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Travel Blog J-term 2014 Austria

Final Entry

Jan 26, 2014

Adam Tackett
January 23, 2014

The morning class was followed by a business and economics lecture from Mr. Pumberger, a native Austrian who was a very interesting individual. He had studied in numerous countries over the years and he even played soccer! In his lesson I learned that America has actually had a longer history of economic stability than Europe, which surprised me at first, but after he went on further it made more sense. He also informed us that Austria has had free healthcare since 1889, and also has had free education for a long time. They also give their people an allowance of 250 euro a month for each child, which is crazy! They also have guaranteed state pension upon retirement (what the state provides for them makes America look pretty bad a lot, if my dad heard this I think his jaw might drop). The great depression I found out, also hit Austria as well; unemployment went from 3.2% in 1920 to 27.2% in 1933, which made it much easier for the Third Reich to step in. Once they stepped in unemployment almost dropped to 0%, you hear me right, 0%.

During the Second World War however, nearly 20% of buildings in Vienna were destroyed by bombs, and nearly every train and main street was destroyed or unusable. In today’s Austria, nearly everything is financed by Social Security taxes; and, depending on one’s income, up to 50% of one’s income is taken by taxes. The people of Austria accept this however, because they get a guaranteed great pension upon retirement, healthcare, and an allowance for starting a family (sounds like a good deal to me). Something about Austria that probably not a lot of people know: Austria's GDP (a measure for a country's economy) is actually second in all of Europe, narrowly behind Germany. One of the last little fun facts I learned from him, is that Red Bull was started here in Austria (no wonder it is only 1.29 euro for a normal sized can), I might just have to stock up before I leave.

Day Twelve

Jan 22, 2014

Paige Schortgen
Saturday, January 18

Taking on any city in just three days can be an overwhelming task. In order to make the most of our time in Budapest, Hungary, classmates presented their research on significant sights as we visited each monument. After a full morning and afternoon of walking and taking public transportation from sight to sight, the group was able to relax in centuries-old hot spring baths.

Budapest is closer to what I expected a European city to be like than Vienna. I was pleasantly surprised that the buildings are not as close together in Budapest as they are in Vienna. I think it is easier to appreciate the architecture of each individual building when there is space between them.  I also enjoyed the many beautiful views that the hills of Budapest provided. 

Day Eleven

Jan 20, 2014

January  17, 2014
Hilary Rowland

Journey to Budapest

 Today we traveled to Budapest, Hungary by the Austrian Railjet, which is their high-speed train. It was many of the students first time on any long distance train ride and many of us enjoyed the smooth and comfortable train ride there.

Once we arrived, I noticed an immediate culture difference from the Viennese as we entered the city; the people in Budapest were loud, which was a surprise because for two week we have experienced the quiet and reserved behavior of the Viennese.  As we continued to venture into the city, I couldn’t help but feel more comfortable and that despite the different architecture, Budapest felt more like an American city.

 Later we met two couples from Hungary, who were so very friendly and it really gave me the impression that Hungarians are warm and welcoming people. We discussed so many topics with them, and all the while eating delicious, traditional Hungarian food.  Later one of the Hungarian’s, Greg, who was a former Otterbein student, gave us a quick tour of the lively streets of Budapest, which again was a change because our part of Vienna is so traditional and Budapest seemed to be so modern.  We have only been here one day and I am already in love with the people and the city. If only we could stay a little longer in Budapest.

Day Nine

Jan 16, 2014

Doug Lizak
January 15, 2014

Today’s Vienna adventure was really jam-packed!  We started out our day watching the stallion training at the Spanish Riding School.  After lunch, most of us went to the Kunsthistorisches art museum to check out all of the paintings and sculptures, Titian, Caravaggio, Breughel, Rubens, Rembrandt, the amazing collection of the Habsburg emperors through the centuries .  Next we stopped at the Vienna parliament building. Here we learned all about the building and the processes that usually go on within.  

Our final stop of the day was at the Vienna natural history museum.  It was filled with tons of earth samples, animal models and taxidermy, and fossils.  Even though the day was was tiring, I still had a blast.  I just hope that the adventures continue, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem.

The class is walking to the Kunsthistorisches art museum.

Welcome to Parliament!  Fun fact:  Each one of those pillars weighs 16 tons!

Hanging out with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum!


Day Eight

Jan 14, 2014

Sadie Jones
January 14, 2014

Today we visited the Belvedere ( “beautiful view”) Palace where we saw Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” This Baroque style palace was once home to Prince Eugene and later Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  This was also where the signing of the State Treaty, which reestablished Austria as a sovereign state, occurred in 1955.

Belvedere Palace (Photo credit: Sadie Jones)

We also visited the Schmetterlinghaus, or the Butterfly House, which was built during the Art Nouveu period. It houses unique tropical plants and butterflies. The 80 degree temperature was a nice change from the cold weather!

(Photo credit: Adam Tackett)

(Photo credit: Adam Tackett)

                We also stopped by the famous giant Ferris-wheel,  Riesenrad, located in the Prater amusement park. Because the amusement park was closed for the season, it gave off an eerie vibe. I was actually waiting for zombies to come running out, like in the movie “Zombieland.”  

(Photo credit: Megan Ott)

(Photo credit: Megan Ott)

Day Seven

Jan 14, 2014

January 13
Blake Jones
Much of the day was spent resting and recuperating. After staying out for more than 6 hours dancing at the ball for the University of Business and Economics we were exhausted. I ventured out today only out of necessity for food and drink. The nearby transit station underground "food court" is one of the first places we were taken to eat on our arrival in the city so it seemed fitting that I would travel there to look for nourishment. There is a bakery stationed right at the end of the escalator that offers sandwiches, snacks and donuts. Experiencing new delicacies in Wien is starting to broaden my horizons. I am hoping to get up the courage to try liver dumplings.

Days Five and Six

Jan 13, 2014

Sarah Hayes
January 12, 2014

Last night we went to the Vienna University School of Finance and Business’s ball in the Hofburg Palace.  It was so much fun.  The palace was beautiful and it was really fun to see everyone dressed up.  We went into the main ballroom and waited for the opening dance and procession of dignitaries to begin.   Then we explored the palace.  Every room had a band or orchestra and a different type of music.   We tried some swing, a couple waltzes, and many other typed of dances.  We also spent a lot of time in the disco room that was playing more current pop music.  The disco room was a lot of fun; they played a lot of different types of songs from different eras and in different languages.  There were a surprising number of popular American songs.

We also participated in the quadrille which is similar to a line dance in which everyone goes out on the floor and the announcer calls out what to do.  We had a lot of trouble with it because the directions were in German and there were so many people on the floor that there was not much room.  For the second quadrille a couple of us made friends with some German people who knew what they were doing and they helped teach us how to do the dance.  We all had a lot of fun but the ball started at 8:00pm and by about 2:00am everyone’s especially the girl’s feet hurt a lot so some people started to leave but there was a group that made it until 5:00am when the ball was over.  The ball is probably going to be one of my favorite experiences from this trip even though we are all going to need to sleep through the next day to recover.

The Ball of the Vienna Economics University held in the Imperial Palace, the Hofburg

Jan 13, 2014

Lyle Barkhymer
January 12, 2014

The tradition of balls in Vienna during pre-Lenten “Fasching” carnival goes back hundreds of years to the Congress of Vienna and beyond.  It was not only a cultural experience by great fun to participate in a student ball this year at the Ball of the Vienna Economics University held in the Imperial Palace, the Hofburg.  The evening began with the ceremonial entrance of the Inaugural Committe, men in tails, ladies all in white, and their choreographed waltz   When the master of ceremonies announced, “Everybody waltz,”  we all gave it a good go, thanks to advance prep by Otterbein’s Jon Devlin.

Allyson Eldridge, Kendall Jackson at Ball of Econ Univ. in Hofburg Palace

Blake Jones and Paige Schortgen at Viennese Ball

Disco time!

Doug, Sarah waltz Viennese at Hofburg

Opening of the Econ Univ Ball at the Hofburg

Megan Ott is amazed by Vienna architecture.  

The amazing view from the South Tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Day Four

Jan 13, 2014

Allyson Eldridge
January 10, 2014 

We went to the breathtaking Schönbrunn palace in Vienna today. We took the tour of the inside, learning all about Empress Maria Theresa. There was a room for every occasion and then some. The inside was interesting and beautiful, but it did not compare to the view of the palace from the outside. We were able to climb the hill in the back of the palace. At the top of the hill, you could look down and see the entire palace with the city surrounding it. There have been a lot of memorable moments in Vienna, but that was one that I will truly never forget.

Day Three

Jan 13, 2014

Kim Cutshall
January 9, 2014

Museum of Applied Arts (MAK)

Well, it’s the end of day three here in Vienna, and I’m happy to say the jetlag seems to have finally worn off.  Today was an a art day for us, as we began with a presentation by Dr. Benesch with dueling art works that showed the contrasts found in painting in the beginning of the 20th century.  Dr. Eugster then whisked our group off to the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK).  MAK was unlike any museum I’ve ever been to, featuring a variety of handcrafted pottery, dishes, lace, and furniture from the Wiener Werkstätte around 1900.  My favorite room was what I call the “chair room” where there was an assortment of bentwood chairs lined up on either side of the corridor behind a white screen.  A light placed behind each chair made a silhouette on  the screen, making the room itself into a piece of art.

We had some free time to work on our group projects in the afternoon, and then we went to the Volksoper.  Tonight we saw Johann Strauss’s A Night in Venice, a lighthearted and fun production that I enjoyed.  Although it was difficult to follow the plot (in German, and the captions were not a word-for-word translation), the music was wonderful.  I was impressed by the set design, and I loved the humorous additions when random figures would pop up in the ocean background—from mermaids, to yachts, to topless old men fleeing from sharks.  Whether you understood the words or not, the overall production was something that everyone could enjoy.

Day One and Two

Jan 13, 2014

Kendall Coffman
January 7th

Boarding the Columbus Airport on a cold Monday afternoon I had no idea what to expect of the next 24 hours. I was heading into an unknown area far from where I had ever been before, Vienna, Austria.

After three planes and over 22 hours of travel we finally made it to the ancient monastery where my fellow Otterbein students and I would be staying for three weeks. Day one was a roller coaster ride of emotions along with physical/mental struggles. Since I was only able to get thirty minutes of sleep total the day felt like a century, but we had to continue to stay awake to fight the intense feeling of jetlag. We joined forces with Dr. Eugster (A Viennese professor) to give us a small tour of the center of the city. Vienna is full of mind-blowing architecture and creative designs.

I felt fearful as I navigated the city since I know very little German, but I was thankful to find out that most Viennese people speak English. I am very excited to continue this journey and make new memories with the great people who are on this adventure with me.



Day Two
Jimmy Costin
January 8th

Today we had our first class session  up on the fourth floor of the Benediktushaus. The topic  was the history of the Schottenstift, and we learned  basic information about the Schottenstift before we took a wonderful tour of this monastery that we are staying in during our time in Vienna. During the tour of the Schottenstift we saw many interesting things like the crypts of the founder in the 12th century, Duke Henry II, and many other famous people and monks  

We were lucky enough to get to see and hear the monks pray the Midday Office as well as get to talk to Father Sebastian, one of the monks afterward. During our time with him he said something that stuck with me.  When talking about his teaching philosophy, he stresses “The right to know, but freedom to believe."

After our tour of the Schottenstift we had a little break before we walked the Ringstrasse, which translates to the ring street. The ring street is one of the main roads in Vienna and it circles the city. During the walking tour of the Ringstrasse we saw Parliament, Vienna University, Capital building, the palace, rose garden, and the opera house. Each student had previously researched each subject and spoke a little about each building.   Each building was significant in a special way to the city of Vienna and their history. After walking the Ringstrasse most students were still dealing with jetlag and took a nap before going to dinner with Viennese students.

Later that night we went to dinner with eight students from the Vienna University at the traditional restaurant "Melkerstiftskeller.". Everyone was quiet at first because of  waking up from their naps, but after awhile everyone started waking up a little more. We learned a lot about their daily life and were able to ask questions about our group projects. We had a nice traditional meal as a group and had lots of laughs and conversation before the night ended. 

Church of the Schottenstift

Duke Heinrich II

Seminar Room