Europe is such a wonderful place. The US can’t even compete with the buildings and history. I went running yesterday around the square and I was blown away. There isn’t a single building here in Vienna (Wien) that isn’t gorgeous. Some of these buildings are older than our entire country and it is just unbelievable. Despite my biased opinion, I think Wien is the most gorgeous city. Once I visit Prague, I’ll see if my opinion changes.
There is so much to do here in Wien! We didn’t know where to begin. Today Alexa, Kendra and I decided to take our first museum tour. We visited the Belvedere Palace, which houses the Belvedere museum. We only toured the Upper portion and will save the Lower portion and the gardens for when the flowers begin to bloom.
This place was magnificent! This place houses priceless artwork by many known artists such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh and the actual palace was beautiful. The ceilings reminded me of the movie, Beauty & the Beast. Fixtures were painted on the ceiling as well, making it difficult to distinguish between what was a painting and what was actually 3-D. I can only imagine what it must have been like growing up as Prince Eugene.
Alexa and I learned a valuable lesson tonight. We were out at a wine and dine, and obviously ordered a glass of wine with our meals. Once we got the check, we noticed the wine was twice the price we had thought it was. We asked the waiter about it, telling him we had only ordered a glass and even showed him the price in the menu. Apparently the establishment advertises the price for cheaper wine at 1/8 glass and advertises the price for more expensive wines at 1/16 glass, yet when you order a cup, they give you 1/8 glass, therefore charging you double. Very deceptive! The manager ended up giving us the price we thought for the wine, but we were just blown away by how sneaky they were trying to be. Lesson learned.
I’m beginning to see the differences in the European way and the American way– perhaps eventually I will even see the Canadian way for I met my roommate last night and she is Canadian :)– No, the lifestyles here are just very different than from the hustle and bustle of the US. First of all, everything extra here costs money. There’s a reason Europeans don’t like a lot of ice in their drinks because refills cost money. I needed to get my laundry card for the dorm, so I had to go to the housing office. For the card alone, with no value on it, costs 7 euro. At this moment, that transfers to $9.63. I then had to go to the bank to have them put money on the card. To have them put money on the card, costs an extra 1 euro. It cost me $11 to buy a laundry card and put money on it. That’s with nothing on the card. Back to my point… the lifestyle here just seems so much slower paced and almost slightly behind on technology. Everything isn’t convenient. There aren’t the 24 hour Wal Marts that you can buy your hairdryer and groceries at the same store. As I’ve said before, the grocery stores close around 6 pm here and are closed all day on Sundays. There are separate stores for electronics… meat… bread… Despite the better mass transit here, the walking a few blocks to station, waiting 2-6 minutes for the metro or tram, to transfer to another metro or tram, to walk a few minutes to my final stop is very different than just hoping in the car and driving to my exact location. It’s not worse, it’s just different. It feels like I’ve almost gone back in time to when the gadget on our wrists didn’t run our lives: the American way of wanting what we want and wanting it NOW. I see elderly people taking the metro or tram and it amazes me everytime. I couldn’t imagine my grandmother Aru or grandfather Poppy having been able to withstand the walking, the jerkiness of the stop and go of the mass transit or carrying all of the groceries the few blocks back to the apartment. This difference in lifestyle probably contributes to why Europeans are healthier and aren’t on the fast track to a fat and lazy country as the US seems to be. When I mentioned how I felt Europe was almost a step back in technology, I’ll give an example. I use online banking. Love it and have used it for years. It’s very convenient. When I went to the bank to set up an account, the financial advisor asked if I wanted online banking. Knowing how everything here seems to have an extra charge, I asked if it cost more. He told me it was free and of course I then told him I wanted it as well. I thought it was odd that it wasn’t assumed that with the bank account, online banking would be included. It’s so common in the US, especially since Generation Y has grown up on technology. It just took me by surprise. Like I said, not worse, just different.
Well, we learn from different. I haven’t been here a week and feel like I’ve already learned so much. Class starts tomorrow. I shall begin German Business and hopefully that’ll make things easier getting around. One step closer to immersing myself into this culture. Gute Nacht!