HALFWAY POINT!! Six months in Austria

Crazy to thing that I have been in Austria for half a year now! Everyone was right when they said things start to pick up after Christmas. I feel like I hardly have time left here at all! I still have lots of things to look forward to though, including Euro Tour, Ski Week and school trips to Italy as well as Prague.

The most important part of this month was my Grandma visiting me here in Austria:) It was so nice to see her and it was the best feeling to be able to relax and be comfortable around a real family member. I missed being that comfortable around someone and not having to worry about impressing them. My Grandma arrived on the 23rd of January and we spent two weeks together.

For the first week we spent our time in Vienna and even though I have been there many times before, I saw so many places I had never been inside of! We went to every art museum we saw(we even tried one modern art museum..blah never again!) Other than the Mak(modern art), I loved all of the art museums we went to including the Albertina, Leopold, and Belvedere. We saw pieces by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Marie Egner, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. It was also my first time seeing “The Kiss!”

Other than art museums, we visited the National Library and State Hall, Stephans Platz and The Hofburg of course, and the Schmetterling Haus(Butterfly House). The State Hall was a little confusing to find. Turns out that the State Hall is actually the building with the painted ceiling and books, while the National Library is a whole different building. But we visited both! We also watched a morning training at the Spanish Riding School. We even visited the National History Museum but we didn’t spend too much time there as both me and my Grandma are more interested in paintings than stuffed animals and rocks:/ The building was still really pretty inside though! Of course I also had to take my Grandma to Schloss Schönbrunn, but we decided not to pay to go inside. Side note to anyone visiting Vienna, make sure you see the Rathaus lit up at night!:)

After Vienna, we headed back to Graz so that I could attend a few days of school while my Grandma explored my city. Then on the weekend, we took the train to Hallstatt. This was really cool for me to see the town in the winter since I had only seen it in summer. We really lucked out with the weather, I had taken the train past Hallstatt many times before and not once had I seen it with such clear skies in the winter! We ran into a bit of trouble when we first arrived because I didn’t realize that the train station was on the other side of the lake and the only way to get to the town was by boat. Of course we had no cash to pay for the boat tickets so we had to swim. Jokes! The very nice captain let us pay him back on the way home after going to an ATM:) Once we arrived, we walked around taking photos and went for a schnitzel lunch before taking another train to Salzburg in the evening. We stayed for two nights in Salzburg. The first day was cloudy so we decided to risk it and see if the  next day was better to visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Instead we walked around town visiting and exploring. The next day was so sunny and warm, it was without a doubt worth waiting to visit the fortress. You could even see the mountains!(I have only seen the mountains 2/3 times I’ve visited Salzburg because it is always cloudy or raining).

After Salzburg we took a train to Vienna so that my Grandma wouldn’t miss her flight the next morning. After saying our goodbyes, I stayed the week with my friends in Vienna because I had no school this week. It was a nice break!

This week I have school and then next week I have another week off, yay!!:) Then the week after that is Ski Week with Rotary!! So excited to meet all the newbies and see our new exchange group all together. I already met one of my newbies because she is in my class at school, she is from Australia and she is super sweet!

I am so happy that I made it this far on exchange and that I stuck with it. I really see what everyone means when they say I won’t want to come home! I cannot even imagine life back in St. Albert or remember what it is like. But I still cannot wait to see everyone when I go back home! My parents have booked their flights to visit me at the end of the year and I could not be more excited to see them♡.

Also happy birthday to my Dad if he is reading this right now:)

Thats all! Tschüss!

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