08 January 2010

In Vienna

Yesterday I left Ireland behind for four months. It has mostly stopped raining in Ireland for the last month, but has been freezing instead. Apparently this is very unusual, it is the coldest winter they have had in 30 years. In Galway everything has been icy, with a bit of slushy sleety snow every now and then. In Dublin it has been snowing and the airport runways had to be closed on the Wednesday. Luckily it had all been sorted out by Thursday so my flights were not really affected. It is very odd though to take off in such heavy fog and snow.

It was a long day of flying and the plane was really packed, but arriving in Austria was faster than any airport I have arrived into so far. The baggage came out really quickly and it has all been scanned already so you just go right past customs and you are done. It gets dark here very early though so there was not much to see last night.

So for the next four months I am living on Molkereistrasse, in a big apartment building.It is student accomodation, called a Gasthaus (guesthouse). But for some reason they have painted the corridors white, so they have been scribbled on by all the students.

The apartments themselves are nice though. They are mostly white and the cupboards in the kitchen are bright orange for some reason. My bedroom is quite large, although there is only a single bed. I have a big tv, a phone, desks and chairs and lamps. They even provide all the linen and the kitchen stuff so all you need to buy is towels and food. There is still a lot to do to get all set up in a new place but it does make it a lot easier. And it is very warm in here, which is really great considering the weather outside:

It is snowing! And it is real snow, it is soft and powdery and crunches beneath your feet. This morning I was up early to find a supermarket (they close quite early in the evening here) so I got to see the snow all fresh and white. The old snow on the roads is just grey and slushy. Today, despite being my first day here, I began work already. Not much I must admit but it still seems like it was a very long day. I was shown around the Zoology department here and it is very large. I think I might like it better than at NUIG but that might just be because it is so big. But eventually work finished for the day, and it was dark already but not too late so it was time to wander around town. I definately need a new coat, something really warm. I don't really know where I was or what I was looking at, plus it was dark and snowy. But it was still very interesting.

Here is a big fountain. Other people were taking photos of it so I figured I should too. There were several fountains around this area.. This is in the city center, the Innere Stadt. It might even be a part of the Musuems Quarter, there were a lot of very nice looking buildings. But all the buildings here are very impressive. They are huge and old and ornate.

I found a lot of nice looking shops, but today at least there was no time to just go browsing, so I just kept walking. Most of the Christmas lights were not going but these ones still were, and once again I am not sure what this statue is yet, or if it is significant, but it was very nice. You can sort of see how it is snowing in the photos, but it is very difficult to really show how it looks.

Lastly here is a very large cathedral. This photo can really not explain how massive and looming this building is. I did not even see it at first, I had to look twice, it is that big. I can't wait to see all of this in the daylight.

Unfortunately here in Austria you are still allowed to smoke in restaurants and bars. I thought that it was going to be banned for the entire European Union but I guess it was optional. It did not seem so bad at the time, it could definately have been worse, but now I am home and my whole bedroom smells of cigarette smoke. If only they would decide to change the rules in the near future, while I am still here.

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