Radiating Sunshine: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Drinking Abroad

So, as I promised earlier this week here is the "drinking" post... I have spent over a month in Europe and have realized that drinking is truly apart of the culture here. There are no open container policies and the drinking age is sixteen, but drinking is viewed differently here. Sure, you'll have your clubs and bars but, for the most part drinking is a social activity. So, no "turn down for what" stories will be found in this post-- i'm sorry to disappoint!

So, I thought I would start this post off by discussing the struggle to find 'still' water and to find free water... I'm not a fan of sparkling water or seltzer (never have, and never will) anyways, I'm all about still or tap wasser (water). So, for the first few days like the idiot I am I paid for water... then I discovered I can fill up my water bottles at fountains with drink symbols... and the number of gelatos I was able to have increased significantly. While in Europe you usually can't just order water for free like in the States, most of the time it costs anywhere from 70 cents to three euros depending if it comes from a fancy bottle, like the one you see above. Anyways, I stopped paying for water 4 weeks ago and have loved it!
So, while studying abroad I discovered my favorite beer, the Hofbrauhaus (From Munich). I only had this beer one time while in Germany but, as soon as I tasted it I knew it was meant to be... my other favorite beer would probably have to be the Stiegl Grapefruit Radler! I'm gonna miss that beer so much. 
I love having tea in Europe! It comes on a cute little tray and usually has freshly steamed milk on the side. I kind of like how it is really fancy and I feel so sophisticated when I drink it.

But, if we're gonna talk about sophistication then the champaign at the opera definitely takes the cake! I don't know what the champagne was called but, it was definitely one of the best champagnes I have ever had. It was so good I want to serve it at my very very very future wedding. Anyways, I guess for 6 euros a glass it better be pretty darn good. 

The coffee has been on point! I literally have loved having coffee so regularly... I didn't think anything could out do my classic coffee with some french vanilla creamer but, boy Europe has knocked me off my feet. I'm gonna miss my daily cappuccinos more than anything! Plus, I really like heart shaped things <3
At dinner in Bolzano we ordered a Weissburgunder white wine and it was so delicious! I loved it so much I bought my own bottle. The next day I went to a wine tasting and I learned that the Prunar is from a local cantina. 

If you saw my post about Bolzano, then you know that finding my way to the cantina/winery was quite the adventure... but the wine we tasted definitely made up for it! We tasted 8 different wines and ended with a delicious moscato. 
I've given so much love to wine in this post, so now it is time to switch to beer. While in Europe I have tried many different beers, and let me just say Austrian beer kicks American beer to the curb. I know you might get mad at me for saying that and feel free to call me un-American, but nothing can beat a classic Stiegl beer. But, I must say I'm not a huge fan of the wheat beers. I think they are just a little to dense and thick for me. I also have a great coaster collection that I can't wait to create something super cute with. 

The eizcaffe have also been on point. Its like a coffee milkshake and I can't get enough of them! They often come with little cookies on top and they are so delectable. This eizcaffe was taken in Vienna at the famous Cafe Demel and that was probably one of my favorites I've had while here. But, the eizcaffes are really sweet so if you're a black coffee drinking I wouldn't recommend it. 
We've had several picnics outside our school and usually people bring cheese, sausage, and wine! So, we have been quite classy drinking our 2 euro merlots in a plastic cups. These have been some of the best and cheapest dinners I have had while in Europe and I'm gonna miss it so much when I go home. 
And last but not least I wanted to include the post with a traditional and only found in Salzburg beer, called the Augustiner. The Augustiner is a brewery that was originally founded by monks in Salzburg. They have a beautiful beer garden and I have made so many great memories sitting out under the beautiful green trees with a liter of beer. If you're ever in Salzburg, I definitely recommend you check out this place... they also sell really good food so, it's a double win!
I loved the wine in Europe and I loved knowing that the wine I was drinking came from vineyards within walking distance, but I'm definitely going to miss the beer. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a liquor store that sells Stiegl in the US, otherwise I might go through withdrawal :p

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eating Abroad

So, I'm gonna apologize up front... if you a) don't like food b) are hungry and seeing food may torture you c) don't like long blog posts with pictures or d) all of they above then this post is not for you... 

but, if you are okay with seeing delicious pictures of food and my take on eating abroad then feel free to grab a snack and hang out for awhile :) oh and I'll be doing a "Drinking Abroad" post too, so look for that in the next few days!
The apfel studel has definitely been my go to dessert! Combine that with some vanilla gelato and you have my favorite meal hands down. I even got an apfel studel recipe so, I can bake some for my family and J!
(Taken on top of Untersberg after exploring the mountain)
Sausages... studying abroad in Austria has been a little brutal in the category! I'm not the biggest fan of sausage and when every meat you taste reminds you of the sausage you had for dinner, you start to get a little sick of it! But, I've kind of have found an appreciation for sausage and I've been enjoying the 3 euro dinners. 
One thing I have loved is all the fresh markets that are available in the cities! It really makes me wish I lived here because I would just buy fresh produce every day. 
The struggle to find vegetables has been real... I have a new found appreciation for salads and just fresh vegetables!
(Taken at a local restaurant)
and whenever a restaurant serves vegetable dumplings... you must always get them because they are delicious!
(Taken at restaurant on Fortress)
I'm a soup fanatic at home and it has been such a treat to try the different soups over here! The one in this picture was the garlic cream soup and it was divine. (Taken in Vienna)
Going out all the time is expensive and we only get served breakfast at AIS, so my lunches have included grapes, cheese and crackers, apples, nutella sandwiches, etc. But, you would be amazed how much 5 euros can buy you from the local billa (grocery store)!
pizza pizza pizza! The best pizza was definitely in Italy (no shocker there) but, I did try pizza in Salzburg and Vienna too!
Also, one thing I did learn here is that the pepperoni pizza is an American idea and in Europe they serve salami as their pepperoni pizza and their margherita pizza is basically a cheese pizza; kind of cool all the pizza culture differences!
I loved all the food we had in Italy! Including this delicious mozzarella penne dish... this was my last meal in Bolzano and I definitely wouldn't have had it any other way! Oh and add a cup of parmesan and I'm golden. 
My favorite meal of the trip was schnitzel... whether it came with french fries (pommes), fried potatoes, spätzle, or potato salad it was always so good! I'm definitely a big fan of the lemon and cranberry on top combo as well.
(Taken at Humboldt in Salzburg)
This is what my breakfast looked like... I'm really starting to miss scrambled eggs but, with a fresh cappuccino every day and really fresh rolls it can't get much better than that! (Taken at AIS)
GELATO... I seriously won't use a public bathroom because I would rather spend money on gelato. I have loved every flavor and I'm gonna miss gelato so much. (Taken in Vienna)
My favorite soup is the Salzburger Potato Soup served at the Humboldt. I also have the recipe for potato soup that I'm gonna try out, but it probably won't be as good as this soup is! 
And you can't go abroad without trying their fast food! Not gonna lie McDonalds is ten times better over here and the tomatoes that come on the sandwiches actually look real! I think I've eaten McDonalds more often in the past month than I have in the past year. (Taken in Salzburg)
The dish you see above is called Tröler Gröst and is a Austrian classic! I honestly only ordered it for the egg on top but, it wasn't that bad. It is definitely not something I would order often, because it was just smothered in butter and oil. But, maybe after a long day skiing or a really cold winter night I imagine this meal would warm you right up!
I've also tried some local kebab places... and I must say I'm a big fan of the mystery meat (I'm pretty sure its lamb) but for three euros it is pretty much the simplest dinner I've ever had! Cheap and cheerful is the way too life.  
Also, I'm sorry if you've gotten to the bottom of this post and are really disappointed by the lack of chocolate in this post! I promise I've tried European chocolate and I love it, I just never think to take a picture of it because I'm to busy eating it... but, if I had to choose my favorite chocolate so far it would probably be the Fürst Chocolate Balls that I got a few weeks back. They were perfect and I'm definitely gonna bring home some chocolate for my family!

I have loved trying so many new things while I've been abroad. I've realized that I'm really glad I'm not a vegetarian because I think I would starve to death over here. I have also discovered that if I never eat another lunch meat sandwich for the rest of my life that would be okay. I'm definitely gonna miss all the fresh and unprocessed food when I move back home... but, for now I'm gonna eat as much of the Austrian food as I can get my hands on!

Oh, and when I do get home I think I'm gonna request that my first meal be Chick-Fil-A because I miss good ole' chicka so badly!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I've Fallen In Love With Italy

So, this past week I spent a few days in Bolzano, Italy and I'm pretty sure Italy is one of my favorite places. One thing I loved about Bolzano was it's rich history. Bolzano is a city in Northern Italy and has both Italian and German speakers present! The city is kind of a mixed area in the sense that on one street you would see the Austrian flag waving or find a little german themed restaurant and then the next block down the Italian flag would be waving and there are pizzerias everywhere. 

It was kind of cool observing how two different cultures can come and work together. Even the majority of the city's residents spoke German and Italian. Another really interesting thing about Bolzano is the presence of Fascist monuments. I originally thought that the city would have torn them all down, but the city recognizes the past and continues to educate others on it. 

Oh and the city was covered in little gelato stands, so I basically was in heaven. I think my favorite flavor I tried there was caffe, but I am slowly realizing that every flavor of gelato I have encountered has been delicious.

Bolzano is kind of in a valley with mountains surrounding it! So, on the first day we took a cable car up to one of the mountains and relaxed in a valley as we took in the amazing views. It was so relaxing to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the solitude of mountain meadow. I love the city but, I definitely am a country girl. 

One of my favorite parts of the trip to Bolzano was the wine tasting at the local Cantina. All the wines we tried came from local farm's grapes and I loved them all. I think my favorite was the pinot bianco and the two red wines (santa maddalena classico and lagrein greiser) tied for second! We also finished off the tasting with vinalia moscato and that was out of this world!

I think the wine tasting was so perfect because it was a lot of work to get there! I decided to stray from the group in order to take advantage of an incredible buy one get one t-shirt deal in one of the local Italian stores. I knew the basic direction of the winery and I had a map so, I was pretty confident in how to get there. Well, after 30 minutes of walking and asking people along the way who could only pointed me in directions of wine shops I decided to give up and walk back to the hotel.

I kept praying that I would just find someone I knew but, the majority of people I did know were at the winery so, the odds were definitely against me. But, as soon as I rounded a corner I saw the director of my program and he and two other chaperones ended up helping me find the winery and stayed to taste the wines. The wine tasting itself cost five euros and for the amount of wine we tasted, it was definitely a deal in my book!

When I did finally arrive at the winery (only a minute late), my friend Noelle looks up at me and was like "Alex, after all of our turns down different streets I was almost positive you weren't gonna make it." And for awhile, I was almost positive I wasn't gonna make it too. But, God always has a plan and with a few prayers to Him, I knew I would be safe regardless of what happened.

We stayed at Stadt Hotel Cittá and it was beautiful! It honestly might be one of my favorite hotels I've ever stayed in. The breakfast was delicious. The offered soft boiled eggs, croissants, the best watermelon, different cheeses, meats, salmon, and mimosas!

The hotel also offered wifi (which, if you've read some of my past posts has been pretty hard to come by) and free water (which, is also really hard to come by). Oh and don't even get my started on the slippers! They gave us the cutest slippers and combine that with the air conditioning in the hotel room and I'm a very happy camper.

Oh and did I mention they had bidets in the bathroom? Yeah, I didn't really use it properly but, it was a great foot washer... and definitely beat sticking my leg in the shower!

I definitely loved the trip to Bolzano. I don't know if it was because of the wine and the great pasta dishes or it was because of the beautiful city and hotel but, it honestly couldn't get much better than that! I'm so glad I got to see Italy and if I ever have a chance to come back to Europe, I'm definitely gonna explore Italy further.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Weekend in Vienna

View from our hotel room <3
I spent this past weekend in Vienna, Austria! I had always wanted to travel to Vienna, ever since I watched 'The Sound of Music' and the classy Baroness Schraeder was from there. Anyways, Vienna definitely lived up to my expectations. It was no Salzburg that is for sure...Vienna was huge and I'm proud to say that it only took me the three and a half days I spent there to master their einbahn (train/subway) system.

I think one of my favorite parts of the city was the architecture. All of the buildings I saw were just beyond beautiful. Even their department stores looked wonderfully designed, they had this immaculate three story forever 21 and I was basically in love. The building you see below is the Hofburg, where the Imperial Palace is located. And yes, the sky did look that picture perfect.

On Friday morning (in Salzburg), we all woke up early and bused it to the train station. We took a Westbahn train to Vienna, Austria and that was probably one of the best travel experiences of my life. Not only were the seats really comfortable but, we got wifi and there was a free bathroom. So, what is not to love? I was telling Noelle that if they had a train like this that could take me back to MD I wouldn't be mad.

After we arrived and got settled in Vienna, we just explored the streets! Then, a few of us went to wait in line to get tickets for the Vienna State Opera. After waiting in line for about 3 hours we got our awesome standing room tickets for only 4 euros! We were the first people in line so we were guaranteed front row standing space.

Grettl Brenna and I at the opera!
The opera we saw was Mozart's Magic Flute! I actually loved the opera. It was in German but, they had a little machine that translated everything into English which was beyond helpful. If you haven't seen the Magic Flute it is definitely worth your time. It is a nice little story about finding love and the hero rescuing his true love... very cliche but, very cute! It also had some Freemasons imagery in the opera which, was really cool.

During intermission we got delicious champagne and small hors 'dourvres. The champagne was right on point and although I don't usually spend 6 euros on a drink, this one was worth it! Like I want to drink that champagne at my wedding, that's how much I loved it!
My favorite hors d'œuvre was the brie and blueberry bite on the far right! 
Seeing the opera was probably one of my favorite parts of my trip to Vienna... there was only one issue! Although standing room was cheap and 'glamorous', my feet hurt so bad I thought they were going to fall off. I wore flats and I was still miserable. I think it was a combination of all the walking and the standing, but by the time the opera was over I just plopped down on the floor.

Later that night Noelle and I had made plans to just stay in and rest our feet but, then we suddenly found ourselves all done up and headed out to a club. Our feet already hurt but, the dancing was worth it. We found one dance floor that played a mix of English/ German music and we majorly jammed! The club had a deal that if you paid 13 euro you got into the club and got a 20 euro voucher for drinks. Some parts of the night were really sketchy but, I'm really glad I went. I don't know if I would ever go back to a club like that (not really my scene) but, I'm glad I had the experience!
First jägerbomb... not the biggest fan, but at least I tried it!
On Saturday, we toured the Imperial Palace. We saw all the silverware that the Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi owned. Let me just say, there were four huge rooms full of silverware. They had plates for every occasion and just the amount of detail on these items was marvelous. Kind of made me wish I could be invited to one of their dinner parties!

After touring the silverware chambers (i'm sure they had a more luxurious title, I just can't remember it) we went upstairs to the Imperial Palace's apartments. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures so, I can't show you the beauty of these living quarters. We listened to a little headset that explained each exhibit in English. I have to say the Empress' dresses and bedroom were probably my favorite exhibits to look at. I also enjoyed the random chairs they had placed throughout the walking tour... my technique was to sit at one and listen to 5 of the exhibit clips while resting my feet. 

After touring the Imperial Palace, me and some girls went outside to find somewhere to eat and discovered it was raining. We had no raincoats so, we just sprinted through the rain. Everyone says you always get more wet if you run through the rain, but walking through the rain is just awful... so, I'm forever going to run regardless of whether you get more wet or not! The sun finally came out and when it did we found the cutest little pub to eat at. 

It was literally a hole in the wall restaurant but, it was so cute inside and the food was so yummy! I decided to be a little wild and try something new! So, instead of getting schnitzel which, is always an easy go-to meal option; I got garlic and cream soup. The soup came with little croutons and bacon in it! All of the soups I have tried over here have been amazing and I'm definitely gonna write a post later this week that strictly covers what I eat over here (disclosure: my body rejects meat now and I will do anything for an egg sandwich)

On Saturday night we headed over to Prater, this amusement park in Vienna. It was the cutest little place and apparently was built on the old imperial hunting grounds. We just walked around and some of us went on some rides. There was this one ride called the Black Mamba and it was this spinning-up-and-down crazy 4 minute wild adventure that was definitely worth the 5 euro we spent to ride it. 

Now, if I were to write in every recap when I had gelato you would basically be reading a post that went blah, blah, gelato, blah, blah, gelato, gelato, blah, gelato, blah so I decided I would just mention here that I had gelato several times in Vienna! I think my favorite flavor of gelato thus far on the entire trip has been the Cookies flavor. I can't really relate it back to anything in the USA but, it is so delicious... I think vanilla or strawberry would tie for second!

On Sunday I went to mass at the Cathedral. The whole mass was very traditional and I couldn't understand one part of it! It is so interesting to me how they do masses differently over here. After mass, we got lost trying to find the Secession Art exhibit, which was quite the experience. We were so confident in the direction we chose and then finally when our confidence started to dwindle we asked a police officer who basically said we walked in the wrong direction. 

We finally found the Secession Art Exhibit and it was really cool to see some modern art that depicted one of Mozart's Symphonies. I must admit that I'm not the biggest modern art fan. I think it is really cool and I totally appreciate it but, I have seen far too many naked women frescoes for my liking. One thing I thought that was really awesome was at the end, the piece depicted that a human finds joy in someone else... so, we as humans find happiness through others!

This is the view from the famous Viennese Ferris Wheel! We got to watch the sunset from the top and it was just one of those moments that I wish I could have captured and stayed in for forever! 

Things not pictured from the trip:
- the scrambled eggs I managed to get my hands on for breakfast
- watching several World Cup games at different bars
- all of the goodies I consumed while on a Cafe Crawl
- the delicious Melon Mint mixed drink I had at a bar
- sleeping in several public places like the line for the opera

I feel like I did so much while in Vienna! I was only there for three and a half days and as I wrote this post I had such a hard time remembering what I did and when I did it! Vienna was beautiful but, I was ready to go home to Salzburg. I'm definitely a Salzburger at heart... well, also an American girl at heart too!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It Would Be Unfair If I Didn't Share

So, my last few days in Austria have been amazing. I'm honestly starting to think I won't ever not say that. The country has totally wooed me! It has been really hot here the past few days, so I'm hoping it will cool down a little! I've been trying to do the whole 'wear pants out of respect' thing, but I think tomorrow I'm going to give up and put on some shorts. 

On Friday the group and I did a church crawl! We toured three different churches and all were very unique. We probably could of toured so many more because Salzburg is covered in Catholic churches but, we stuck with the three main ones for now!

The first which you see below is the Salzburg Cathedral. The Cathedral itself was originally founded in 774, but since that time has been renovated by various Archbishops and was restored after it almost burnt down. The Cathedral is very lavish and is beyond beautiful. 

Unfortunately, the majority of the church was blocked off because they were preparing for a conference/ festival and they added purple and green lights to illuminate it for something! I'm hoping to attend mass there at least once while I'm here. 

The second church was St. Peter's Abbey. It was originally a Benedictine monastery and is considered one of the oldest German speaking monasteries! The Abbey was founded in 696 and was very beautiful. Along the sides of the church were individual chapels that were often dedicated to a family or a certain saint. While we were there they were preparing for a wedding-- check out those flower arrangements!

The final church was the Franciscan Church. The church resembled gothic art and was then later restored to resemble baroque style of art. Personally I didn't prefer this church! I just thought it was a little to dark for my liking, but I know others absolutely loved it, so I guess it's just a matter of opinion.

After touring the different churches some of us went up to the top of one of the mountains to visit the Salzburg Fortress! We paid 11 euros for a ride up to the top and a ticket for a tour of the Fortress and boy was it worth it. The view was absolutely stunning. I had spinach dumplings and a salad for lunch, which is probably the healthiest meal I have had since I arrived in Austria. AIS doesn't have a kitchen for us to use, so we buy a lot of groceries that come in the form of ham and cheese sandwiches! But, on a side note I am hoping to go to the billa (grocery store) and pick up some carrots and other various vegetables this week sometime. Anyways, the spinach dumplings were delicious! It was definitely a texture thing, but it was a recommended dish and it wasn't sausage or expensive, so I was happy.

After lunch, the six of us went up into the fortress and went on a tour of the Festung Hohensalzburg, which was built in 1077. They gave us audio headsets so we could listen in English and we learned so much about the fortress and why and how it was used! We even saw a marionette exhibit.

It was the perfect day for touring the fortress! As I mentioned in my last post, Noelle (2nd to the left) and I had walked everywhere the day before so our feet were still recovering but, even though we were wiped out we still really enjoyed exploring such an old and authentic part of Salzburg. 

After walking around the fortress for a few hours we went to Der Gastgarten for a Stiegl and a pretzel. It was literally the most refreshing way to end a day spent walking. I even tried my first Stiegl Radler, which is beer and grapefruit juice. It was actually really refreshing. It is also low in calories not that I'm counting or anything... I only live in a world that pretty much serves protein and carbs at every meal, so... 

This picture was from where we sat at the beer garden! We ended up staying and talking for several hours and it was so nice just enjoying this view and watching the sun go down. 

On Saturday, some of us decided to go on a little adventure. The goal was to go to Innsbruck, Austria but when we got to the train station we realized that it was 87 euros to get there and that wasn't in the budget. Instead we decided to try some place new and headed to Berchtesgaden, Germany. 

Berchtesgaden is in the Germany Bavarian alps so you can only imagine the view we had while we were there! It is pretty close to the Austrian border and was only like an hour bus ride from the Salzburg train station. Once in Berchtesgaden we did some exploring and meandering around. We did a little bit of shopping and I bought the cutest dress! I'm hoping to wear it next weekend in Vienna but, it is very unique and authentic. Berchtesgaden also had a collection of beautiful churches and even I found my favorite church (thus far) there as well! 

Pretty sure the church is called the Schloss Wittlesbach, but not positive! I couldn't really read the signs outside but, all I know is that I spent quite some time in this beauty. Sometimes, I wonder why the churches are so lavish. Surely, the money could go to helping others or feeding the poor? But, these churches that I'm visiting come with a very rich history-- literally. A lot of private donors spent money to build their town a beautiful church were they could worship and celebrate the Lord.

We hoped to make it up to Eagles Nest, Hitler's retreat house bu,t we never made it up there!  Plus, our school is doing an excursion there so we decided to check out a place totally new. One thing that is really interesting about Berchtesgaden is that it has a pretty rich history when it comes to World War II. Hitler sent his sister there to keep her safe and that is where she is buried today. There was also a lot of stolen art trafficking done there. 

After figuring out the bus system and everything in between we had just enough time to go to Königgesse, a little town in Berchtesgaden up in the bavarian alps. What is special about Königsse is that it has this beautiful crystal blue water lake and has an adorable little church called St. Bartholomew. 

We didn't get to go into the church because we were pressed for time, but by waiting on the little boat which toured the lake we ended up going deeper into the lake and our 35 minute, 13 euro tour soon became the 90 minute tour. It was nice because we got more time out on the water then what we paid for, but we also missed the bus back Berchtesgaden, which would take us back to the Salzburg train 
station so we could catch another bus back to town. 

So, although all the bus missing was unfortunate we got so lucky that there was a train leaving Berchtesgaden an hour after we arrived and it would take us directly to the Salzburg train station. With an hour to spare we decided to go get dinner.

I ended up discovering my favorite beer while at a little restaurant in Berchtesgaden. One sip of the Hofbräuhaus München and I was overjoyed! I'm not sure whether it was because I was ridiculously thirsty and was in the mood for a beer, but boy did the HB beer hit the spot! I will have to try it another time when I have not been walking everywhere, out in the sun, and am not desperately thirsty.

Today was a really relaxing day! A few of us went to the local Catholic church for mass, Maria's. The mass was in German but, I knew pretty much what was happening and the church was really pretty. The German mass is very different from the American mass, and as we usually do our group stuck out like sore thumbs. After mass was over, a Austrian gentleman came over and introduced me to the head of the choir who asked if I and hopefully some other Mount students would sing in the choir with them. I told her that I could barely follow along with the German songs but, she told me she could teach us all at a few rehearsals and asked if we would sing a song as an offering in English! It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Now I am not a Maria Von Trapp (or a Julie Andrews) by any means, so we will see how this goes but, she seemed really eager to teach us and we're hoping to sing Immaculate Mary which, I've known how to sing since I was like 5 so that will be cool!

That's all for now folks! This coming weekend I'll be in Vienna for three days which, I'm really excited for! I don't have any plans during the week so stay tuned for some spontaneous trips. It is going to be a hot one here in Salzburg so I think some of us are hoping to go swim in Mondsee, Austria!
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