Category Archives: Tipp des Monats

Trip to Slovenia

Long weekend destination: Slovenia

Austria is the country with the most bank holidays in Europe! This means that people have a lot of opportunities for short trips in nearby locations. Slovenia is a perfect choice for long weekend with family and friends. It’s five hours drive from Vienna.

Rent a car

If you don’t have own car you can rent one. We did it online in one of the biggest rent a car companies. The bad thing about this particular destination (Slovenia) is that you have to paid extra money. All the Balkan countries are in a list of “dangerous” ones and that’s why there is a fee. For country like Italy or France you don’t need to pay extra. The option for second driver is also extra paid. We (4 person plus dog) had great BMW from Thursday morning till Sunday afternoon for 280 euro, diesel included.

Camp Lucija

Our destination was Cam Lucija. The autobahn is more than perfect and fast and the driver can really enjoy the road. No extra documents or taxes are needed for crossing Slovenian border. Camp Lucija is located in perfect part of land on Adriatic sea. The beautiful blue colour of this sea is amazing and comparable only with Capri, Italy! Surrounded by olive trees and oleanders, the camping is really nice. On the one side is located little charming harbour for boats and yachts. You can feel the Mediterranean spirit – Italy is so closed to this place not only geographically but also in architecture, temper and language. Almost all the local people speaks fluent Italian. The camp is very clean and well maintained.

There are two sectors: more and less expensive. Honestly there is no dramatically difference so it’s up to you. For 3 nights we paid 90 euro in the less expensive zone. If you want to have electricity you can pay additionally and have it. We used only solar energy (coming from two four sided solar batteries) during our stay …. (to be continued).

Picnic am Donau

Picnic culture

The practice of  picnic, described by some sources as “an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors” has its roots back in the European culture. After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to public and picnicking became popular activity among newly enfranchised citizens. The reflection of Picnic in art is tremendously wide: from fine paintings (Manet) to Oscar winning movies (1955).

Nowadays, Vienna

I have to admit that I was really happy to discover that in Vienna there is strong and good-vibe picnic culture. A lot of people use every sunny day to chill in the numerous gardens and parks. Of  course, during the weekend is more busy, but honestly you can see a lot of people during weekdays too. Stadtpark, Schönbrunn, Prater, Belvedere, Donau – a lot of options for the people in Vienna.

Donaustadtbrücke

Loving all the mentioned options, I would like to start with area around Donau. This is the city part around Danube river with its belonging park. Both sides of river are great for picnic! You can choose depending on how much sun:shadow balance you prefer. The area is allowed for dogs and that makes the place, automatically better if you have a dog. The grass is soft and the ground is clean. On the one side of the river there are open air barbecues, they can be booked in advance. There are also easy accessible and clean toilets, which makes the area nice for ladies.

Location and tips

You can go easy am Donau for picnic  by U2, station Donaustadtbrücke. Few picnic expert tips: bring re-usable glasses and plates – this is not only eco friendly but also very beautiful and set-changing detail. Use portable cooling bags for keep your drinks fresh for longer. Prepare light and easy-eating finger food such as Julienne Carrots and Paprika, Tzatziki salad, Humus and Fladen Bread.

 

Weinachtsmarkt am Hof

Yesterday I finally got to experiment going to an Austrian Weinachtsmarkt with some friends. We chose to go to the one am Hof, because we heard there are more traditional and handmade items there.

And indeed, every stand had neatly crafted items, such as Christmas decorations for the house, for the tree or all sorts of gift ideas for your friends and loved ones. I particularly liked the homemade jewelry stand (I am really into them in general) and this stand that sold handmade stars, which light up.

It was a nice, cold but memorable evening. We had some Glühwein to heat up, and enjoyed some caramelized almonds, with rum flavor on the streets of Vienna.

Looking forward to discovering new Weinachsmarkts, which is your favorite one? Tell me in the comments below.

Come December I have enrolled in a Conversation class here at Deutschakademie and I am going to take a little break from writing on the blog, since the holidays are coming and all. But hopefully I’ll return in January with impressions from the C1 class.

‘Til then I wish you all Happy holidaysFrohe Weinachten! and see you soon.

 

Final recommendations, closing ceremonials and celebrations

As I mentioned in the last blog post, yesterday was the final day of class. We completed the B2.2 class and, as usual, at the end we received documentation of attendance, as well as some useful tips, for learning German from now on.

Our teacher recommended a comprehensive Grammar book, called Lehr-und Übungsbuch der deutschen Grammatik, from Hueber, written by Dreyer & Schmitt. I got a chance to flip through it and it talks about every part of speech and how it is used in the German language. Very useful if you like your information all structured and easy to find.

Afterwards we took a picture together, to commemorate the occasion and went out to celebrate to Bier & Biereli, a very quaint beer-oriented bar, just 50 meters away from the Deutsch Akademie. Here we toasted, exchanged stories and found ways to keep in touch in a very cool setting, with hundreds and hundreds of beer cans on the walls, as well as the “Bier ist gesund” motto by the bar. A very fun and likeable group that I hope I’ll run into in future Deutsch Akademie classes.

Cards game – reiteration of B2.2

In the last day of class our teacher prepared a game for us, in which we each had to write on 5 cards what we consider important from what we learned, or what useful is. Afterwards, we grouped ourselves in groups with at least 3 people, and we mixed all the cards together.

We then extracted the cards, one by one, and did a small iteration of what we learned. Of course, some things repeated themselves, but the themes were also diverse and it enabled us to really remember this past month.

Oh, and did I also tell you that we had a little surprise when we came into class today? We had chocolate lined up, waiting to reward us. Such a nice detail, I think we all enjoyed it.

Decision making – Entscheidungen treffen

This week in class we had a theme about decisions and decision making. There was a text that talked about the process of taking a decision, and afterwards we talked amongst ourselves, in able to dig deeper into the matter.

We split into three groups, which received each a poster and we had to brainstorm ideas, or write down compelling arguments from the text.

There was a lot of talk about gut feeling, and how it is important to follow it, especially when it comes to big decisions. Also, list making came into question, as a way to write down all the important information so you have the big picture in front of you. When you are unsure, you should of course consult others, experts, friends, people who have had similar choices, but what it comes down to in the end is what is best for you, because decision making can differ so greatly from one person to the other.

I will leave you with the posters that we made in class, in hopes you will discover other useful tips.

Votivkirche – history and beauty

As we were walking towards the last Stammtisch, on the Ringstraße, I saw this majestic building on the horizon and asked the others what it was. Votivkirche, they replied, as I lingered behind to examine the impressive building further.

When I got home, I looked more up about this interesting looking church, and it turns out its history is even more intriguing. The church was inaugurated by the Emperor Franz Joseph ‘s brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, as a way to thank God for sparing the Emperor’s life, after a failed attempt on his life.

Construction of the church began in 1856, and it was dedicated twenty-six years later on April 24, 1879, the occasion of the silver jubilee of the royal couple. It was one of the first buildings on the Ringstraße at that time, constructed in a neo-Gothic style. It is said, from afar, tourists often mistake the Votivkirche with the Stephansdom, but in reality the two buildings are more than 700 years apart in apparition, Stephansdom being established in 1147.

Book recommendation – Austrian dictionary

We’ve experienced it many times: the German we learn inside the Deutschakademie can be so different from what we hear ourside, in Vienna. Austrians have a very melodic way of speaking, sometimes trimming, shortening or using different words altogether.

Personally, I think it very desirable for me to learn these tiny differences, and the subtle nuances that make the Austrian dialect what it is. However, I know this process will mainly take time and will probably be accomplished over the course of years of living here, while getting accustomed to the local language.

A good way to start though, when you want to understand a words you have heard socially, but google translate can’t pick up on, is to acquire an Austrian dictionary, like the one recommended by our teacher. Wörterbuch des Wienerischen, by Robert Sedlaczek, is perhaps the first step into understanding the locals better, making friends and fitting in.

Stammtisch – monthly get-together

Yesterday was the monthly get-together event, Stammtisch, which took place at the Gangl bar, near the university campus, as it usually does. My class got there around 10 pm, since we had the evening class to finish, but you could see the people were enjoying themselves. They had made some teambuilding games, which seemed fun, it’s too bad we missed those.

Stammtisch is a good opportunity to socialize and a nice way to meet new people, especially if you are new in Vienna and don’t have many friends here. If you haven’t been to one until now, I recommend you try it for yourself. It is also a very nice exercise to speak in German in social situations. I went along with a few colleagues from the B2.2 class and our teacher, and shared some funny stories.

What experiences have you had so far with Stammtisch? Let us know in the comments below!

First test – Mistakes is how you learn

If you’re like me, around this time you will have gotten the results from the first test of the level back. Usually in the Deutschakademie there are two tests, one after the first week, and one after the third week, to assess what you have learned so far.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was a bit disappointed by the first test I ever got back, because I had made many mistakes despite learning all weekend before. However, since then I have begun to see the process differently: I’m perceiving it more like a means to quantify what you have understood, and what you need to work more on in the future.

Tests are a good way to understand how far you’ve gotten, and to determine, for instance, if you need to prepare yourself more for an official German language test. Of course, everyone wants to do good in tests, but try and look at it from this point of view, and focus on learning rather than grades. You will see how much more fun it is! Good luck!

Google image translation

I want to share something here, some of you may already know it, some of you may not, it is a feature from the Google Translate App, which I find quite clever and useful. I myself have only discovered it this past week, and even though I think it’s been long present, still was excited by the discovery.

So you open Google Translate App on your phone, and right underneath the ‘Tap to enter text’ field, there are three icons: photo icon, microphone and pen. Tap the photo icon and it opens up camera mode, with which you can then direct at your book / newspaper / text in German and see the words automatically getting translated on your phone.

It is quite a nifty trick and it’s useful for me in class, when we’re reading texts and I’m interested in a quick and easy way to find out translations for the words I don’t know. Mind you, it’s not always perfect, and it’s better for single words than for contexts / sentences / phrases, but it can be a helpful tool.

Enjoy!