Last Wednesday I took the train to Salzburg and met up with two of my best friends, Meredith and Keri. The three of us hadn't been together for almost an entire year, so the weekend was full of catching up on each other's lives, reminiscing about high school, and lots of laughter.
Keri had to work on Thursday, so Meredith and I spent the morning toodling around Salzburg. We made our way to the main shopping street, where we had a lovely breakfast and then, of course, shopped. Many stores and several Christmas markets later, we headed back to Keri's apartment, where we relaxed and watched Glee until Keri got off of work. That evening, the three of us braved the cold and went to Keri's friend Maija's house for dinner. On Friday morning, Meredith and I had a similar morning of breakfast and shopping (rough life, I know), and then the three of us took an afternoon train to Vienna.
By the time we got to our hostel, we were starving. (That's what happens when you decide to have pastries for lunch and then don't eat for six hours.) We dropped off our bags and headed out to find 1516, a cool brewery that Meredith used to go to a lot when she studied abroad in Vienna. It was delicious! I highly recommend the pumpkin ale. We were exhausted by the time we finished dinner, so we went back to the hostel and hung out at the bar, where we played pool with some locals.
Saturday was our only day to see all the main sights of Vienna, so we had our hands full! We started at Schönbrunn palace, where we enjoyed some caramel glühwein at the Christmas market:
As we were leaving, the weather took a turn for the worse, and the rest of the day was a gross mixture of slushy snow and rain. But that didn't stop us! We had kebab boxes for lunch (I can't even explain how good those are . . . It's basically a box filled with potato wedges, kebab meat, lettuce, tomatoes, tzaziki, and red pepper sauce) and continued on our merry way. We saw the national library, the Hapsburg palace, the city hall, several theaters, and about 23,908,673 tourists.
Christmas market at the Rathaus:
At four o'clock, we made our way to the Staatsoper (National Opera House) to attempt to secure standing room tickets for that night's premier of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Two hours and three euros later, we had our tickets and proceeded into the theater. An hour after that, we finally made it to our "seats" and the show began. It was incredible to see an opera that first played in 1787. The singing and the costumes were amazing, and there were even screens with subtitles so it was possible to understand the plot. But to be perfectly honest, opera really isn't my cup of tea. I'm grateful that I got to see that performance, and it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but between the almost five hours of standing and the sweltering heat of the theater, I was glad when the curtain finally closed at 10:30.
I was sad to see Sunday roll around, but saying our goodbyes wasn't too tough since we'll all be home for Christmas next week!