Sunday, July 3, 2011


June 22-24
Now that I've been to Vienna, I can understand why people love it. In each new place I go, I like to spend time just walking arond the city. Vienna is a beautiful place to do that. I followed a walking tour plan that I found in the internet one afternoon. Not only did it lead me to the most famous buildings in Vienna, but to the Sacher Cafe (home of the original Sacher torte, a very rich, very good chocolate cake), and the Cafe Demel (a classy kaffee haus).

Vienna was the center of the Habsburg empire, so I learned a lot about Habsburgs from visiting Schloss Schönbrunn, the Hofsberg Imperial Apartments and silver collections, and the Capuchin Crypts. They married off their children to gain political advantages, and ruled a significant portion of Europe for some time.

One night I went to the Staatsoper and saw a performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Wien Staatsoper. I found yet another use for my scarf here - reserving stehplätze at the opera. It's one of the most used items I've brought with me - not only does it keep away wind when it's cold out, but also makes a good hat in the rain, a towel to dry your face after the rain (when I forget it's in my bag), a cardigan in the evening, a skirt for visiting churches and cathedrals when wearing shorts, and it makes a boring outfit a little classier when I'm trying to blend in with those stylish Europeans. Anyway, the opera was very good.

Another night, I went to a concert in Peterskirche. The concert was a collection of Mozart, Handel, Schubert, and Hadyn pieces performed by an organist, a baritone, and a mezzo soprano. The performers were behind the audience in the balcony of the church, hidden behind the organ. Without being able to see the performers, it let me experience the concert more with other senses. Sitting on the wooden pews allows you to feel the vibrations, especially from the organ, and without seeing the performers, I was more aware of the sound and how it travels. The baritone voice completely fills the lower portion of the church, while the soprano voice soared to the top of the cupola to fill the entire ceiling. It was a fantastic way to experience music, and the rendition of Ave Maria was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

Vienna also reminded me how much I appreciate simple things like washing machines and dryers. I like having a whole bag of clean clothes again. Even though the machines in Europe are even more expensive to use than the already overpriced machines in my apartment's basement back home. Another little thing I enjoyed here, were the video screens that showed news, weather, and funny commercials while you were waiting for your train on the subway. That little monster in the picture is in most of the commercials.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Salzburg and cities in Italy, Vienna felt like a place I could enjoy living in. At the very least, I'd like to spend a few more days here next time.

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