Styria & More

inside the cave

inside the cave

So, we went to S. Katherein in Styria for a workshop.  We met many people from the Technical University group.  Chao is splitting his time between IST Austria and TU.  There were others from Spain, Germany and France at this meeting, so it wasn’t only the Vienna groups.  Styria (a part of Austria) is very beautiful.  Where we were was also a higher altitude than I was used to.  When I went running, I became out of breath very quickly.  One of the evenings, we walked over to a local Schnapps maker.  Schnapps in Austria is closer to a Brandy or an after dinner drink in the US than the sweetened Schnapps that we get.  We had a tasting of five different schnapps.  I knew very little about what we were drinking, because the explanation was given almost entirely in German.  Some were made from fruit, including one made from the little red berries that we saw everywhere in Styria.  I ate one off the table, and I would not advise anyone else to do the same.   Another was made from a tree.  And, yes, it did taste woody.  Another fun activity at the workshop was our visit to the cave.  On the left, I have a picture of one of the stalagmites in the cave.  The story the tourguide told us about this one was that a rich American visitor tot he gave tried to buy it.  Most of the cave was made of limestone, so there were not many colors showing through.  And yes, there were talks at this workshop too.  Some were about AT-models and pyramids … somethign that I hadn’t seen before.   See more pictures from the workshop.

Dmitriy’s brother came to visit for a day last weekend.  Paul, Amit and I walked around Vienna with him.  We went through a tour of the Mozart House.  The tour went through three floors of the building.  The top floor gave a a background of Vienna at that time.  The 2nd floor gave information about some of the Operas and compositions, including Requiem.  The first floor was his actual living quarters, although there was no furniture from when he lived there.  The museum was tiny, and I did find it interesting.  An audio guide came with the tour, but sometime I found it too distracting to listen to.

Dmitriy and Jen arrived on Friday.  They’ll be here for 10 days.  Yesterday, we showed them NashMarkt and walked to the Hapsbug palace.  Jen is a vegetarian, so eating for her must be difficult in this carnivorous country.

Bei & Jeff will be arriving this week.  When they do, our group will be about one third of the IST Austria campus.  IST Austria is looking to expand to 50 research groups by 2014.  (I think that is what Paul told me).  It is hard to imagine right now though.

I start my German class tomorrow!

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