Alles Walzer!

8 Feb

Colin Cam

It’s been two days and I’m still recovering from the ball this weekend. It was fantastic, but if I had a do-over, I would have tried to find some other way of arriving in Vienna. The overnight bus that we took with most of Colin’s classmates wasn’t so great for resting up before the big night—who would have suspected that?

Miraculously, the hotel let us check in at 8 a.m., three hours before we were scheduled to arrive and five hours before normal check-in time. Almost everyone headed off to their rooms to nap, but a few brave souls headed out into the map-stealing blustery day to do some sight-seeing. We napped.

At lunch time the Austrians led us to a brewery, and before long, the smell of deep-fried schnitzel was thick in the air. I probably could have snagged another hour of sleep after lunch like Colin did, but I (for once!) opted to give myself plenty of time to avoid any last-minute rushing around.

Rathaus, Vienna's town hall building, where the reception was held. Colin Cam

Finally, at 5:15, the masses gathered in the hotel lobby, dressed to the nines and bunching for photos. We went first to Vienna’s town hall, and in the basement were treated to a lovely reception by Vienna’s minister of cultural affairs, a SAIS alumnus.

The opening ceremony.

Some hours later we crossed a large park and entered the Hofburg Palace, where the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency Ball was being held. Besides the main room where the waltzing was to be done, there was a Latin music room, a disco room, a regae room, a swing dance room, and a Celtic folk room, all with live bands. SAIS had two apartments with tables and a small bar all to ourselves, which turned out to be a lovely place to retreat to and put up the feet without worrying.

The debutantes and their dates.

At midnight I pulled Colin to the main dance floor for the quadrille, which, because we’d only learned one part of six, was sort of a disaster but a whole lot of fun. The people around us didn’t know it either, so we tried to follow the dance-trained debutantes who had opened the ball. Apparently we were caught on the closed-circuit camera for a second and they noticed in the SAIS room. I’d say it was one of the highlights of the night.

Lined up for the quadrille. Colin Cam

By about 3:30 the main floor was relatively clear, and with about fifteen other SAISers we got our waltz on. Every step came with stabbing pain in my feet, but we stayed until 4:30 when a single violinist played a sad sort of melody to signal everyone to go home.

Watching the main dance floor from the orchestra steps. Colin Cam

I managed to do an hour and a half of sight-seeing the next day in between breakfast and before piling back onto the bus, so I really don’t have much to say about Vienna. One of the Austrians last night said he’s thinking of organizing another (ball-less) trip, so I might need to jump on that opportunity.

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2 Responses to “Alles Walzer!”

  1. Patrick Cowsill February 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    You guys looks great, Valerie – very glamorous. I’m a bit envious being stuck here in Taiwan when it’s so drizzly and cold.

    Are you taking some classes? How’s your Italian coming along?

    • valerienicole February 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      My Italian is so rotten, but I’m not doing an intensive course as I was with Chinese. That’s definitely the way to go about learning a language.

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