Our day trip to Linz took us to one of Austria’s most famous landmarks. I know what you’re all thinking, and I know you’re all so jealous.
That’s right, we went to Voestalpine Stahl! WHAT NOW, SUCKAS?!
Hold on. It’s a steel mill?
But…nobody cares about steel mills… especially not business students on exchange.
They must be taking us there for a reason. Oh, no? Just a three hour tour to learn about the steel manufacturing process? Seriously?! They were serious.
Over the course of three grueling hours, they gave us a(n overly) detailed description about the steel production process and the company’s long history, but oh-so casually skipped over a tiny period of booming success that they mumbled was “A Dark Time.” This dark time is known to the rest of the world as WWII. Oops?! That’s uncomfortable.
But with impressive numbers like the fact they had the 6th largest blast furnace in Europe and had some of the worst grade of iron ore rich rock, who couldn’t help but be impressed? Apparently, all of us could. The other group got to go stuff their face with chocolate in Graz, while we learned about the process of creating steel (to make things for the Socialist Party). ‘Nough said. Had it not been for the unreasonably attractive tour guide of an Austro-Italian blend, I might have left. It reminded me of when my trainer for soccer was actually a part-time model, and my team was always willing to run the extra laps he made us do.
I’ll admit that Voestalpine had a tough act to follow as our day began with a tour of the ARS Electronica Museum. I don’t suppose I will ever do justice with a simple explanation as even my sparse photos barely make the grade. But I’ll give it a spin:
The ARS Electronica is the museum of the future. It’s filled from top to bottom with interactive art installments that are currently sobering representations about globalization and population growth/hazards. They also had some insanely high tech robots that responded to your facial expression and physical distance. The museum also had 3D printing, plant cloning, meat growing (ew), retina scanning, human dissecting, futuristic material making, and Lego building stations, to name a few.
Okay, clearly I will not get into the business of writing promo material, but I wish we could have spent the ENTIRE day there and played but, unfortunately, they only gave us about two hours. Check out their website: http://new.aec.at/news/en, maybe it will give you a better idea.
In summation: just come to Europe only for it.
When we arrived at Linz they told us we would have no time between our two tours to grab lunch, so we had to pick up groceries for the entire day. They didn’t actually tell us where we could find a grocery store or a cafe. A mob of foreign students scrambled around Linz blindly. Eventually we stumbled onto a Billa and swarmed the aisles of the store. As instructed, 30 minutes later we were back on the bus. Well…most of us anyways. The OK Program leaders neglected to do a head count, and several students were left behind. The same thing occurred when we were leaving the museum on our way to the steel factory, except this time the bus actually turned around to pick them up. Near the end of the day, our OK Program leader told us the final meeting time for the bus and said that if we failed to show, we’d have to find our own way back to Vienna. Safe?
We ended our night at a restaurant called Joseph Linz for what was to be a traditional Austrian meal. Traditional Austrian meals = big meat feast, and as such, a wimpy vegetarian like me was given her own special wimpy meal (by a VERY begrudging staff) along with one other vegetarian girl. The traditional meal consisted of some indescribable asiago-garlic-dip-spread-butter for bread (Auntie Jodi, thoughts on what this was?) that was actually quite delicious so my hopes were rather high for the rest of the meal. The main course was, naturally, Wiener schnitzel for the regular folk, and us two divas received a pasta dish tossed in an equally indescribable sauce. I guess this is what I get for being what Arnie would call “a girlie man.” Long story short, I sincerely hope this doesn’t set the tone for the rest of my epicurious adventures throughout Austria. They did, however, pull up their socks on the final course: a crepe. A crepe is the soft, airy, gooey, delicious gateway to my heart. It almost made up for Voestalpine, almost.
XOXO Girlie Man
P.S. So, my flatmate is either a complete ghost or the walls here are MUCH too thin. Either way, I’m very unsettled. More to come as the investigation continues.