A Travellerspoint blog

Mödling


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I've had an interesting week in Mödling, 14km southwest of Vienna. I was teaching Business English - it felt a little surreal, teaching in a secondary school context. I'm used to teaching in private language schools, without the school bell (or rather buzzer) ruling lesson lengths! Six classes a day, five minute breaks between classes, with one ten-minute one; I've never felt so rushed - but the students were lovely, I enjoyed it, and the early start meant an early finish in comparison to that of British schools.

The students' end-of-week presentations all went very well today! They were presenting companies they'd invented, their best-selling product, market research, how they would market them, etc. Of the four from the class I worked with the most, one was exceptionally good, one very good and two good. I felt very proud - a bit like how I imagine parents feel, in fact!

Regarding the town, apparently both Beethoven and Arnold Schönberg lived in Mödling for a while, almost exactly 100 years apart. Schönberg's house is now a house museum, but along with Mödling Museum, it is currently closed for the winter. Oh well. I managed to have a good look round the lovely historic old town. Highlights included the grey heron I spotted in a stream...

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...the old town hall...

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...general street scenes...

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...and the Catholic church of St Othmar, which I found perching on a hill overlooking the town.

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It was gloomy inside, but quite interesting, with some nice stained glass, a candle stand which I made use of, and a Nativity scene surrounded by real fir (or maybe pine) saplings - I thought that maybe they were keeping it up until Candlemas.

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Along one wall there were carved stones which I thought might have been memorial plaques, though I couldn't make out what the pictures carved into them actually were of. Next to the church, on the terrace outside, there was a locked up tower - I found out later that this was a charnel house, so maybe being locked up was for the best!

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I had a good birthday yesterday. Both classes sang 'Happy Birthday' to me in English first thing. I asked them how to say 'Happy Birthday' in German, just to see if I remembered correctly; apparently (in Austria at least) they just say 'Alles gute'.

In the evening we went out to an Asian restaurant, where I had some vegetable gyoza and fried noodles with pak choi. I was too full for pudding, but noticed 'Bambus Schnapps' on the drinks list, so after finding out that it was bamboo, I simply had to try it. It came in a glazed square pot, and to be honest the immediate taste wasn't nice at all. Once that had gone, however, I could really feel a pleasant warmth spread inside me. I've often heard about the warming qualities of certain spirits, but this was the first time I'd actually felt it.

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From the restaurant we moved over the road to a hotel bar. I was thinking of trying another schnapps, if they had an interesting selection, but they didn't have any (a rarity, apparently), so I had a delicious kahlua coffee instead - double espresso, kahlua, coconut syrup and a scoop of walnut ice cream.

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Then we suddenly realised what the time was - 22:10 - and that I was late for my family video chat, so we power-walked/ jogged back in subzero temperatures to the guesthouse.

A very long Flixbus journey tomorrow; I'm staying in Munich for the night before catching another Flixbus to Bregenz on Sunday.

Posted by 3Traveller 01:43 Archived in Austria Tagged birds austria christmas german english_teaching moedling birthday_celebration Comments (0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic Centre of Vienna

The start of a six-week trip through Austria and northern Germany with a side trip to Slovenia and ending in Prague.


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In Vienna for a group induction/ training weekend before moving on to my teaching destination for the next week.

The view from my hotel room:

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Due to the nature of the weekend there wasn't much time to see the city, but very early this morning, after breakfast, I managed a walk into the historic centre. The sun was rising and the sky was clear; one of those fresh and crisp winter mornings I really love. A thrill of excitement ran through me as I walked the almost-empty streets and admired the architecture.

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Once in the inner town I came across a covered pathway with windows showing a yard with white horses looking out of stalls. I realised that they were some of the famous white Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School. While I was watching a girl came round with a wheelbarrow to muck them out.

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When I got to the Stephansdom I went inside, though as a tourist most of it was closed off to me as Mass was just starting.

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I stayed for a bit anyway, looking at the bit I was allowed into and lighting a candle, before exiting and walking round the outside. I'm not too keen on the green, red and black patterned tiled roof, but I like the rest of it. The view from the tower was amazing - definitely worth the climb, which was probably one of the highest sets of spiral steps I've been up!

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There was no time over the weekend to go to any museums, but yesterday evening I went to the historic Seven Stars brewery/pub - definitely a place I'll be returning to when in Vienna in the future! It was very atmospheric inside and the cheese & bacon gnocchi I tried was lovely. There was a list of all the different kinds of schnapps on offer - decided to give them a miss on this occasion but will definitely be giving them a try over the next few weeks!

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Speaking of food, on Friday evening at a different place I had a tasty clear beef broth with a semolina dumpling plus a side of Swabian pasta - I thought it might come with vegetables, but it didn't. Both that and the broth were still really nice, though the broth was smaller than I expected.

When I got back from the historic centre it was time to pack up, check out and head off to the station to my first teaching destination...

Posted by 3Traveller 10:34 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna hotel austria cathedral brewery explorations unesco_world_heritage_site austrian_cuisine Comments (0)

Update on blog: The new chapter

Luton

Edit from April 2019: Although I am writing this now in April, I am dating this entry to this January so that it sets the scene for the upcoming entries which will be about events which happened from January onwards.

This is the first entry of the new chapter of this blog.

All 261 entries previous to this one were originally posted on the Travelpod travel blogging site, which closed down in July 2017. The vast majority of entries were written between May 2013 and August 2015, while I was teaching and travelling abroad and at the actual times I experienced the events I wrote about; only a very small amount of entries I wrote up later, using to help me emails I'd written and photos I'd taken at the original time.

From my return in 2015 until January this year I taught EFL continuously in the UK and also went on some trips abroad (Argentina & Uruguay, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Luxembourg, Italy & Vatican City, Poland, Belgium and Georgia) and within the UK (Scotland, Cornwall, Rochester, Oxford, London, Manchester, Chester, Liverpool, the Peak District, Leicester, Brighton and Birmingham).

In January this year I started a new teaching job, still teaching EFL but within state schools in mainland Europe. Before I left the UK I decided to resurrect my Teaching & Travelling Abroad blog, this time on the new platform of Travellerspoint, to include my upcoming trip and any other future working trips abroad I may do.

As in part one of this blog, I won't post any names or similarly identifying information about schools, teachers or students.

So here goes!

Posted by 3Traveller 03:59 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom english_teaching Comments (0)

Welcome back to the UK

London Luton Airport and St Albans


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The two-and-a-half-hour flight was uneventful, though because I was next to the window and the weather was good I got some great views of the countries we passed over. We didn't go as high as some flights I've taken before. At one point we flew over a huge offshore wind farm - rows and rows of wind turbines off the coast of the Netherlands.

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Shadows were lengthening by the time we got to Luton Airport. Dave, Emma and Mark were there to meet me and take me to St Albans. Seven months since I was last on British soil - it felt strange to be back, but wonderful to see everyone.

Posted by 3Traveller 01:02 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom airport sisters dave st_albans Comments (0)

Goulash, chicken paprikash and a new case

Budapest


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After checking out at 10 I walked down the road to a shopping mall to buy a new big case. I had thought of just wrapping my case in black tape as a temporary measure just to get all my stuff home, but then I thought I might as well just buy a new case, firstly because it would almost certainly be much cheaper than in the UK, and secondly because I thought, what if the case somehow splits open while being moved about by baggage handlers? I'm glad I did buy a new one, because although it doesn't have any outer pockets and isn't quite as wide as my old one, it was only the equivalent of £20 and looked quite strongly built. I got it in a half-price deal.

Once I had bought my new case and returned to the hostel with it, I had to transfer all my stuff from the old into the new. This took absolutely ages because I had a bit less space than before and I was also worried about going over 32kg. I had to rearrange everything, jettison some things I could afford to leave behind, and take out and carry my copper jug, coat and reversible jacket.

By the time I'd finished that, there was no time to go out to anywhere apart from a restaurant for lunch. I found one right next to St Stephen's Basilica that offered a special two courses and 'syrup' deal. The syrup turned out to be a glass of carbonated drink made from elderflower cordial (there were other flavours available, but I wanted to try the elderflower one the most!). It was delicious! For my first course I chose goulash and for the second I had chicken paprikash - chicken in a lovely paprika-laced creamy sauce with vegetables. It also came with a very strange type of pasta mixed with egg - unusual, but tasty!

Only ten minutes after I arrived back at the hostel my shuttle to the airport arrived. The airport was easy to navigate, but it was quite busy and I didn't get time to look round any of the duty free shops which was a shame. I've very rarely actually bought anything from duty free shops, but I still love looking round them, especially the more nationality-themed sections.

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I was carrying my copper jug wrapped up in my coat and reversible jacket; I was afraid that Wizzair might have a problem with it and say it counted as hand luggage (and therefore charge me extra), but nobody said anything. Here we go - my last flight of this long adventure abroad...

Posted by 3Traveller 06:21 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest airport basilica hostel hungary unesco_world_heritage_site hungarian_cuisine Comments (0)

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