New Year

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January 2nd 2011
Published: January 2nd 2011
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At last I am able to catch up. Have been away from my computer for a few days.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were unbelievably cold here.....minus 17 I think! But deceptively blue and clear. The Irish lawyer in my class wanted to go and have lunch and book tickets for the opera that night. Against my better judgement, I went along with him. We shared a substantial size typical bavarian dish in a brewery and a beer. After that I fell asleep for a couple of hours.

Waking at 5.30pm I realised that I had to rush to the shops to buy the makings for a pavlova as i had undertaken to make one for a class party and also a Japanese girl who has spent 2 years in new Zealand wanted to learned. This time I remembered to check the dictionary first...cream of tartar wasn't there. But my computer has a translator and it came up with something! I rushed carefully ( on account of the ice) to the supermarket but could not find it or cornflour. Saved! i could not make a pavlova. That was one less thing on my list of things to do.

There was my Irish friend, waiting to go to a performance of Lohengrin. Luckily only five minutes' careful walk away. We went as we were in casual attire, but everyone else was dressed up really posh! Some women in stiletto heels. I have no idea how they manage unless they swap from snow boots on arrival.

It was a magnificent production. A chorus of 60....imaginative, elaborate and a touch irreverent. Quite spectacular. The Lohengrin was a young Korean who has adopted the first name Enrico. Must be a Bugs Bunny Fan. Or perhaps Caruso. Apparently Enrico was a student here as Horizonte last year.

Before I went to bed i had a couple more runs through my presentation which was due for Thursday. All my past students whom I have nudged through presentations would be highly amused to see me labouring over a presentation. I guess my German is about as good as the better students in my AMES classes over the past year, or Insearch AEP 8. The topic, of course, was Australia. I had prepared the script the previous week and had it checked and even bought new software for my computer for the powerpoint ( Mac keynote! I highly recommend it) . The hard part was explaining about the World Heritage listing of the Tasmanian Wilderness, and of course about marsupials. I kept the stuff about AFL simple as that was all I was capable of but since everyone else present were mad soccer fans I thought they would be interested in the similarities and differences.

The scary thing was that the teacher had got excited and invited another class as well and some others. However, it all went really well. The funny thing was that it was a long term students birthday and so we held a party before my presentation....Bavarian traditional delicacies and beer! at 11.30am!!! Needless to say I only had an eggcupful.

After class I had to change rooms. I have been in a double room for the past three weeks, but it was needed this weekend for two newly arrived girls from Argentina. As well as that I wanted to go to Salzburg for the weekend but had not had time to book. So amidst the moving and packing I jumped online and luckily managed to get a room. I had tried a month ago and been unsuccessful, it being New Year. However, I got lucky and I found a room at the Sheraton, but it was not cheap. However, this was my only weekend to go. So... off I rushed to the station. Only a couple of hours to get there.

I couldn't believe my luck. Not only was the hotel in the loveliest location, overlooking the city and the fortress atop the mountain, but in front of it was the Schloss Mirrabel Gardens full of snow-encrusted tress in the foreground! And my room was high up in the centre. Perfect. (see facebook for photos)

I preferred to stay in a hotel and particularly on NYE I wanted to be in a place with a couple of restaurants as everything would be either booked out or closed. I was so lucky. There was a gala dinner in the main restaurant with lots of people all dressed up. They even had one of those huge pyramids of champagne glasses that you see in movies. But there was a "lesser" but still special dinner in the bistro. I was marvelling at the two female waiters in the bistro who spun round serving everyone with perfect English, Italian or German. At one stage the head one asked me whether i preferred to speak German or English! I replied that since i was the one who needed the practice more than she did, that perhaps we had better speak German.

I returned to my room about 10pm and read a book, anticipating that I would not be able to sleep through the fireworks. The germans seem to take NYE very seriously. and have lots of interesting customs. They are allowed to buy fireworks for two days beforehand. Apparently the government tries to warn people against buying cheaper, Chinese made ones as they have a bigger explosion. They mainly use rockets, which were constanlty being fred all evening. There were hundreds of Italians in camper vans parked in all the parking lots of the city. It must be more exciting here than there. I had a spectacular view of the firewors from my window and even my bed. Some of the wait staff from the hotel were given fireworks to let off in the gardens down in from of the hotel.

Next morning I set off to pay my respects to Mozart, visiting his birthplace and the apartment where he lived later with his family. A great way to start the New Year....walking around the old city, standing in those rooms, looking at the violin he played and the claviacord. Thrilling.

After that I went up to the fortress Hohensalzburg on the Mönchsberg, high above the city. And more wandering around the old city. It wasn't too cold. In the afternoon I wanted to go to a performance in the Mozarteum. I had to wait till 2.30 when it opened to buy a ticket. It was a New Years Day festive performance by the Camerata Salzburg. Lots of fun. Rather similar to the famous one broadcast from Vienna. The entire orchestra was in a jolly mood, wearing colourful ties and scarves. Lots of Austrians were in traditional attire and seemed to comprise the majority of the audience. There was a really sweet couple in their 80s sitting next to me holding hands! I was surprised to see them at the table next to me at dinner later. Turned out to be French. The maitre d' was hovering. He must have been the designated French speaker on the staff.

Next morning I had booked to go on the "Sound of Music" tour visiting many of the locations from the movies. A bus full of tourists (50 or 60) and for once more Australians than Americans. I guess the value of the Aus and US $s is having an impact. It was a great tour. I would happily do it again in the warmer weather.

In the afternoon I wandered happily around, getting a feel for the lovely old city.


2nd January 2011

Finally have cuple of days just for me! I love reading about your time on the old continent. ''Speisestaerke" I belive is cornflour you will ned for the pavlova.
2nd January 2011

Finally have cuple of days just for me! I love reading about your time on the old continent. ''Speisestaerke" I belive is cornflour you will ned for the pavlova.
3rd January 2011

NYE Blog
Once again a real treat to read your blog. You certainly aren't wasting any time--like Ryan who has surfed & partied non stop since he reached Sydney. At least he was there with the family for Christmas including.Adrian, Mikey& Elizabeth + Kerry. Also he went with the Sparks & me on C&S's wedding anniversary dinner at Bilsons. The kids were in great fom & obviously enjoyed each other's company--something you don't see at home as they are coming &/or going too quickly.Poor Elizabeth has hurt her knee so won't be staying at the Sparks--too many steps, which has become such a problem for me that I'm thinking it's time for knee replacements. All OK as Amy is taking Jessie back to Maitland. She (dog) gets on well with Minimont.Had A good NYE progressive dinner party with S & C's friends. One lap was orienteering through the bush. I skipped that onr & drove to the others. Love, Helen

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