The First Week
After two great weeks in Germany, I finally made my way to Salzburg: my new home for the next 3 months. Since I am here for a Study Abroad, classes did start this week. All of the American students here for the semester are taking a two week German orientation course. Even though we’ve been having four hours of class each day with lots of homework, I’ve seen a lot this week!
Here are some highlights from my first week in Salzburg:
The Dorm: I was placed into a dorm building about a 10-minute bike ride from the city center. The building is pretty quiet right now because the official University of Salzburg semester doesn’t start for another week. It’s only a matter of time before the building is full of students! The room I’m in is the best dorm room I’ve ever seen! My roommate, DK, and I have our own bathroom and shower, and every single dorm room has a balcony! Since there aren’t dining centers at the University of Salzburg like there are at Iowa State, we have to cook our own meals, so the balcony is a great place to eat and hang out with my dorm mates. The kitchen balcony has a great view of the Salzburg fortress:
Hohenwerfen Castle: On Saturday we (the AIFS program students) went to the Hohenwerfen Castles, a fortress on a hilltop next to the Salzach river. There was a falconry show with a couple falcons, a bald eagle, a type of European eagle, and a vulture! The fortress is around 900 years old, and it was once used as a prison. We visited the torture chamber and the drop of doom. The drop of doom is a prison cell where the only entrance or exit is a hole in the top of a nine-meter-tall room. There is no way to escape because the walls are 4 meters thick! Apparently, one man spent seven years in this cell for supplying armor and weapons to the Protestants. We also went to the top of the clock tower which is the highest point of the fortress. There is a four-ton bell that was cast in Innsbruck in 1568, and the transport from Innsbruck to Hohenwerfen took a whole year!
Postalm Plateau: Today, Sunday, we went on a hike around the largest Alpine plateau in Austria, Postalm. We hiked a couple miles to a peak of the plateau and ate our lunches there. Like any hike in the Alps, there were some great views! We hiked down towards a Gasthof where we passed some of the grazing cows, and at the Gasthof I got a glass of fresh alpine milk! After that we hiked to the little chapel, and there was a thanksgiving mass going on. The mass was outside because the chapel is tiny, and I listened to the Gospel, homily, and Eucharistic prayer before we had to leave. It was amazing to experience a mass in the middle of such a beautiful landscape, and someone told me that there is only one mass a year at this chapel. I was so happy to be there for part of it!
This week has made me so much more excited for the next twelve. I’ve met a lot of great students from the US, and I’m getting excited to meet Austrian students when their semester begins! Next week I finish my German orientation course, and my other classes will start the following week.