Safe to say I’ve been pretty behind on this blogging thing! The end of my semester is near but I still have some documenting to do.

In the second week of may I traveled to Vienna to visit Carli where she is studying! What a treat to see another IB school and see where one of my closest friends has been spending her semester. I flew into Vienna early on the Friday morning and arrived around 9. Because of the early flight I ended up staying in Brussels the night before so that I would be able to catch the train to the airport on time. It was funny because I ended up being late in the morning anyways and had to run through the empty streets at 5:30 am to Brussels north train station. I’m a mess. Anyways, I got to Vienna safe and sound and Carli met me at the airport. Her apartment is just a train ride and a subway away, so we were at her place in no time. A lot of the
exchange students at WU live in the same apartment building, which was interesting for me because in LLN we all live in apartments with the local Belgian students. Her room was a luxury! Nice bed and desk, and her own shower and toilet. Well played Carli :). After dropping my things off we took the day to explore the city. Another one of her friends, Riley, was also visiting and so he ended up coming with us for most of the day as we walked around. From her place, it’s about a 20 or so minute walk to the city center. Luckily we had nice weather so it was an enjoyable walk through town. Vienna is so cute! Very underrated in my opinion. I could easily see it as a nice place to live and study for a little while. It’s comfortable and manageable but still has the city feel. We had some Viennese (? Lol) food for lunch and walked around the city to see all of the major landmarks. We also got to walk through the WU campus, which was astonishing to me in comparison to UCL. It was so modern and nicely structured. Very “big city” and different than what I have in Belgium. Later in the afternoon,we met up with a handful of Carli’s new friends in one of the parks where there was a food and wine festival going on. My kind of atmosphere! It had been a long day and it was so nice to sit in the grass, shoes off, with a good glass of wine under the sun. We passed a few hours this way and it was really nice to meet all of the new friends Carli had made in her semester abroad. After a while, we headed back towards her apartment. We had dinner at Vapiano’s my new favorite Italian restaurant chain. This place is soooo good, and I ended up eating there in Munich, Vienna, and Cologne by the end of the semester! A big bowl of pasta did us in and we headed back to her place for a nap before beginning our night. Well rested a few hours later, we met up with Carli’s two good friends, Brooke and Nadia, and then with a group of other American students for a little pre-drink. We all ended up splitting up a little later on, and us gals went to their favorite bar in their area called Travelshack. It’s everything you would imagine at a “backpackers bar”. Lots of young people from all over the world, good music and such. We ended up having an early night but it had been a great first day!

On Saturday morning I got up and went to the Royal Palace and gardens for some sightseeing. Carli had some school work to do (yes we actually do that sometimes) and so I took a few hours on my own to explore. I took the subway easily down to the Palace and had a great morning! I decided not to pay to do the palace tour, but I walked all around the perimeter and through the gardens. Absolutely beautiful botanical gardens there! I must have started on the side of them, because I spent a few hours wandering, sitting when I wanted, people watching and such. As I was considering leaving I happened across the back part of the estate where there was an entire part that I had missed! Even more extravagant than what I had already seen, there was a huge landscape with a fountain. Up above, perched on the hill, is an old stone structure that you can hike up to and have a view of the palace. Since the number one rule of Europe is to climb every hill, I made my way up to the top to take in the view. It was beautiful! I somehow had wifi up there, so I took a moment to text mom and share my view with her. There is absolutely a certain peace and appeal to exploring solo, but it is equally nice to share it with someone important to you. I leisurely made my way back down the hill and through the gardens back to the subway station. It had been a gorgeous morning! I got off the subway in the city center and did some wandering through the market and streets. Vienna has a massive market that was really nice to walk through. On one end, it is more like a flea market with lots of vendors and trinkets. Once you go down a little ways it becomes a food market with all fruit and vegetables and spices and meat and cheese and restaurants … You get the idea. I walked through and tried all the samples, ate some massive bread and cheese thing, enjoyed myself to the fullest. I think I can conclude that the local markets are one of my favorite parts about Europe. Each one that I’ve seen has been very different from the next, although for me la bouqueria in Barcelona takes the cake. Best place ever. Anyways, after eating to my hearts content I made my way to the main shopping street and had some time going in and out of shops. I treated myself to a new gameday dress and some other things. Vacation is nice! By the time I had tired myself out I headed back to Carli’s apartment to meet up with her for the evening. We had dinner at her place and then got ready for another night out. Back with the group from the night before, we went back to Travelshack and a few other places throughout the night. Vienna has some good night life, we had a great time!

Unfortunately, I had a short weekend, as I had to leave Sunday afternoon. Carli and I had lunch together before she saw me off to the airport. It had been a great weekend!! Thank you Carli for being a wonderful host! It was so nice that we got to see each other in both Munich and Vienna, and nice to see a face from home of course. I made it back to Belgium that night and prepared for the French final I had to take the next day. A few weeks later I got my final grade in and I passed! 14/20 when I needed a minimum of 10 for a pass. I’d say my struggles with French over the semester had paid off, at least a little bit! I was proud of my accomplishment. That was the start of the last week of classes, and as of May 15 I was free before finals. So of course I had planned my next trip. 12 days in Slovenia and Croatia!

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