Author Archives: Pesak_Krisztina

The Last Day of the Course

Today was the last day of the German course. We had a short test and were learning more about genitiv. It won’t be my favorite 🙂
In the test I only had a few mistakes, mostly because it is hard to remember all these words. This is why I started to watch TV, I recognize the words there and I remember them easier then.

I really liked the course, it is very detailed, our teacher answered all our questions and was patient with us. The location was excellent, easy to reach, close to the Mariahilferstraße.
It is great that I see every day that I improve. I speak better, I understand the people more. Even my husband noticed that.

The course is over so this is my last post, have fun and good luck with German!

(This is a double rainbow over Vienna yesterday)

Cemetery of the Nameless

Cemetery of the Nameless – Friedhof der Namenlosen.
It is a very small but special cemetery in Vienna. The bodies buried here were washed up by the nearby river Danube because of the strong currents of the river, however it changed when the Vienna Harbour was built. Most had drowned in it, many had committed suicide.
They could not be buried in the Zentralfriedhof because of religious reasons.
It has two parts, the old one is abandoned and completely overgrown today – it was flooded frequently, so they opened another part which can be visited today.

It has a special atmosphere and a little chapel. It is a little tricky to find, hiding in an industrial part behind a new dock and huge grain silos. It is definitely worth a visit. It can be reached by bus 71 from Enkplatz, until the stop Wien Hafen. Then it is about 10 minutes on foot, in the industrial area. (Please check the exact location before you go, we managed to get lost first time)

Online Deutschkurs

Deutsch Akademie offers us a free tool to practice wherever we are and whenever we want. This is the online course, which is available through their website:

http://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/english/

It offers more than 20.000 grammar and vocabulary exercises, forums where teachers answer our questions and clear explanation of grammar rules. The exercises are organized according to different levels and the course book so it can be a great supplement for the course.

When you click “practice German” it offers you three choices depending on what you would like to do. You can select by your level or by grammar topic. It is really easy to use and can be very helpful to improve your German.
When the questions appear, you choose the solution and it immediately shows if you made a good decision or not.

I find practicing crucial. I started to talk but I am still very slow and shy – this is what can be improved by practicing on a daily basis. Watch TV, read a book, use the online course and you will improve day by day.

Café Hawelka – a Traditional Place

Vienna’s coffee house culture is one of the UNESCO’s intangible world heritages. Coffee houses have a very special atmosphere “where time and space are consumed but only the coffee can be found on the bill”.

Café Hawelka is a traditional Viennese place in the heart of the city, close to the Stephansdom. It was originally opened in 1939 but, due to the war it had to close. In 1945 it reopened and it is open since then – like time has stopped there, it is a piece of history.

We wanted to go there because there is a famous Austrian song about it which was very popular when he was a kid and even before. Well, I can’t say anything, I wasn’t in Austria back then 🙂
This is the song:

It is really traditional, the way it looks, the service, the old pictures on the wall, the magazines on the table, the simplicity of the menu. Coffee is excellent, the Sacher is delicious but I prefer it at Sacher 🙂 Service is quite slow but the atmosphere worth it. Take your time 🙂

Weekend tip – Kahlenberg

Vienna is partially situated and surrounded by the Vienna Woods, which was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is a designation for areas with a special natural and historical landscape. A world city partially in a Biosphere Reserve, not bad, right? 🙂

The Wienerwald provides a habitat for 2000 plant and 150 bird species, and a lot of endangered animals. With its network of marked walking and hiking paths it is a popular recreational area. It can be easily reached by public transportation from Vienna.

The most popular destination in the Wienerwald is the 484 m high Kahlenberg. It is also because of its stunning view to the whole city. Really, you can even see the Stephansdom, or in clear weather even the Schneeberg, from where Vienna’s excellent tap spring water is coming from. The top can be reached in about 3-4 hours on Vienna’s City Hiking Trail 1. It starts at Nußdorf at the final stop of tram D. If you just want to see the view without hiking, take bus 38A from Heiligenstadt and it will take you to the top.
On the top there are a few cafés with excellent views and reasonable prices.
The way down is different and passing by little vineyards and local restaurants, called Heuriger or Buschenschank. Their ham and cheese plate is really delicious!

 

End of the Third Week

Time flies, today we arrived at the end of our third week. The next one will be the last for B1.1, then we can start B1.2. I will definitely continue and take a break in August maybe.

I see how much we could improve in a few weeks. Now we can ask help and recommendations in a store, talk about different opinions or write a complaint letter, even a presentation.
Every class we practice a lot and talk more and more. We were even learning about one of my favorite topics – pets.

Our group is great and every day we know a little bit more about each other by talking about exciting topics. I never thought that learning German can be fun 🙂

German is a very difficult language if you want to speak it well. I started to read a book, the “Little Prince”, and it is a very good practice. When I was learning French, My teacher recommended it to us because of its simple language. It was a great idea and it works with German as well.
I also started to watch a show, with subtitles of course, the Vorstadtwiber, it is very funny and entertaining. It is like “Desperate Housewives” in the USA, but a little bit more dirty 🙂 It is very popular now in Austria and about five rich women who live in the fancy part of Vienna.

I can recommend to practice and try to talk even more from now on, because at B1 you already have the knowledge to have conversations so don’t be shy!

This is us yesterday in the Parliament

A Special German Class – Our Visit in the Parliament

Two weeks ago on Thursday we had a day off because a religious holiday, Corpus Christi. It was up to us to decide whether we want to have an extra class on a Friday or just do something special together. We chose to visit the Parliament House on the Ring and we didn’t regret it.

First, a few words about the Austrian political system:
Austria is a democratic republic. It has 9 counties (one is Vienna) and people have the right to vote from the age of 16. Vienna is the capital so the ministries, the Parliament and a lot of important authorities are here. There are 183 representatives who are discussing the law. They belong to 5 main parties: the SPÖ, ÖVP, FPÖ, Neos and Die Grünen. The president choses the ministers, the chancellor and the secretary of the state.

Since December 2016 the president is Alexander Van Der Bellen who is the first green president ever in Austria. The elections didn’t go smooth though. Van Der Bellen won in May but the votes were counted too early so they had to repeat it in December – and he won again.

The building of the Parliament was completed in 1883 and has a Greek Revival style designed by Theophil Hansen. In front of it there is a statue of Pallas Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge. In the tympanum we can see Emperor Franz Joseph wearing a Roman toga.  The interior has the Greek style, too, with the statues, the columns, and the paintings. The doorknobs and the stairs are decorated with snakes, it means wisdom.

The guided tour through the building took about an hour and it was very interesting. We saw where the politicians are working, speeches are held and laws are made. It was in German but our guide tried to speak a little slower – it helped a lot. If you want to schedule a visit, hurry up, in the middle of July they will close, due to renovations, and will only reopen in 2020. Till then, they move to the Hofburg.

Talking About Pets

Today’s German class was really fun, we were talking about our pets. Everybody was excited about it and of course, the old topic came up: dogs or cats? These animals are the most popular pets and they have very different characters.

Dogs are known to be faithful to you while cats seem more independent and less loving. In my whole life I considered myself as a “dog person”, but we have a cat for a year now, and my opinion is changing 🙂 Though I still think a dog is a perfect choice and a wonderful friend, a cat needs less time and effort. And our cat is a sweetheart, greets me when I come home, talks to me, purrs a lot, he is really affectionate! I think I understand “cat people” more now 🙂

I got my first pets, two little tortoises, at the age of 10. I was overwhelmed with joy. I wanted to prove my mom that I can take responsibilities. I was feeding and cleaning them regularly. Unfortunately, they didn’t live long, tortoises are very sensitive little animals and my room was too cold for them.
Then I got a lovely guinea pig called Cinderella who was my beloved company for long years while studying or watching TV.
Then, after 18, I had guinea pigs again. You cannot forget to feed them because they remind you with their sweet “oink oink” and I think they are a perfect choice for young adults who don’t spend too much time at home. Guinea pigs feel the best with another guinea pig so they never can bored. In German, guinea pig is “Meerschweinchen”. What a lovely word 🙂

I think having a pet is wonderful. They become our friends for their whole life and love us unconditionally. And of course they are sooo cute and entertaining 🙂

Our cat

34th Donauinselfest

Europe’s biggest free open-air festival took place last weekend on the Donauinsel. International and domestic stars were creating a real party atmosphere for 3 days on 11 different stages. Different kind of music, sport, children- and family programs were also available to make sure no one is bored.
The festival had all together 2.8 million visitors (which is incredible, the city only has 1.84 million inhabitants!), and offered more, than 600 hours live program for the people.

One of the biggest hit was a Falco tribute. Falco was a Viennese singer, the first one who became popular and famous in America while singing in German. He was a special talent who died unexpectedly and too young. He had a legendary concert here in 1993, and it was re-enacted with the original band.

I visited the festival on Saturday evening with my husband. We wanted to go already in the afternoon, but the heat was incredible. It was very well organized. The drinks weren’t overpriced, we paid 5 Euro for a beer, which is acceptable in a Festival. We also had to pay 1 Euro for the plastic cups but we got it back when we took the cups back. This is a great idea, this way people don’t throw the glasses away and it is easier to keep the festival area clean.

We saw Mando Diao which is a Swedish rock band. I really like their music but they don’t make a very big show live. Then, we just joined to a random retro party with old Austrian songs what people were singing loudly with the singers 🙂

Going home was a little bit difficult because they didn’t let the subway overcrowded (It was running every 2-3 minutes). We had to wait in line a little bit but then we had a comfortable and safe way home.

 

Weekend Tip – Grüner See

Vienna is a wonderful city but sometimes we just need to get rid of all the people and go out in the nature. Austria is an especially beautiful country with well preserved and clean nature and breathtaking mountains. Well, let’s combine the natural treasures and the mountains – let’s go to Grüner See!

It is a small lake in Styria, surrounded by gorgeous mountains and lust forests. The name originated because of its vivid emerald-green color. The crystal clear water comes from the snow melt from the karst mountains and it’s really cold, only 6-7 °C. During the winter, the lake shrinks (it already starts in July), and the surrounding are is used as a county park.
It reaches it’s utmost beauty in May – June, when it is the deepest, about 12 meters.

It was very popular amongst divers but now, to protect the sensitive environment, it is not allowed anymore. For swimming it would be too cold anyway.

It is a 2.5 hours drive from Vienna. There is a short walk from the parking spot, then you can go around the lake on a well maintained path. It is also called as “the Caribbean in Austria”, because of the stunning green color of the water. A lot of Americans visit it, because some say that this lake is even nicer than Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. (Well, my husband told it and he is from Styria 🙂 ).
But judge it on your own, it really worth to visit 🙂

 

 

My Favorite Places in Vienna – Hundertwasserhaus

The Hundertwasserhaus can be found in the 3rd District, within a short distance from the Donaukanal on the tram line no. 1. It is in a quiet little street which suddenly becomes busy and full of tourists who are coming to visit from all over the world.
You cannot miss it, it is colorful with terracotta mosaics and has 250 trees or bushes on the facade.

Hundertwasser was an Austrian artist and architect with a beautiful, unique design. He brought the nature into Vienna what is already one of the greenest cities of Europe. His designs use irregular forms and incorporate natural features. He rejected straight lines and conventional architecture. The house has uneven floors (“it is a melody to the feet”) and a huge roof terrace covered by earth and grass. He accepted no payment for the design, he said that was enough that he prevented something ugly to be built that place.

He wanted to build just more human and environmental friendly buildings. For Hundertwasser, human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, monotonous architecture.
He campaigned for the preservation of the natural habitat and demanded a life in accordance with the laws of nature.

If you want to know more about him or his art, the Hundertwassermuseum, the Kunsthaus Wien is only a few minutes from it and definitely worth to see. Drink a coffee in the cafeteria and enjoy the view of the little garden and the building’s colorful facade with lush trees built in the walls.