This past week was a little different than the others have been. After my classes on Thursday, I woke up early Friday morning and took the bus to Vienna. The road from Graz to Vienna was absolutely beautiful. The leaves were changing colors which made each windy turn through the mountains even more scenic than the last. Here’s a picture I snatched of one of the many villages I saw along the way.

Once I got to Vienna, I took the subway from the train station to the city center near the hotel where I meet my parents!!! Here’s a picture from later in the week when I brought them to Graz!

They took a trip for a week from New Mexico to come see me and my new home. They had originally planned to drop me off back during the end of August, but things came up and we had a change of plans. They actually decided to come just couple weeks ago, so it was a little last minute, but it really worked out better than we could have ever planned.

They came during a week with perfect weather, and during a holiday, which meant classes were cancelled and I got to hang out with them more. The holiday was “Nationalfreiertag” which is the Austrian Independence Day. Austrians have been celebrating it since 1955 when all the troops that were occupying Austria after World War 2 finally left. Unlike our fourth of July, though, there are no fireworks or parades. People usually celebrate by taking a short excursion to a nearby city, or by going hiking and exploring the mountains nearby. Even though all the stores were closed, the streets were packed with locals and visiting friends, family, and tourists.  Nationalfreiertag wasn’t until the last day my parents were here, though.  Before that, we spent 3 days in Vienna, and then 3 days in Graz.

Here we are in Vienna!

Vienna is a big city with a lot of history and culture. One of the nights we were there, we went to a concert with some opera, classical music, and ballet dancing! During the day, we had a lot of fun wandering the streets, tasting the Viennese Pastries and Coffee, and trying out the local Schnitzel. We went shopping and strolled through the streets on Friday and Saturday, and then on Sunday, when everything was closed, we went over to the famous Schönbrunn Castle. Here is the castle and the gardens. It’s a beautiful huge castle, but not as overwhelming as the Palace of Versailles in Paris. We went through the palace with the audio tour, and then explored the gardens for a while afterwards. The gardens are open to the public with free admission, so there were many locals taking a jog, or sitting on a bench with a friend having a chat.

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens

While in Vienna, we also took a carriage ride around the city center 🙂

After a weekend in Vienna, on Monday afternoon, we got on the bus and headed  towards Graz. I think my parents were surprised at how much there was to do in Graz. It may be a small town, but the streets are packed with people and shops, so it’s never quiet or slow. We went to the farmer’s market, wandered the main center, and my parents even went for a jog along the river one morning while I was in class! I also took them up to the Schlossberg, which is the Graz’s iconic clock tower located at the top of a hill.

Do you see the clock tower in the back?

On their last day in Graz, it was Nationalfreiertag, which is the Austrian Independence Day I was talking about earlier. We discovered that although all the shops are closed on this holiday, all the museums are open and free to enter! We didn’t have much time since we had a bus too catch, but we got to check out the modern art museum. Here is my mom checking out some very interesting abstract art…

More interesting art…

We had some chestnuts and gelato while wandering the streets before they headed back to Vienna that afternoon to fly back to New Mexico.

Thanks for coming Mom and Dad, and I hope to see you again soon 🙂