It is hard for me to refrain from talking too much about my semester in Vienna, Austria. I mean, sometimes I annoy myself when I ramble on about it. But in a series about favorite college memories, I cannot ignore this time in my life.
Living in Europe was the best experience of my life this far, and I can’t believe it has been THREE YEARS since I boarded a plane bound for London. Still, I get homesick for the streets of Vienna and all the wonderful places and people I loved.
Even though the entire trip was fantastic, I want to highlight a few moments that really made the experience for me. I could probably write a book about all the stuff I loved, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet on le blog.
1. The Valentine sisters take Europe
I am not even sure how it all started. One minute we were planning our trip, and the next we decided we should make up fake names and assume identities that rival the best Mary Kate and Ashley movie. Thus, the Valentine sisters were born. Roxie (Alex), Lil (Lindsey), Riley (Laura), and Chloe (me) Valentine, to be exact. That set the tone for our 14 day trip through France, Spain, and Switzerland.
I promise you I have never laughed harder than the two weeks I spent with these girls. From peeing on the Eiffel Tower (yes, I said ON the tower), to singing The Cranberries and crying, there was never a dull moment.
2. Dinners at the Castle
Starting at almost the first of our time in Vienna, our group decided to take turns cooking dinner each week for a cheaper and fun alternative to eating out all the time. Our castle dinners got pretty elaborate at times. The pic above is our Harry Potter Halloween party, where everyone came as a character. My personal favorites were Lezlie as the Whomping Willow and Lindsey as Crookshanks.
The dinners weren’t really that big of a deal but they served as a way for all of us to bond. We really were like family after the trip was over and part of that was because we spent so much time together. I think one of the best things about food is its ability to bring people together, and that was certainly the case for our group.
3. Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt
Fall is always one of my favorite season and the days leading up to Christmas are like a drug to my system. I get embarrassingly excited, much like a Christmas elf or something.
Here is a little tidbit that everyone needs to know: Christmas is way more magical in Europe.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there is better Christmas weather (at least, better than Oklahoma’s). Secondly, Thanksgiving doesn’t get in the way of starting the Christmas season. You can just jump right in whenever you feel like it.
And third, they have traditional Christkindlmarkts.
These are like a winter wonderland, just as I imagine the North Pole would be. People are selling chestnuts roasting on an open fire (hello, it is just like the song!), and Kinderpunch, and ornaments, and nutcrackers. If you are lucky, it will snow while you are there and you will think you are in some Christmas song. It is so magical and happy.
The coolest part about the Rathaus Christkindlmarkt is that the entire building is one giant Advent calander. Each day a new picture appears in one of the windows and it is always very exciting.
So if you are thinking about going to Europe, try to go in December! And go with the right people, because that makes all the difference.