The Hills Are Alive

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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My second long weekend was spent in Austria.

Just like Paris, I was luck to to visit Salzburg more than once. But I’ll talk about that a little later. For now it’ll be about Vienna.

For my first trip, a small group of us went on an overnight train crossing the borders between Italy and Austria. It was one of my favorite parts of the semester. The train was set up like the one that goes to Hogwarts. A carriage compartment you can share with friends and have tons of snacks in.

One of us even had our 20th birthday that night.

So we had our own little celebration with pringles and some beer (well, in my case orange juice). Everyone spent the night talking and making jokes as we headed into another new country.

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Our time in Vienna was calm and lovely.

We hit the ground running once we arrived.

As we walked to our hostel we stopped by a few places since checkin wasn’t open yet. I had, what I personally believe, to be the best hot chocolate ever. The lady even asked if I wanted white hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate, or milk ho chocolate. I didn’t even know I had options! Pair that with some yummy brownies and I’m good to go.

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After dropping off our bags at the hostel, we went exploring.

Right outside a church we were visiting, there was a small fresh market that sold freshly baked bread and fruits. Everyone sat together, having our own little picnic, eating strawberries and raspberries and pumpernickel bread (a whole loaf of it!).

Soon after we came across a playground with a big merry-go-round and a set of swings. One of which was like a mosh pit and so big that two people could ride it!

Are we too old to be fooling around on playgrounds?

Probably.

Did we care?

Not really.

After spending what was probably an unhealthy amount of time there, we stopped by a burger place nearby.

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Our last day in Vienna was spent visiting a museum and studying at a cool place called Pickwick’s. It’s actually a British pub with tons of great food and books to read for fun.

But our time in Austria wasn’t just spent in Vienna…

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It was also spent in Salzburg, where every Sound of Music fans’ dreams come true!

We went everywhere we could.

From the beautiful gardens where the children learned how to sing, to the Von Trapp household, to the gazebo where two thirsty teenagers shared their first kiss, and many more!

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We even climbed up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Now, when whomever proposed us visiting the place, it was never mentioned that there would be a climb. A big, STEEP climb. Probably the worst I’ve ever done.

Out of the five in our group, two of us were struggling hardcore. And the worst part is that there are literally no places to take break! It’s just a constant uphill battle.

You know, when Mother Superior said to climb every mountain, I thought she meant it figuratively. Not literally for a bunch of out-of-shape college kids.

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We were also fortunate enough to visit Salzburg while a festival was being held there.

We didn’t exactly know it was for, or understood when we tried asking someone, but it was a joy nonetheless.

There was a never ending stream of booths that sold pretzels, and schnitzel, and gelato, and ornaments, and other wonderful things! There was eve n a few rides set up, like a small Ferris wheel and swing ride.

We spent the day eating as much as we could handle (both interns of our stomachs and our wallets), starting from chocolate covered strawberries that tasted like heaven. Afterwards, a young group of drummers and singers were leading the general crowd towards someplace. Intrigued, we joined in until we reached the beautiful church Kollegienkirche. Although Salzburg is typically a quiet place to be in, our time there was filled with festivities and fun that will forever be cherished.

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