Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Writing contest in Vienna - 1/3

I was sure I had mentioned the reason why I went to Vienna somewhere but I can't find it so let me give you a quick recap!

Baaaaack in the beginning of September we had a back-to-school thing after school where we could eat some snacks, drink some soda/beer, and meet the new 1st year students.
As we were enjoying ourselves and picking people to be part of the movie club and the party planning group, our teachers also reminded us that the day after was the last day that we could apply for the Korean Essay Writing Contest that would take place in Vienna in October.

As soon as I mentioned that I was interested, my teacher, Karin, pushed me over to the older students, who had participated so I could hear more about it from them. I was hooked but didn't want to go alone so I pestered Celine 씨, my partner in crime, until night.
She was persuaded and we applied the day after. 

A couple of days later we got word that we, along with a third student, Charlotte from 4th year, had been picked as the students that would represent our university in the competition. WUUH!
Normally the universities send 2 students and 1 teacher but our teachers were busy that week and so we were allowed to go all three.

Fast forward about a month and there we were, about to board our plane at 6.45 in the morning to go on a 3-days trip to Vienna to participate in the 3rd

Horrible idea btw. I mean the flying-out-early-in-the-morning part.
I had been to GEEKcore the weekend leading up to and Charlotte came home from a trip to Korea the night before our flight. Celine packed super late in the evening so none of of probably got more than some 3 hours of sleep that night.

We'd be flying a little less than 2 hours before arriving in Vienna and Charlotte and I decided that this would be the perfect time to take a nap before starting the day.
We woke up again around breakfast time to a Celine who was quite excited that they were actually serving wine in the morning. She was unsure whether to get some or not but ultimately decided to do so. Charlotte and I teased her for the rest of the trip about this, calling her an alcoholic for drinking before noon.
 We had little chocolate buns for breakfast which were surprisingly good.
After we had finished eating we were talking when suddenly the plane flew up sUPER HIGH AND SUPER QUICK LIKE AAAAH!! If we had been going the opposite direction in that moment I swear I would have thought we were about to crash.
I could tell by Charlotte's facial expression and my own guts that none of us liked what had just happened so I tried to keep our conversation going when WE SUDDENLY DROPPED AGAIN OUT OF NOWHERE. What felt like a looong time after, the speaker came on and said that the control tower had made some miscalculations. We'd been 4,5 km from the nearest plane so for security reason we'd had to make an upward turn to avoid them.
( ;⚆ ⌓⚆ )

It was hard to have any expectations for Vienna since none of us knew much about it. I mean, yes, we all knew that it was the capital of Austria but we didn't know what to expect of the city or the people there. Our plane filled with Swedish businessmen and the fancy loking airport in Vienna hinted at it being a high class, international metropolitan city.

From the airport we took an 18-minute train to Südtiroler Platz-Hauptbahnhof / Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna's main station) for 3,70€ each, which is really really cheap!
If you're going to Vienna, HERE is a link to a map of their subway/train system.
There was a small café on the train! I thought that was super cool!
At Südtiroler Platz we went to the Information point to find out how to get to the hotel from there. The people there were super helpful and advised us to buy a 48-hour card, that would work on any public transport.
 With our 48 Stunden Wien cards, we took the U-Bahn (U1, red line) to Kaisermühlen-VIC, which, thankfully, was right across the street from our hotel.

On our way, Charlotte and Celine had been talking about wanting to taste a real, warm Austrian brezel so that was the first thing we did when we arrived. Unfortunately it wasn't warm. It was quite salty and the caraway seeds gave it an interesting taste. I'd eat it again but would prefer not to bite down directly on one of the seeds (>▱<)

The hotel, Arcotel Kaiserwasser, looked nothing much from the outside but it was fabulous inside!
Of course I forgot to take pictures of the lobby.. boo. 
It turned out that the rooms booked for us students were twin rooms and so Celine and Charlotte got one room while I shared room with a girl from .. I think it was Slovakia.
There was also a big shower behind the door that I couldn't get a nice picture of because of the angle it was placed in.

The money that we paid for the flight tickets could be returned to us at the hostel. We were so early, though, that the people taking care of it hadn't arrived yet. So after settling down, we decided to go for some lunch. Charlotte had found a Korean food place, which we settled for.

We took a nice walk through a big park, which the restaurant seemed to be placed in.
On our way we walked through a huuuuuuuuge playground! I don't think I've ever been to such a big playground!
Of course we didn't play. Noooo. We're all grown-up.. or something like that.
But of course we did safety tests to make sure that kids wouldn't get hurt playing there.
Yes, that's what we did.
 Charlotte and Celine decided to test out the swings.
And I took pictures of them from the playground tower that I personally tested.. for child protection reasons, of course.

And also this big spinning thingie. It looked super dangerous. We had to test it.

The restaurant looked pretty dead when we got there, but it was the right place, right?
Yes. But of all days to be closed on, it had to be a Monday! (It was Monday)
WAAAAAE?! ლ(ಠдಠლ)

So then we decided to take the U-Bahn back to Stephansplatz. On the subway/train map there was a cathedral symbol here and it was the station right in the middle of the map so naturally this looked like the place to go.
 A bunch of guys/men dressed in colourful, formal attire (and funny hats) were handing out flyers and telling people about an opera that would take place Sunday.
We lingered around the city, mostly looking at cafés since we hadn't eaten since the plane. After exploring a bunch of smaller side streets, we ended up at Café de l'Europe.
The moment we stepped in, we noticed that people were smoking inside, something that has been illegal in Denmark since at least 2007. At least no one was smoking upstairs where we sat down, nor was the stench of cigarettes there.
Our waiter was this Italian looking young man, who tried to make us order in German. We, of course, completely failed at that. 
I had a panini that would probably have been good if it hadn't been for the exessive amount of rucola in it.
 Celine, who was busy taking pictures of our food, had some sort of salad with fish(?)
And Charlotte ordered a salad with two huge pieces of goat cheese.
(but before that, a quick visit to the toilets downstairs and a piece of German/Austrian restroom culture)

Like many people from mainland Denmark, I spent my childhood summers driving through Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with my family to go on vacation in warmer countries like Italy and we have had countless restroom stops in all three countries so this was something I had grown fully accustomed to by now. However, Charlotte, who hadn't been on many of those trips, was surprised to see an older woman with a plate for money, sitting outside the toilets.
From what I understand, these women are often the cleaning ladies and you can give them a little change as a thank you for keeping the toilets nice and clean. Cool? Now you have learned something new today! Okay, let's continue with the food.

Their menu card was 30% food, 60% dessert, and 10% beverages and the dessert part featured desserts looking like spaghetti, pizza, snowmen, and more.
We agreed that today was still vacation (the week leading up to our trip we were off school because of the fall break) and that we should eat like Queens and treat ourselves with some dessert.
Charlotte isn't a heavy eater and went with an ice cream dessert with hazelnut liquor.
Celine went with crepes and I ordered a banana split.
My dessert was the biggest one and I was the last one to finish so Celine kept herself entertained by taking pictures and filming me.

Very full and now also sleepy, we went back to the hotel since Charlotte had read somewhere that we could have the money back between 14.00-20.00.
So, we did, and then we went back to the room to take a break.

Some hours later we had enough energy to go out again. Since we didn't succeed in eating Korean food for lunch, our goal was to have it for dinner.
We took the U-Bahn to Schwedenplatz and found a place called Yori that looked really good! It was was filled with people. There were people drinking wine and waiting in line and there were Koreans standing outside. Celine said that a quick way to tell if an Asian restaurant serves authentic food is to look for Asian costumers. And since there were a lot of Koreans there, it seemed like a great place.
We went in and out and stood in line for a little before we were told that they wouldn't have any available tables before 21.00. 

To be honest 21.00 was fine.
We weren't exactly starving when we booked the table so we decided to take a walk around the city to explore and walk ourselves more hungry.

Having no knowledge about what to look for or look at, we went to a nearby bridge to take it all in.
Sometimes I will have two almost identical pictures and ask people around me which one to use. They'll most often tell me to use the one without a shadow in the corner like in the one below because they see the shadow as a fault. And then I'll go against their advice and pick exactly this one because there's always a story to the little faults - in this case Celine decided to stand in front of my picture to take her own and afterwards push me to ruin mine. Shows something about our friendship.
As we were standing there, enjoying the view, something bright out in the horizon caught our eyes.
A ferris wheel! Judging by its size and distance from us, it look huge!
It only took us a few minutes to decide on it before we went down to the walking path beside the canal and started making our way towards the light.
It was so nice and quiet down there. Kind of like entering a bell jar.
After some time we got to a neighborhood with buildings so tall that we no longer knew which direction to walk in... but we eventually found it.

The wheel was inside an amusement park that at first seemed pretty dead. We were wondering if it was actually open when I began hearing screams.

Walking in the direction of the screams, we came to a dark opening.
There was nothing to keep us out (fences, guards, etc.) so we figured that since we hadn't been stopped yet, we could continue walking closer to the wheel.
The wheel was part of the amusement park but you could buy single tickets for it!
It turned out what we had found was actually the Wiener Riesenrad - one of the oldest ferris wheels in the world!
It seemed like one of the important things to do when visiting Vienna so we grabbed the chance and bought our tickets. 

Before boarding the wheel, we were led into a room with .. I think it was 8 cabin that formed a "wheel of history". Inside the cabins were scenes depicting different historial events in Vienna.
 Eeeey selca!
We were put in a cabin with 4 other people and off we went!
 I also caught the source of the screams on our way up to the top.
 We had a beautiful view over the city!
The other 4 people were grown-up couples and while the oldest woman occasionally made sounds that made it clear that she was afraid to stand up (especially when we leaned against the walls), the other woman thought it was super romantic and took a bunch of selfies with her partner before they began sucking each others' faces.
 Celine pointed out that one of the cabins was equipped with a fancy table where you could have a romantic dinner. There was also another one with lights goings on in different colours that Celine called a party cabin.
 Aaaaand then we reached the top!
It didn't take long actually but I guess the mixed feeling between excitement and fear made it seem longer. It said somewhere that it only took about 15 minutes for one spin.
 Eeeey another selca!
When we came down it was about time we headed back to the restaurant and this time we found a more direct way back.

At Yori we thought we'd be sitting out in the cool area that you could see from the windows but no, we were placed in a room in the back that totally did not look as cool as the restaurant, which was quite a bummer.

They had an aesteticly impressive menu card that seemed to excite both Celine and Charlotte.
We ended up ordering Glasnudeln (잡채),
Gangjeong Huhn (닭강정),
  and Gun Mandu (군만두) as our side dishes.
 For our main dish we had Dolsot Bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥) but without the fresh egg.
 With the bibimbap came kimchi, Eomuk Bokkeum (어묵 볶음), beans (I think fried), a spicy red paste that I don't know what to call, and seaweed soup.
 We had a feast!
After dinner we returned to the hotel and went into our respective rooms to prepare for tomorrow.
And by "prepare for tomorrow" I mean sleep. We were pretty dead by now. 

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