Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Eve in Vienna

The past two years, New Year's Eve has been quite different from the party of close friends and family which my awesome mother has always hosted.  While I certainly miss the Rock Band jam sessions, Wii sports tournaments, hamburger cheese dip, and sleeping friends sprawled out all over the family room, my new adventures haven't been half bad either ;) Last year we rang in New Year's Eve in Paris   before heading off to London for a few days of England adventure.  This year we found ourselves celebrating New Year's Eve abroad once again, but this time in Vienna, Austria! We were on the road around 8 AM on the 31st, which was nothing compared to our 4 AM departure on our summer adventure. We were in Vienna by  late morning and the weather was incredible! Warm, sunny, amazing! We checked into our hostel, bought some groceries and ate an early lunch before hitting the city for a few hours of exploring.  After the sun went down it got a bit more chilly, so after a glass of Gluhwein we returned back to the hostel to put on a few more layers and have a drink at the hostel bar before heading into the center.  We scoped out a few places and ate some street food before deciding that the park near the Rathaus (City Hall) was the best place for us to see the fireworks.  The area right in front of the Rathaus, with its concert and vendors, also had a fun atmosphere, but was too crowded.  The park was a little less crowded and there was a small stage and a screen which displayed the final countdown to midnight.  Even before midnight the sky was scattered with fireworks here and there, but at midnight the sky absolutely exploded with color, which lasted for a good ten minutes! It was unbelievable and I was grinning from ear to ear! The crowded cheered loudly after the final flash and boom and we decided it was time to pop open the bottle of Советское Шампанское (Soviet Champagne) - made in Kharkiv!!! Between the train, plane, and car, that bottle was full enough of pressure to be considered a deadly weapon.  The plan to pop it open into a bush failed, so I can only hope no eyes were taken out by that plastic cork bullet! Some fireworks were still going off here and there, so we watched those as we laughed, chatted, and made some toasts.  We finished off the bottle and decided to take the metro instead of walk to another part of the city, mostly to warm up a bit. While looking at the map outside of the metro station some girls heard us speaking Russian and started speaking to us.  Turns out they're from Kyiv! So we walked with them for a bit until they were stopping for some pizza and then  continued our walk until we were cold and tired enough to call it a night.

Beautiful sunrise and mountains on the Austrian boarder


New Year's Eve fun started early in Vienna



Vienna Opera House



Gluhwein (Mulled Wine)
:)
Rathaus New Year's Eve Celebrations

Happy New Year!

The next day our roommates, who had been asleep when we got back, were up and on their way fairly early.  We slept a little longer than them, but not terribly late.  We had a nice big delicious breakfast at the hostel and then headed to the apartment we had booked for the next two nights.  We had planned to take a trip to Bratislava, but a few missed turns later we decided that it was better to hold that one off for the next day when we could leave in the morning and not have to worry about the quickly setting sun.  Instead we enjoyed a lovely afternoon and evening in Vienna, stopping inside for coffee when we got too shivery.
Wednesday, was therefore, our day in Bratislava and after some brief rain in the morning the sun even peaked out at us for a little bit.  Bratislava isn't a very big city, but it's historic and beautiful and I'm always happy when there's a castle to climb up! We didn't, of course, enjoy having to buy a vignette for only a few minutes on the Slovakian highway, but at least it was better than having a run-in similar to the one in Romania! Back in Vienna we had another lovely and final Vienna evening of walking, coffee, and street food.

Hanging out in Prater

Famous Ferris Wheel in Prater



Hey there Slovakia!


Central Square in Bratislava

Too cute!
Hey look, I found the American Embassy!




On top of the castle


More downtown Bratislava
Inside the castle complex

I'm sure English-speaking tourists are often amused by this chain of book stores
Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna
 And then just like that it was 7:50 Thursday morning and we were on the road back to Germany for a short stop in Hilpoltstein before a train ride back to Munich.  I gave Mario's parents the gifts from me and the card and chocolates from my mom.  She had written the card in German and they were certainly surprised! High five to mom for brushing up on her German and making that lovely surprise! I think Mario's mom has been working on her English because I felt like we could communicate better than last time I visited.  As you can imagine, being the foreign girlfriend who doesn't really understand German so well can be a little awkward sometimes.  But we make it work and Mario translates when necessary. "I found on the internet Chelsea McShurley Reach the World.  You wrote some article about your life in Kharkiv," Mario's mom says to me while we're eating lunch. "Oh, yeah, my Reach the World Blog," I smiled, caught off guard, and told her about the project.  I guess someone was curious ;) That's okay, I don't mind if she reads it! Even though it's for the kids, it's still a public blog and anyone has the right to read it.
By the time we got back to Munich it was a little before eight, so we stopped by the grocery store and then spent the rest of the evening hanging out at home.  And the best part - I didn't have to get up early the next morning to catch a plane back to the USA like last year! I'm here for a little over two weeks more.  In addition to some time to relax and get some things done that I just haven't had the free time for until now, I will be spending my mornings taking a German course and attempt to remember the German I learned this summer. Even though Mario is really busy with his studies, it's still good that we can be together for a few weeks and when he's in Kharkiv it will be my turn to be the super busy one.
I can't help but think about the fact that, being that it was our second new year's together, this is the first time I have been in a relationship long enough to celebrate the same holiday together twice.  Yep, it's been just over 17 months since that weekend in Lvov when those first kisses were shared in the early hours of the morning and it appeared that our summer friendship was a little something more.  And even though the distance isn't always so fun, I guess love makes you do crazy things.  So here's to a great year of much happiness and love and many more magical New Year's celebrations!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic trip so far. That's awesome that you took a bottle of Sovietskoye with you! :p

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