Wien + Hallstatt: Week 6

Started off this week travelling over an hour to Shopping City Süd for some good ol’ Ikea breakfast. Wherever you are in the world, it’s a bargain! Also bought some more Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce. Mmmmm.

With UBC friends - Amanda, Jocelyn, Jason and Florence (not pictured)

With Vancouver friends – Amanda, Jocelyn, Jason and Florence (not pictured)

On Thursday, Jason and I met up with a few friends for the Let’s CEE Film Festival, which focuses on cinema either created or set in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). We went to see Amsterdam Express, a drama/thriller about an Albanian man immigrating temporarily to Amsterdam in search of work, whose life starts to spiral out of control when tempted by drug and sex trafficking jobs. The film was definitely suspenseful at times, and it gave a superficial glimpse into the difficult life of being a CEE country emmigrant. I love to attend film festivals, so this was a treat for me. Apparently there are many film and art festivals in Vienna each year.

After the film ended, we were in for a surprise: the main character, the director, and the director of photography were actually in the theatre and were going to debrief the film and answer the audience’s questions! The debrief didn’t last long, but we were lucky to have seen the actual cast and crew of a film in person. I was overcome by the fact that the main actor looked the same in real life as on screen. “It’s like he’s a real person!!”

L to R: CEE spokesperson, director Fatmir Koçi, actor Blerim Destani and director of photography Enzo Brandner

L to R: CEE spokesperson, director Fatmir Koçi, actor Blerim Destani and director of photography Enzo Brandner

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Let’s CEE Film Festival with friends from USA and Japan

The highlight of Friday was going to an all-you-can-eat Pakistani buffet called Der Wiener Deewan. Not only was it AYCE, it was also “pay what you want”. That’s right! You can stuff your face with delicious food, and you can also determine the price you want to pay. A good portion of my dinner was spent pondering how this business model could work: many students like us cheap out and give €4-6 for the entire meal, which couldn’t possibly be enough for this restaurant to survive. But I came to the conclusion that most people must give €8-10, maybe even more, so it should balance out in the end… right? The consistent busy-ness of the place probably also helps their cause.

They have a rotating menu each day, so you could come every week and eat something different every time!

Der Wiener Deewan buffet area: 6 or 7 dishes offered

Der Wiener Deewan buffet area: 6 or 7 dishes offered

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Downstairs eating area

Saturday: Daytrip to Hallstatt!

Amanda’s parents were in town for the week, so I accompanied them on a daytrip to Hallstatt, in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria. It’s a cute lakeside town with less than 1,000 inhabitants, and it took us about 4 hours to get there by train. It really reminded me of Vancouver, BC with its mountains and large body of water.

After getting of the train, we had to take a short ferry ride to Hallstatt

After getting of the train, we had to take a short ferry ride to Hallstatt

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Main square of Hallstatt

Main square of Hallstatt

Swan pedal boats!

Swan pedal boats!

Roomies!

Roomies!

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Amanda and I took a cable car up a mountain and went on a tour of Salzwelten, a retired salt mine. Apparently the Salzkammergut area is known for its salt, with mines still in operation today.

Cable car

Cable car

View overlooking the lake from the salt mine

View overlooking the lake from the salt mine

Everybody on the tour had to wear "protective clothing". To me, they resembled PJs or prison wear.

Everybody on the tour had to wear “protective clothing”. To me, they resembled PJs or prison wear.

The first 5 minutes was spent walking through this cold, creepy walkway into the mine.

The first 5 minutes of the tour was spent walking through this cold, creepy walkway into the mine.

Took a mini train leading out of the mine

Took a mini train leading out of the mine

There was a really cool skywalk with an amazing view of the lake and the little town.

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Does this not remind you of British Columbia?

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Sunday: DYI Craft Day.

A group of 6 of us were going to Amsterdam the following weekend for the Amsterdam Music Festival, so following typical “rave” tradition and to sport our city pride, Jocelyn, Jason and I made matching tanktops. After browsing many shops and contemplating options on price, ease of application, etc., we decided to buy spraypaint, create our own cardboard stencils and spray our design onto plain white tanktops.

The front design was modelled after the very popular VANCITY logo from Dipt and Vancity Original, but with a nice addition of the maple leaf.

One of our stencils!

Jocelyn hiding behind of our stencils, designed by me and cut by Jason

The back was a simple design, and of course we once again had to incorporate our Canadian pride with the “EH?”

Work in progress!

Work in progress!

It was pretty hard to wash this off.

It was pretty hard to wash this off.

We were about halfway finished when we stopped to let the shirts dry from the spraypaint. We would resume next week.

After the laborous work, we spontaneously tried Ginza Running Sushi at Praterstern. It’s called “running sushi” because the food “runs” by you on conveyor belts, and you grab whatever dishes you want that pass by. Praterstern is a big train station in Vienna, and Jason and I regularly pass through this station to get to the gym. Although we knew the sushi wouldn’t compare to Vancouver’s, we always wanted to try it just for fun. So, after all the spraypainting and handscrubbing, we made our way to Praterstern to finally try the infamous Running Sushi.

I’ll keep it short: it was meh. Our standards were already pre-lowered, but it was mostly frozen foods that were re-fried, such as spring rolls, croquettes, gyoza. There was some nigiri sushi (really thin slices of salmon) and some maki (cucumber), but overall it was a bit sub-par. From 5pm onwards it’s quite expensive at €15, but it was worth trying once. Just once.

Some of our dishes at Running Sushi

Some of our dishes at Running Sushi

It was a pretty relaxing week as we rest up for the upcoming Amsterdam Music Festival…. can’t contain the excitement!!

Next post: Canadian Thanksgiving & Amsterdam

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