The last two weeks of November have been busy in the best possible way. My parents came to Austria for 10 days, half of which we spent in Vienna and the other half in Graz. It was so good to see them and show them around Austria and where I have been living for the past two and half months. Their visit allowed me to experience a different side of Austria (I call it Austria with money!), but also allowed me to play tourist with them back in Graz. While I realize how fortunate I am to have my parents able to visit me and that not everyone who goes on exchange will have this opportunity, in general I think it is a great thing to have friends or family visit. On the one hand, you see things through their eyes, and realize how much you have become normalized in your new environment. Having visitors also helps ward of any homesickness that usually sets in after a couple of months.
Some highlights from my parents stay:
Austrians do food and wine very well. I would argue from my experiences that the local food, or traditional Styrian food in Graz is way better than most of the traditional German food I have sampled. Highlights included dining at the top of the Schlossberg in Graz (at the very originally named restaurant Schlossberg), where I had the best dessert plate of all time, and indulging in some amazing Austrian wines
2) Museums galore
Vienna is a museum city. During our 4 day stay we went to at least one museum a day. The art and history of Vienna is truly impressive, and some of my two favourite artists’s (Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele) major collections can be found in Vienna. It was nice to step back from my daily routine in Graz and spend a few days appreciating the culture and architecture of Vienna.
3) Mini-road trip
I have been fortunate enough to make Austrian friends here who have a car and are willing to drive me to places outside of Graz. Since I don’t have a driver’s license, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to have my parents rent a car and go on day-trip. We drove along the famous Styrian wine road; although the wine season is long over, you could still appreciate the huge vineyards, tiny villages, old castles, and stunning landscape.
I am gearing up for two last trips before I go back home in three weeks. I am spending this weekend in Prague with my cousin and her fiance, and visiting an old friend of mine in Cologne the following weekend. November has gone by so quickly, and I know that my last three weeks here will also go by in a flash…