Friday, July 5, 2013

A day in the life

Thursday afternoon I broke the rules and went for a walk on the Mariahilferstrasse, when I could have been experiencing a culturally or historically significant point-of-interest.  The Mariahilferstrasse is dedicated completely to shopping and eating and doing nothing much in particular. My Jiminy Cricket kept squeaking, "But what about the Art History Museum? Or Danube island? Or the House of Music? You're in Vienna, you shouldn't skip out on these amazing opportunities!!!"

"Oh, shush!" I said, as I ordered myself some lunch at a Wuerstl Stand.

I had what is known in Austria as a "Kaesekrainer." The interesting thing is how it's served: in a long roll that has been hollowed out to then hold the spicy mustard and cheese-filled sausage.  It's totally an Austrian thing or Slovanian (depends on who you're asking: I washed it all down with an Apfel-Spritzer. Lunch, check.

Now off to do some shopping! Based on the recommendation of our seminar leaders, the best bookstore for Austrian films on DVD and other literary/paper needs is called Thalia. I wasn't quite sure where it was, so I asked a lady working in a very cute accessories shop to help me. At first she wasn't sure what I was asking for, because I said, "TA-li-a." After some thought she asked me if I meant, "ta-LI-a." I suppose this could happen to a French person looking for "tar-JAY" in the US. In the end, I was able to find several DVDS, a CD, a magazine, and some stamps (not the letter validating kind, but the inking of papers kind). One of the films is reportedly a cult classic, where in stereotypical Viennese are used as the characters. Should make for good film study. Take that, Jiminy.

Speaking of authentic learning, I also brought into practice a new Austrian word, "Jause" while window-shopping. It kind of sounds like something Inspector Gadget would shout, but it means rather "a smallish snack that you would eat in the afternoon, like cake and coffee or tea." 

In this case, my picture here illustrates a bakery that is advertising a "healthy" version of the afternoon snack time. See, Jiminy, learning in context! A real-life meaningful situation in which I can utitlize my language and culture skills. What more could I ask for? How about a gorgeous, 17th century Baroque church with a statue of Joseph Hayden in front it? Done.

My point here is that living in a place doing normal everyday things like finding lunch, buying books, and interacting with people can be just a meaningful or even educational as visiting a museum or cultural site. Total, I spent 2 1/2 hours wandering up and down the Mariahilferstrasse, and I so glad that I didn't drag myself to yet another museum. 

Oh, and for the record, Jiminy, I visited several museums and cultural sites while in Vienna:
1. the Leopold Museum
2. the Sesession
3. the Vienna Museum
4. St. Stephan's cathedral
5. the Prater
6. the Naschmarket
7. the Karlskirche
8. the Hofburg and gardens
9. the Belvedere upper gallery and gardens
10. the Roman ruins in Vienna
11. St. Michael's church
12. 3 other neighborhoods outside the main ring AND
13. 3 completely different Italian ice cream stands, for comparison purposes strictly.

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