifully twisted and sprinkled with poppy seeds on it! Yummy needless to say. It was cute cause Jane had never done fondue before so she was excited. lol. 
It was interesting to see that all of the grandchildren and the girlfriend were so committed to doing everything to clean the table and kitchen for the grandma. Refreshing. :) The grandkids brought out deserts that Lydia had made. There were two options chocolate moos or freshly squashed raspberries between layers of a vanilla whip cream! I chose the raspberry one and it was bliss! It was a true Austrian meal with multiple official courses. Then we had some free time because everyone kind of went off on their own to talk, and it was awkward so we headed up to our rooms to give them their family time until the birthday cake came out. When had the birthday cake it was funny because Lydia brought a leftover birthday cake from her house from the morning, I presume, and it was blueberry cake with a meringue top layer. Then Bea brought out a blueberry struttle and then her birthday cake that had blueberries in it! It was funny because it was all on accident that everything was blueberry (heidleberre)! 
We had to leave the party a bit early because the three of us were off to watch the Salzburg Redbull’s Hockey team in their first play-off game! It was super fun! We had bought tickets early so it was only 7 euros for a seat ticket! We got there a bit late because we had to figure out the right buses. As we walked up to the “Redbull Rink” we could hear this thundering. I got so excited - yeah - loud fans! We got in, were patted down, and then we scanned our tickets and sat down. On our seats were the best noise makers ever! They were simply thick poster board that you folded into a fan and then smacked against your knee or hand. It made an impressively loud sound and of course the whole rink of fans used them almost the whole game! The opposing team which we discovered were Slovakians were in their own section. But it was a very special section because they were literally caged in and had security all around them. Give you an idea of how into hockey they were? haha. They had a flag that covered the whole section when they scored. Also both our team and theirs had these really big drums that they would play throughout the game. They would sing and chant and were very into the game. We caught onto the practice of screaming the player’s name after they score for like 10 times! haha. I was surprised how much their gear is covered with sponsorships. All over their leg pads and jerseys were their company ads! The score ended up being 1 to 3 and they lost. Their defense was super weak even though their passing game was ok, but they never skated up to help out on scoring. oh well. :) Jane is from the eastern Europe, Hungary and Poland and she felt so bad rooting for Salzburg when she should have been faithful and rooted for Slovakia. :)  It was so much fun! 

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Capri by Courtney Tracy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.