Traveling Abroad

Green means GO! GO! GO!

And we haven’t stopped.  Going, that is.

On campus I hear about Austria ALL the time.   Remember that time when…? In Austria we… Austria is… followed up with lots and lots and lots of laughter.

Well, Austria is gorgeous! 4 months here won’t be long enough to begin to fully take in all the beauty this is surrounding me.  Every morning I get to wake up to the breathtaking mountains, sunrises that one only imagines, and crisp mountain air.  Gaming is a quaint little town where you can walk to everything!

If I need anything, all I do is walk about 3 minutes down the street and I’m at the grocery store, shoe store, and post office.  A couple more minutes and I’m at the drug store, the toy/school supplies store, the garden store (our Home Depot/Lowes/Hardware store), the bank, and the Church in town.  Not to mention there are cafe’s, pizza, ice cream, and pubs within the 5-7 minute walk as well.

More people are on bikes than in cars – it’s quite fun to see the different way of life.

And my favorite (sometimes most frustrating) part – ALL stores close from 12pm-2pm for lunch! Talk about a culture difference.  People value the silence, the beauty of nature, using your mind, and above all family and friends.  Clearly, they close for a 2-hour lunch break to go home and eat with family.

No one here says they miss the hustle and bustle of anything.  Neighborhood streets are quiet, yet lively.  Each home depicts the different characteristics of its owners.  Quality of life is great, the water is clean (we’re drinking tap all semester – it’s cleaner than U.S. filtered water), air is fresh, food is clean and fresh.

So far, since the semester has begun I have been to the Melk Abbey, the Durnstein Castle, ruins (that was quite the hike) and will be going to Salzburg and Vienna in the next week.  Before the semester began we got to see and experience some small markets.  My favorite was in Sittard – St. Rose of Lima is their patron Saint.  Visit a lot small chapels in the middle of fields.  Have ice cream that looks like spaghetti and see lots of cars that are old and refurbished.  So cool!!  Our visit to the Cologne Cathedral was wonderful, except for the part when we climbed roughly 500 tower stairs to get to the top of tower.  The tour of the Treasury made up for it though.

Classes have started, this girl’s mind that was made for analyzing actions of people is going to be doing a lot of stretching and growing in order to make it through her Philosophy and Theology classes.  The reality that these are the last classes of my undergrad career…hasn’t fully sunk in yet.  Probably because it hasn’t had a chance to.

As a right of passage into the semester spent in Austria, one is required to jump in a creek that is right across the road from the Kartause.  I got to do it the other day…I was so giddy!  It reminded me of the Polar Bear Plunge in the middle of winter, and there’s nothing better than being in the water.

Oh, there are so many things about this place and as much as I love it all, I can’t wait for the yellow light that allows us time to slow down and take it all in.  Of course, it’s not coming anytime soon.  This weekend we’re off to Salzburg for a day and then something else on Sunday (I don’t actually know what it is yet).

Oh! I am forgot to mention – we are all learning the Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be in German – the Angelus and Our Father in Mass are a little choppy at times, but we get through it.

Love you all!!

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