Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the hills are alive

This past weekend was the last of my traveling in Europe and I am very glad I chose to visit some friends from Gettysburg in Vienna, Austria. And while I didn't get to see the hills from the Sound of Music, I still had a marvelous time. 

enjoying some schnitzel
I started my weekend in Vienna with an early evening flight out of Copenhagen, arriving at the airport in Vienna around 20:40, where I met my friend Danny. We headed off for dinner with some other friends to a little restaurant near their apartment, which was located in the Turkish area of the city. I had my first wiener schnitzel, which was delicious! We also went to a local bar called the Kangaroo Bar, which specialized in beers, boasting over 150 options. I decided to try a Belgium fruit beer, and was not disappointed. My friend was a little more adventurous and tasted a chocolate beer, which turned out to not be such a good idea after all. 

After that came a day of exploring the city, which was more decked out for Christmas than Copenhagen is (I know, it's hard to believe). There was a Christmas market selling homemade crafts and treats every few blocks. I went to see the Parliament building and the State Hall, as well as various other buildings, including the Hofburg Palace and Stephansdom, a gorgeous Gothic masterpiece. The massive towers and colorful roof of the Stephansdom are supposed to depict the Hapsburg crown. 

State Hall and Christmas market 


Lunch was at an cool brewery called 1516, where luckily all the wait staff spoke great english. The coasters there are actually post cards that you can send to people. So cool! I tried an Austrian kräuter soda (called Almdudler), which tasted like ginger ale mixed with apple juice. A perfect combination. 

After lunch we went to wait in line for standing-room only tickets to the opera, La Bohème. The opera, written by Puccini, essentially follows a love story between Mimi (a seamstress) and Rodolfo (a poet). They fall in love at first sight, but end up parting ways because of Mimi's flirtatious nature. However, Mimi is fatally ill (probably with TB) and their love is too strong with keep them apart for long. The last act ends with Mimi's death and Rodolfo consumed with grief. The production was amazing! The performers had wonderful voices and the set itself was breathtaking, especially the opening of the third act, which was an outdoor scene complete with snow and trees. The audience started applauding the set as soon as the curtain opened. 

On my final day in Vienna, I ventured to the Schönbrunn Palace, which has gardens that are said to rival those in Versailles (too bad I didn't see them in bloom). The palace grounds had a great Christmas market where I was able to do some shopping for family and friends at home. Also on the palace grounds were the Fountain of Nepture and the Gloriette, which was built to commemorate the return of Prague to Habsburg rule in 1775. The view of the city from the Gloriette is one of the best in Vienna. 

Schönbrunn Place

Me, Danny, & Madison at the Gloriette

I also had a chance to go the the Prater, which is an amusement park to rival Tivoli here in Denmark. The Prater is home to Vienna's symbolic ferris wheel, the Wiener Reisenrad, and also houses 250 other rides and attractions. The part of the park not used for rides is a peaceful green space formerly used as imperial hunting grounds. 

Madison and I having some cutout fun
the Wiener Reisenrad

That sadly concludes my too short visit to Vienna, the music capital of the world. I would recommend a visit to anyone who is passionate about classical music and wants to see where it all began. 

1 comment:

  1. You seem to have made the most out of your European tour! That view of the cityscape in your picture of the Schonbrunn Place must have taken your breath away too! I want to visit the city for their architecture - even their roofs are a sight to see!

    - Kristopher Diss