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. 

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