I've got more rolls than a pastry truck...
So, you'd think that after the ball, all of us would be taking it easy and not doing anything for the rest of the weekend, but of course this is all lies. I went to the Hofburg Spanish Horse show, the Karlskirche, the Vienna museum, the Danube river, The Magic Flute, and Shonbrunn palace this weekend. All I'll say is that going to so many places when you're loopy from lack of sleep is hilarious. I'll give a brief run-down of the places, but I actually want to talk about food here!
Okay: The Spanish Horse show was the morning after the ball, so I can't say that I was all attention. In fact, it almost became like Nascar, in that we all got excited when a horse began to buck around. Same goes for the Vienna Museum. There were many cool exhibits, but in my foggy tired state, I got more excited by the small replicas of older Vienna and got to imagining what it would be like smashing them Godzilla-style. The Karlskirche was gorgeous, and I am supremely jealous of my sister who got to sing in there with her high school choir. Well, we'll talk later, because I will just say here and now that the Konzerthaus performance is officially SOLD OUT.
The next day, I went to Shonbrunn palace (see left), which is the Austrian equivalent of Versailles outside of Paris. The grounds were really amazing to walk through, and I couldn't help but wonder if they were so big specifically to give the King a place to hide when unwanted visitors came to his palace. Later, I finally got to see one of my new favorite operas 'The Magic Flute.' To give you an idea of how awesome it is: the first scene involves a 60-foot dragon trying to devour a prince. And it only gets more awesome from there.
I was riding off of the high of having seen something really cool, so I and a friend of mine decided to go find the Danube River (see right). I already learned that it isn't actually blue, more like a murky green, but that made it all the better at night! You can't really see it, but the snow was falling as though we were caught in a snow-globe that had been given a recent shake. Blue or not, I thought it was pretty. All in all, it was a busy weekend, but a very rewarding one nonetheless.
Whew! I know what you're thinking (and if you're not thinking this, just humor me): if you're so busy looking at things, why would you spend so much time thinking about food? The answer: because it is like Mary Poppins--practically perfect in every way.
Some of my friends and I have been admiring the strange fruits that pepper the produce section at the grocery store by the hotel. Whereas we're used to the good ol' strawberry and orange, the fruit there tended to come in wild colors and strange titles (see left). So, one day, we grabbed all the strange fruits we could get our hands on and had a tasting party. We had kumquat, dragon-fruit, some strange spiky fruit, and another that only had the name "Sharon" labeled on it.
We figured we were getting ourselves into some strange territory, but you wouldn't believe how these ended up! Just cutting open the dragon-fruit was an adventure (see right). Looks like a negative of the universe...tastes like honeydew. We also tried the spiky fruit, which had the consistency of an eyeball, but was DELICIOUS and enjoyed Sharon, too. We weren't as huge fans of the kumquats, but figured that it was a fair trade considering the other ones we found.
Another type of food that we've been admiring: CHOCOLATE. Some people said they'll save the chocolate purchases until the very end, but my friends and I figure: we need to sample in order to know what to bring back! We've gathered all kinds of chocolates in order to have more tasting parties, and we've found some pretty good flavors. The Kinder variety is meant for children, but I don't think they should have all the fun. When there's something called "Happy Hippos," how can you resist? I mentioned that I actually went to a church service over here, but I feel like I might be worshipping chocolate the most.
I'm going to have to move away from it for a while now. My mouth is already watering. Yum...
Drinking culture is important over here, along with the eating thing. Coffee houses are everywhere, and seem like more of a meeting place than anything else. We have these in America, it's true, but not quite like over here. Another important drinking culture is the atmosphere of a low-key bar. The word for Vienna is "Wien," and the word for wine is "Wein." So, even the founders had that in mind when putting the place together. We've enjoyed some relaxing evenings with a cup or two, and it's refreshing being able to do that without someone freaking out about a party. Whereas in America, a lot of drinking boils down to getting drunk, it's just a social thing over here.
We still have some more food to explore, but I think that's a good overview for now! I'll hopefully figure out my chocolate favorites in time to bring back more sweets! Our room back in Larsen is going to be a happy room, indeed.