After a rather grueling amount of flying, we’re here in Austria! I’m taking advantage of my body’s confused circadian rhythm to write this at a nice 6:30 in the morning, having already been up for almost an hour.

We landed at about 8:30 in the morning what feels like a couple of weeks ago, but looking at my calendar1 was actually only a couple days ago. From the airport, we went by the hotel we’d be staying at to drop off our bags – the rooms wouldn’t be ready until later in the day – and then took Vienna’s impressive public transit system to the Austro-American Institute of Education for our initial orientation. Getting there was fun – it’s just a couple of trams away, but because Vienna is Vienna, there’s a lot of stuff to see on the way.2

After the orientation, we wandered around a market for a bit to get lunch3 and then made our way back to the hotel.4 I took a bit of an unplanned nap, and then we were off to dinner at an Italian restaurant a short walk away.5

The next morning we were up, bright and early, and off into a longer trek through Vienna’s public transit system. It’s an impressive system, with a lot of well-developed infrastructure.6 And then we were on the train to Dorfgastein, where I finally got my camera out and started taking pictures, because good lord, look at this.

Seriously, this town is the most ludicrously picturesque thing I’ve ever seen. I mean, look at the hotel we’re in here:

It’s also a tiny little town – there’s a bit of skiing stuff set up, which looks a little bit weird since it’s still nice and warm out and there’s no snow anywhere, but it’s kinda cool to see where the ski slopes are going to be once it snows.

From the train station, it’s just a couple blocks to the hotel we’re at. Super nice weather, although as I’m writing this there’s a beautiful fog outside that has turned the mountains into silhouettes over the town.

One more photo, because we found out that all of our rooms have balconies with awesome views and we’re all pretty happy about it:

That’s about all I’m going to write for today – we had our first bit of German lessons yesterday, splitting into the “advanced”, “intermediate”, and “I have no idea what I’m doing” groups.7 Today we’re going on a hike in a nearby canyon, if I’m remembering the itinerary properly, and then having some more German lessons. Which means I need to head to breakfast soon if I want to make it to the bus on time.

  1. I tried counting backwards myself but it led to a lot of confusion, staring at my fingers, and disbelieving myself, so I went with the calendar.
  2. My camera remained resolutely in my bag until our second day here, because I figured nobody in the group would appreciate pictures of themselves in full “I have been awake and on planes for 30 hours” regalia.
  3. Or breakfast? Or possibly dinner? It was lunchtime here, so I’m calling it lunch, but we were all still in the “time zones are weird” mode.
  4. A few of us made stops at the bank to get money changed into the very colorful Euros, and myself and a couple others went by a T-Mobile store to get SIM cards for our phones.
  5. Spinach and garlic make for a surprisingly good pizza.
  6. Read: they’ve got lots of underground bits, and I love me some tunnels.
  7. Guess which one of those I’m in.

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