23th March – Saturday
The journey started very early. Saturday morning at 8:15 the group left from the central station of Nijmegen to arrive at Schiphol Airport at 10:00 where we joined up with the rest of the group who traveled by themselves. Some people already had a overloaded suitcase before take off probably due to the fact that the weather reports where very diverse. With heavily packed bags we went to the check-in desk. We boarded our plane to Salzburg and took off. After a short flight of an hour and fifteen minutes we arrived at an idyllic airport surrounded by glaciers. We took a regional bus to a stop within a minute walk from our hostel. Around three o’clock we were arrived at the lobby and waiting to check in. It was a beautiful hostel that looked more like a hotel than a hostel. When we were all set in our rooms we went to the roof terrace to enjoy the last minutes of sunshine. After this we went to a greek place nearby to enjoy a lovely dinner. When we were all finished eating we went back to the hostel to get ready for our presentations we all prepared the week before the study trip. During those presentations we learned a lot about the sustainability goals and economic development of Slovakia and Austria. After the presentations the group was eager to go out, we went to a bar which seemed to be full but the owner ran at us to tell us that he had some places left in a backroom. Here we tried something that the bartender called “Liquid Cocaine” it was a vodka shot with coffee and very enjoyable. After this we went to a few pubs in the centre of Salzburg.
24th March – Sunday
After a short night, most of the group members were having breakfast in the eating room downstairs. We were expected to leave the hostel at around 09:00 a.m. to go to ‘Festung Hohen Salzburg’, a higher situated fortress at which we had an amazing view over the city centre of Salzburg. At the fortress we had some free time to fill in by ourselves and the group split up in two different groups. One of the groups had a mental breakdown and was searching for a terrace to drink some other alcoholic drinks, while the other part of the group was visiting the museum that was included in the ticket of the fortress. The birth house of Mozart was under construction and not accessible for public so in the afternoon we had some free time. Dinner was also a free choice and so the group spread out throughout the city to some local restaurants to have dinner. After everyone has taken dinner the pub crawl started. It was kicked off at an Irish pub which was located directly near the river Salzach. This was the beginning of a long, but relatively early ending night in which we visited four different pubs that evening. Some men found each other a bit attractive and that’s why Thijs was having a grin and Tupker a dark blue hickey in his neck at the end of the evening.
25th March – Monday
Our dress code on this second morning in Salzburg was semi-formal, since we had a private lecture at the University of Salzburg this morning. After we took a few elevators to the wrong levels we finally came at the room where the lecture would take place. At the lecture we learned things about macroeconomics and how they teach it in Salzburg. During this lecture some subjects came to the fore like short- and medium run consequences for the Austrian economy. After this interesting presentation that lasted for about two hours the group decided to have a typical Austrian lunch at a restaurant nearby: a Wiener Schnitzel with a cold beer was what we needed. In the afternoon we visited the ‘Haus der Natur’ in the centre of Salzburg which looked like the Nemo-science museum in Amsterdam. There were lots of floors at which the one functioned as an a gigantic aquarium and one that functioned as a reptile zoo. Also there was a floor in which you could do scientific experiments. After this interesting visit there was again some free time and most of us took the bus back to the hostel to relax with their roommates or to pack the bags for the next travel day that was in prospect.
26th March – Tuesday
After a long night we woke up fresh and fruity :). We met in the lobby at 9:00 to check out and store our suitcases. Everyone was expected to wear formal clothing because we had a formal activity planned, a lecture given by a senior manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC). During this presentation we were informed about what kind of a corporation PWC is and what their main goals are. He also told us about the other offices PWC had in Austria and how they worked together. It was very interesting to hear that PWC is not just one company, but that they are all different offices and different entities. During the presentation we were shook up by an airplane flying by but besides that it was very interesting and we learned a lot. After the presentation we took a group picture and went back to the hostel to pick up our suitcases. When everyone was ready we left straight away to Salzburg Central Station where we took a high speed train to Budapest. After a little more than two hours we got off at Vienna Central Station, where we then took the tram to our new hostel. The group was in need of some healthy food so we cooked a nice pasta with a lot of vegetables. After this extraordinary dinner a few people had to pay off their debts and take a Winetrain. When the debts were paid off we went to a nearby pub, where people tried the Fireshot. It was a flaming night.
27th March – Wednesday
We are already at the middle of our study trip! And that was noticeable this morning with a lot of tired and hungover faces we gathered at the lobby all suited up. Our first formal meeting of the day was at 10:00 at the Vienna stock exchange (Wiener Borse). They placed signs which said: “Radboud university Nijmegen” at the entrance, so at least we knew we were at the right place :). Here we heard stories of an experienced employee of the stock exchange. After this interesting lecture he gave away some gifts for people who participated well during the lecture. Sadly one of us thought the best way to catch a gift was with his nose. After the bleeding was stopped we took a group picture. For lunch we had some free time and the group split up. After the lunch we grouped up and went to OPEC. OPEC is an organization who helps to keep oil prices stable. We were challenged to ask questions because there is a lot of bad publicity about OPEC. After OPEC we had some free time in Vienna. That night everyone went to sleep early because Thursday was going to be a intense day.
28th March – Thursday
This morning was one of our earliest of the trip. We had to gather at 07:40 in front of the hostel and then walked to the Flixbus which brought us directly to Bratislava. After a trip that took a little more than an hour we arrived in the centre of Bratislava. We went to the Central Bank of Slovakia where we got a lecture about their activities. After this formal activity it was time for the “Crazy-88”. We were split up into teams with the goal to get as many points as possible. At 12:00 we started and we had till 17:00. Every group was very fanatic and a lot of people lost all of their mb’s of that month trying to send their evidence to the jury. It was a great experience. From eating raw eggs till doing the Habiba challenge, eating a big mac within 30 seconds and doing a boot; it all passed by during the crazy-88. Like it was not crazy enough we went to an Irish pub where we could drink half a liters for under 2 euros. After this we had a great dinner together and went back to the bus. Well at least everyone did but 2 people who ran through half of Bratislava to get some beers for that night. We ended the night with playing some card games and drinking beer at the hostel.
29th March – Friday
The last formal day of the trip. We were expected at ten o’clock at the Dutch embassy in Vienna. We arrived well in time just to figure out that we were at the wrong address. We had to be at the residence of the ambassador and not at the actual embassy. A little bit late we arrived at the ambassador’s house where we were welcomed warmly with something to eat and drink. The ambassador and his colleagues had a small speech prepared after which we could go to them personally to ask questions. The group participated very heavily and we found out that two of his colleagues used to study at Radboud University. After this wonderful experience we went to the United Nations. We had to go through customs just like in an airport. We got another lecture about all the tasks and ideas of the UN where we could ask a lot of questions, and which we did. After this lecture we got a small tour through the UN building after which we went back to our hostel and had dinner at night with the whole group. Here we heard who won the crazy 88, we totally agree that the best team won ;). To end the last day with formal activities on a good note we went to a turkish club where we partied all night. At this Turkish club two of the ESV members earned a spot in the hearthbook of the ESV.
30th March – Saturday
Because there were no formal activities planned we only had to gather at 10:30. We got a tour through the city and after this tour we could choose to go sightseeing in the city or to go enjoy a cold beer on a terrace in the sun. It was a very nice afternoon where everybody could do what they wanted to do. That night the cocktail night was planned. We went to a tropical restaurant where they served cocktails and we ended there our last night of the trip with a speech and a thank you to the committee. After this a small group decided to go to the city to enjoy the last night, but most of them were quite shocked when they were waiting for the tram and saw the time go from 2:00 to 3:00. But this could not stop us and when the sun almost came up we went back to the hostel to get a few hours of sleep.
31th March – Sunday
The last day of the study trip already. What did the time go by fast. This morning we visited the palace of Schönbrunn from the well-known movie ‘Sisi’. We walked through the giant gardens and went up the mountain to have a beautiful view over the city. At 14:00 we gathered at a nice bar in the city to have our last drink together. We went back to the hostel, took our suitcases and went to Vienna Airport. When we were back at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport we said goodbye to each other and left in a flixbus back to Nijmegen.
It was a great trip where we visited a lot of companies had a lot of drinks and met a lot of new people. It was a journey to never forget.