October 22, 2007

Schmeckt gut!

If I had to describe this weekend in only one word it would be “indulgences”. Luckily, I am allowed more than one word to elaborate.

On Friday night Christian and I made the long trek to his friend Steffi’s birthday party, who lives all the way on the fifth floor of the same building. This was especially convenient because the weather has been cold and rainy, thus I was one of the only girls who arrived with non-frizzy hair. Steffi studied at the Université de Montréal last semester, so it was nice to see a familiar (female) face. The party was really fun. There were lots of other exchange students there, so both English and German were being used. I spoke French to a French girl who complimented me on my lack of a Québécois accent, to which I replied that I had spent the last two years trying to acquire one. Along with all the exchange students and Steffi’s other friends, Christian’s regular group of guy friends were also there. There are six other boys that pretty much do everything together: Rody, Hammer, Mickey, Bőrnd (pronounced Bernd), Thomas, and BJ. Most, if not all – I’m not sure – have known each other since elementary, and all stayed friends. They are all really nice and have been really welcoming, which continued on Friday night. When we go out with them, I don’t feel like I am just tagging along. Anyway, they were all there on Friday night, although no one else had brought their girlfriends, which was kind of annoying as I crave girl contact. Steffi wouldn’t let anybody leave, so even Christian and I, who had been planning to stay late, left later than we had intended, at 5 in the morning.

The next day’s indulgence started when we woke up, at 1:30 in the afternoon. I won’t bother writing much more about Saturday, except to say that I did all my homework, read Anna Karenina, and didn’t get out of my pyjamas all day. Despite having woken up so late, I still managed to fall asleep around midnight.

Sunday we slept in, but not too late, and got ready to go to the “Buschenschenk” with Bőrnd and Martina, his girlfriend. The Buschenschenk is basically the Austrian wine district, where families have small restaurants on their property where everything they serve comes from their own gardens, farms, and vineyards. I wanted to have the most authentic Austrian Buschenschenk experience, so I ordered a Brettljause: a platter with different kinds of meats, sausages, cheeses, and spreads that comes with a basket of breads. Our bread was so fresh that it was still warm. There was turkey, ham, prosciutto, sausage, meat spread, a garlic tzatziky (sp?) like spread, but thicker than tzatziky, cheese, pickles, peppers, and tomatoes. We drank a Styrian specialty called Schilcher Sturm, which tastes like gourmet Boones. It is an immature wine, but it is opaque, and you can’t seal containers of it or else it will explode, so you have to drink it really fresh. Martina was driving home, so we also ordered a bottle of the house white grape juice that is so sweet that you have to dilute it with water. After the Sturm, we ordered a bottle of white wine to go with our dessert, which was so refreshing after the savouriness of the meats and the sweetness of the Sturm that it might have been the best white wine I have ever tasted. For dessert, Martina ordered two pieces of cake that ended up coming in three separate pieces because they are so big. One was a white cake with marmalade, brown sugar and nuts on top, and the other was a large roll of white cake with marmalade in the middle. I think if we hadn’t left then, we would never have made it out of our seats, so we went for a walk around the vineyard, picking grapes off the vines, and taking pictures of the colourful hills.

While Martina drove home, I fell asleep in the back seat, and woke up beside the apartment building. As soon as we were inside, I lay down on the couch and slept. Two hours later, I was woken up for dinner: cheese fondue. Had it been any other day, I would have been more than happy to eat chunks of baguette dipped in melted cheese and white wine, but on this day, it seemed like a daunting task. But, the picture of graciousness, I struggled through. Of course, it was delicious, but after dinner I walked up 24 flights of stairs to try and make up for the outrageous amount of cheese that I consumed. So ended my weekend of indulgence.

This morning Christian and I biked back to the second hand bike store, where I finally found a pretty, reasonably priced bike. It is a girl’s bike, all white, including the handles, pedals, and the basket on the back. Christian pointed out that it looks like the bike equivalent of an iPod. To get out of the cold rain, we went for coffee and then both biked to our respective schools. Tomorrow I have school at 8 am again, for six hours, and then I have to go to the university to convince various professors that they should let me into their classes, even though they might be full.

I don’t have school this Friday, for a national holiday, so we are probably going to drive to Italy with Christian’s friends. I am really excited for my first international European trip since getting here, and to go to Italy for the first time. It makes up for not getting to celebrate Halloween. Hopefully we will get to move in to our apartment when we get back. Our lease starts November 1st, so we are hoping that they will finish moving out this weekend so that we can start getting our stuff in. I am so excited about everything right now that even non-indulgence days are pretty wonderful.

This isn't exactly the same thing as what we had, but it has most of the same things. The next picture, though, is the exact Buschenschank that we went to, but the grape plants were full of leaves, and there were still some grapes.