Evening dear readers,
Well it has been a busy few days indeed! First things first, Friday was the last day of my intensive German course, which meant only one thing – the end of course test! Which actually wasn’t that bad at all (surprisingly). We had a listening, grammar, writing and reading test first (then ‘Jause Pause’ break for coffee – as always), then finally a speaking test which was done in a group, where we had to pretend to be a family arguing over where to go on holiday! Interesting, but strangely got into it haha! Much more fun somehow when arguing in German! Overall think it went fine, and in all honesty as long as I get a fairly decent grade I will be happy, because just what I have gained from the course personally, outweighs any grade I receive for how well I know my ‘der, die, das’ declensions! It was a great three weeks though and I am so glad that I was part of it, to get to know so many lovely new people, who I really hope to keep in contact with! A few of us have applied to do the next level of the German course in the semester, so will definitely be seeing a few of them anyway.
So the weekend was approaching and I didn’t have any plans as such, so a friend I met on the German course asked if I fancied a day trip to Maribor in Slovenia! One hour away on a train, cheap as anything, sunshine and exploring a new city – of course I said yes! That’s one thing that I absolutely love about being in Austria; I’m so central to so many different places and just this one day trip has absolutely given me the travel bug! I’m just so eager to go an explore more!
The day started with a morning train from the main train station in Graz, and we just had one stop where we had to change over, which was really close to the border where we crossed over into Slovenia. The train was surprisingly quiet and we also got to know a guy from Lithuania who was travelling to Maribor to study at university, who had been travelling 25 hours to reach Slovenia! We set off from Graz Main Station just after 8am, and arrived in Maribor at about 9.30am, early arrival was key for us to make sure that we fit in all that we could in the day! After finding a tourist information center, we got our map and made our way round the city to see what we could explore!
The city of Maribor was lovely, lots of beautiful architecture round and about the city, with lots of historical and cultural points of interest! One thing however that felt rather strange for me was being surrounded by the Slovene language and not having a clue what any of it meant! It quite made me realise how much more comfortable I am now in Graz being surrounded by German, as it actually felt homely returning, hopping on the bus and hearing the all too familiar pattern of bus stop announcements!
Maribor was nice in that it wasn’t too big, yet there was still plenty to do and fill most of our day with! We visited everything we could, from musuems and churches, to the famous winery on the river and the castle in the town center, and also being students was a great advantage as the prices tended to be a lot cheaper than the standard fare. So it is always worth asking if you do visit somewhere, even if it is not explicitly stated! Pennies make pounds – or in this case cents make.. Euros.. no.. doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.. you get the idea anyway!
Highlight of my day it has to be said however was in the winery (not because it was all about wine.. though that was also good!), but because we bumped into a group of Austrians who asked us if we could take a group photo of them, they asked in German, because a lot of people here do speak German too, and I answered them in German, which seemed to come to a bit of a surprise to them! Anyhow, the conversation continued about how we were here to study in Graz and that’s why we speak German, and they were so chuffed about the whole situation that we ended up being included in a group photo with these people! They were so interested in what we were doing, our studies and where we were from, and even made a remark about how great our German was so that was awesome! It was truly one of those ‘what on earth is happening’ moments, but it was nice to chat with such friendly people!
Overall the day was great, and it really made me feel lucky to be so easily be able to go to other countries and explore! An hour or so on the train, cheap tickets and a day full of culture and discovery! What more could I ask for!? Though it has to be said my list of places I want to go is growing immensely now!
A few snapshots from the trip :
Old Winery and Museum
TYA Tip of the day: Don’t be afraid to speak up and have a go! Who cares if you get your cases mixed up!? (So far I’ve learnt no-one does!)