Five months in and I still fall more and more in love with this city everyday. The weather has taken a turn for the chilly this last week and the saying that “Salzburg has no autumn or spring, only summer and winter” springs to mind. My lectures and classes hit full throttle this week and it’s quite terrifying knowing that I’m going to be assessed against German native speakers in a language I’m still learning. But one problem at a time. Hearing stories from my friends all over Europe (and the world!!), I consider myself quite lucky to have a lovely place to live, a helpful university and a really good group of friends. To be honest, I don’t want this experience to end.
On to this week. Monday was just another standard admin day. Because literally everything stops on a Sunday, everything I’d usually do then has to be done on Monday, including, washing, food shop, cleaning and (of course) the gym. A chilled out day was just what I needed though, because Tuesday was absolutely ridiculous. Thanks to my own timetabling, I’d ended up with almost all of my lectures and seminars on Tuesday; that is, almost 8 hours of being spoken to in very fast, heavily accented German. In my first lecture, it genuinely felt like I took less than half of it in – apparently Powerpoints aren’t standard here!! – but after a coffee and lunch stop with Bo, Adele and Toni, I was ready to go with the next one. (By the way, for lunch we found a tiny cafe which served almost exclusively homemade soups and Eintoepfe for only 4 euros!!). The next lecture was fairly uneventful, after which I had my first ever seminar in German, a frankly terrifying prospect: me and 15 Germans. However it is probably the module I’m most interested in, so hopefully things will continue to go alright!! Just as I was contemplating going home for a nap before dinner, I received an email from a basketball coach I’d contacted a few days previously inviting me to a training session on the other side of town that night. Not one to turn things down these days, I went along and met Louis the American and all four of the other women who’d turned up for training that night. Even though attendance was nothing short of abysmal and basketball is not as similar to netball as I’d hoped, it was just so nice to have a ball in my hands again – I didn’t realised how much I’d missed running around a court!!
Needless to say, on Wednesday I was whacked and barely had time to squeeze a quick gym session in before my Austrian History lecture with Adele. Afterwards, it was another lovely scenic cycle ride home to get ready for that night. The five of us and Merel met at Ludwig’s Burger Restaurant (yum!) before heading back to Toni’s and then onto Republic. The adverts had promised an “alternative rock” event, which I had been really looking forward to, but this consisted of literally just one Red Hot Chilli Peppers song which, to be honest, I wouldn’t even class as alternative rock. Not the best night ever, although the venue was quite cool – the club had a huge concert hall at the back!!
Thursday was another quieter day as I just went to the gym, then sprinted over to my language course before a finger-numbing cycle home. On Friday, I had a few errands to run, so took the scenic route to the Altstadt where I met Adele and we navigated our way through the tourists for an hour. After another gym session which possibly the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen as the backdrop to my back squats, the five of us headed over to Adele’s for homemade pizza, a movie and the planning of our upcoming excursions….
One of which was the very next day. After weeks of saying we’d do it, we finally got to the top of the Untersberg by way of a vertiginous cable car. The view from the summit was spectacular, stretching across the Salzburg valley and over into Germany and the mountains. It was so great to be back in the mountains, not to mention there was snow on the ground (ski time is near!)!! We chose to follow a “path” (it was not a path) to the Toni Lenz Huette which took us down rock faces, through snow, into caves and across precipices, but was all worth it for the Kaiserschmarrn (thick, crunchy, shredded pancakes topped with icing sugar and served with various jams) we ate at the tiny secluded mountain hut. Then it was back to the cable car, which was a mostly uphill journey, but it felt so good to be scrambling up a mountain again.
I’d put my body through a lot this week, so today has been a very quiet day, consisting mainly of work, cleaning and a Skype chat with my family. In a minute, the girls and I are going out for a Sunday night drink, after which Valentina should have arrived back home!! We also planned something really really big for next weekend, so hopefully it pays off… Until then, auf Wiedersehen!!