Kultur und Kipferl, Krampus und Kälte

Yet more frustrating laptop problems put a serious spanner in the works of me doing anything on this bit of kit, let alone writing anything here, hence the delay. This week was, in many ways, considerably quieter than previous weeks; maybe it’s got something to do with people realising that we are actually here to study!

That being said, after last weekends trip to Vienna, I was not exactly enthusiastic about getting up for my seminar on Monday morning, so I skipped it and spent the day in bed. That evening, I first met with my study group to discuss our upcoming project (urgh) and then headed over to Toni’s to bake Christmas cookies! We massively overestimated how much mixture we’d need, so ended the evening on a serious sugar high and with more cookies than we knew what to do with, not that that was anything to complain about…

On Tuesday, my 9am lecture was mercifully cancelled, so I used the free time to get some new jeans at the Europark (see last post for why). Then it was back to the typical Tuesday routine of my literature seminar at 3pm, then basketball that evening. On Wednesday, I’d decided to finally buy a puncture repair kit so I could fix my bike once and for all. To do this, I had to take the bus just out of town to the big shopping park there, and trust my luck, this was the day I was caught on the bus without a ticket! After one of the most genuinely terrifying exchanges of my life, the controller took pity on me and gave me an email address to contact so I wouldn’t have to pay the fine. Needless to say, I won’t be taking the bus again any time soon! After this shock, I bought my repair kit, went to the gym, then headed to my lecture. That evening, our group was going to immerse ourselves in a different part of Salzburg culture as Iris had invited to watch her choir and the Salzburg Philharmonic Orchestrea perform at the Haus fuer Mozart in the Altstadt. I’d never been to a classical concert before, and it was surprisingly enjoyable. Understandably, we were probably the youngest people there by a considerable way, but it made a change to the usual Wednesday evenings in Salzburg. That being said, after a quick stop off in Republic, we did ultimately end up in O’Malley’s as per. During the course of the evening, one of the loveliest things happened. Noticing that I’d been talking myself down and being generally insecure lately, the girls sat me down for a pep talk and told me some of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me! I feel so lucky that, even after only a few months, I’ve got such a close, wonderful group of friends here. I don’t know what I did without them.

After going to the gym, Thursday saw round two of the Christmas baking – this time, Vanilla Kipferl at Adele’s. Whilst still tasting pretty good, these didn’t quite work out how we’d planned, but by the time we’d nestled down in Adele’s bed to watch Netflix with a huge plate of the semi-successful Kipferl, it didn’t matter. I also successfully repaired the puncture in my bike all my myself that day which is honestly one of my proudest moments since I’ve been here.

On Friday, the weather in Salzburg was, to put it bluntly, atrocious. It was that horrible combination of cold, damp and wind that you can only experience in the mountains and deciding to cycle the 5km to the gym in it wasn’t one of my better ideas, so I was more than grateful for the hot bath I had afterwards. This was also the day that TLSP released their new EP, which more than made up for the bad weather and gave me something to listen to over the rain.

On Saturday, everyone in our group was either visiting friends or had friends visiting, so I was at a bit of a loose end. After doing some work, I headed into town to do some Christmas shopping (a bad decision, the Altstadt was PACKED!) and whilst there, inadvertently had my first experience of the weirdest Austrian Christmas tradition, Krampus. It’s genuinely scary, and after finding myself cornered by one of them whilst on the phone, I quickly legged it to the bus stop to meet Toni and her friend Steffi. Salzburg was weird that evening, along with Krampus, within the space of an hour I’d witnessed a pro-life march, 50+ Santas running through the streets and a protest against Austrian presidential far right candidate Norbert Hofer (thankfully, he lost). I was quite glad to escape the madness and go to the Schloss Hellbrunn Christkindlmarkt (again!) where we met Bo and her friend Pauline. Despite the cold, we stayed there for a few hours and, just before leaving, climbed to the panorama point in the Schlosspark to get a nighttime view of Salzburg. By this point, it was painfully cold, so we headed back into the city and had a lovely warm dinner together at Zwettlers Wirtshaus.

On Sunday, I crashed Toni and Steffi’s reunion again and joined them for their trip first to Bergheim and the Maria Plain just outside of Salzburg, and then to Mondsee. The former is a Basillica on a hill overlooking the Salzburg valley and, had the mist lifted, the views would have been spectacular. The same could be said for Mondsee; it was a beautiful lake, but, contrary to the weather forecast, the area was shrouded in mist, so we couldn’t see too much. That being said, we were determined to make at least half a day of it, so wandered around the quaint town of Mondsee and stopped for a drink before heading back to Salzburg. That evening, after a thorough clean of the kitchen, Valentina and I sat town with some tea to discuss our week, before heading to bed.

As I’m writing, I’ve realised that this was actually far from a quiet week, but this next week is going to be even more chaotic as a number of people come to visit and, as Christmas gets nearer, so do my deadlines. The biggest challenge at the moment however, is dealing with the cold. In recent days, temperatures haven’t got above 0 degrees and my body just can’t cope! I can only hope that I’ll get used to it before the ski season kicks in…

Sunset over Salzburg
Christmas cookies round one… as decorated by 5 year olds
Sunset at Rudolfskai
Proof that I am in fact cultured
Round two
Salzburg at night from the panorama point at Schloss Hellbrunn, more impressive in real life….
Hellbrunn doing what Hellbrunn does best
Maria Plain
Christmas at Mondsee
My new baby
Aaaaand a throw back to the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna last week

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