Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eisenstadt, Karlskirche and the Schönbrunn zoo

Sorry everyone, I've been really bad about updating this! Here's some neat things I've gotten to do since I last posted.

Two weeks ago our whole group took a day trip to Eisenstadt, the city where the composer Haydn lived. Haydn spent a large portion of his life living with the Esterhazy royalty as their composer. This was their estate.

The whole town was really, really beautiful.

The exhibit in the house where Haydn lived had this wallpaper...who wouldn't want that decorating their bedroom??
The Esterhazy's literal family tree.

A cool and really morbid story about Haydn:

A few days after Haydn was buried, some "scientists" stole his head (yes, just the head) to do some experiments on it. They had this theory that there are certain parts of the brain for certain talents and if you're really good at something, that part of your brain is bigger. So they bribed the graveyard guards and cut off his head and took it home. According to the records of these grave robbers, the stench of the rotting head was so bad that one of the guys threw up in the carriage. Meanwhile, Prince Esterhazy decided to move Haydn's remains to the family tomb which is when he realized that something was missing. He knew who did it but the thieves were just too witty and sneaky so they somehow managed to not give the head back for their whole lives. Haydn's head got passed down through several generations before it was finally reunited with his body in the 1950's. So much for "rest in peace". 

Haydn's casket.
 A creepy abandoned graveyard we found.

Yesterday we went to the St. Charles' Church or Karlskirche. 

Here's what it looks like when it's actually nice out!

Some scaffolding was installed inside the church so that people could clean and fix up the art on the ceiling, but someone figured out that you could charge money to let people go to the top and get a closer look. Needless to say, the elevator and scaffolding have been around for a while now. I have an intense fear of heights so venturing to the very top of the dome was kind of a nightmare for me but it was worth it! The view from the top was gorgeous. 

A little warning before you go to the very VERY top. "Screaming is uncool!"
Don't look down...
240 feet in the air! Not pictured: me about to burst into tears just seconds before this photo was taken. 

And then today! Today I went to the zoo at the Schönbrunn palace, the oldest zoo in the world. Back in the time of Francis I, Maria Theresia really wanted to eat breakfast in the pavilion in the gardens of her palace. But not only did she want people to take her and her food out to the gardens every morning, but she wanted to look at exotic animals while she ate. Hence, the birth of the Schönbrunn zoo. The pavilion now sits in between thirteen pie shaped animal exhibits making a complete circle. 

And now, a billion pictures of the zoo!

Me chasing around the majestic white peacock, what did you expect?

I just couldn't get over the fact that one was on the roof.

Serious about zebras.

Don't you just want to take all of these guys home with you?? I love the zoo so much. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Everything I did in the last week

I've been so busy this week that I didn't have time to post anything here. So here's a recap of what I've been up to.


My fine arts class took a field trip to the museum of the Romans. I learned that two-thirds of inner city Vienna is build right on top of where Vindobona used to be. Apparently the owners of a building were clearing out their basement and found a ton of rubble, which turned out to be parts of ancient Roman houses. That building was turned into this museum, where we learned a lot about the culture and art of ancient Rome. Here's one of the only good photos I got. This is the floor of a house and the little pillars act as a heating system. Hot air was pumped into the space between the ground and the floor which warmed up the whole house. The Romans were really clever architects.

Tour of the Staadtsoper

The Staadtsoper is one of the main opera houses of Vienna and it's directly across the street from my school! I haven't been to an opera there yet, but our group got the chance to have a tour of it. The Opernball is coming up soon, which involves removing all the seats from the theater and turning it into a huge dance floor. Tickets to this cost upwards of 200 euro and that doesn't even include seating for the opening ceremonies. I'm hoping I'll be able to watch it on tv because I heard it's AMAZING.

My Fair Lady

Last night I went to see My Fair Lady at the Volksoper. We bought the cheapest tickets available which were only 2 euro but were for standing room at the very very top of the theater. Luckily the show didn't sell out so we ended up getting to sit. The show was really neat; it was in German but it wasn't too hard to follow along. And the show itself was incredible!

The Vienna Woods

This morning Paige and I walked all the way down a trail in the Vienna Woods and found out that it leads to a clear view of the mountains and a huge field. It's so pretty so I'm going to bring my camera next time. It was quite a workout though, especially because it's -15 C right now. The wind doesn't help either. My hands and face are numb after just a few minutes of being outside and my hair froze solid this morning when I went out while it was still damp. I can't remember ever being in weather this cold! In fact, I just read in the news that at least 220 people have died in Europe this year because of factors related to th weather. And it's only supposed to get worse this weekend! Wish me luck...

What I get to walk past every day on my way to school.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

fine art and street art

Today some friends and I visited the Kunsthistorisches museum, or the museum of art history and it was BREATHTAKING. Seriously, I've never seen anything like it. Not even counting the artifacts themselves, just the building alone was awesome.

The displays inside were incredible as well but I'll let the pictures speak for that!

My favorite thing in the whole entire museum.
We all agreed that if we could live anywhere, we would definitely live right inside this museum. I'm only posting my favorite pictures but it took at least two hours to see everything. I can't wait to go back.

While we're on the subject of art, Vienna has a lot of really neat street art (Banksy had one of his first exhibitions here!) and there are actually quite a few places where graffiti is legal. 

One of my favorite pieces so far.

I'm making it my goal to visit all of the famous street art locations while I'm here and maybe even add something myself! I'll be sure to take lots of pictures so stay tuned.