no matter where you go, there you are

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the beginning of the end

Anne and I get to Vienna late and we travel to her dorm via a series of subway and tram cars. The best part of the trek was a kebab place called "Sultan Imbiss" and their logo is the Sultan from Aladdin. Amazing.

At the dorm we settle in, I get to catch up on lack of internet capabilities and to bed we finally go. We decide Anne and I will share her twin bed because the floor is tile and I'd rather not sleep on it. In the morning, Anne puts her foot down and says she had a bad night sleeping and I will have to endure the floor for the next couple of nights. I slept fine in the bed, well as fine as it ever is with 2 people in a twin, but whatever...

Since Vienna is where Anne had been living the last few months, I didn't spend any time beforehand looking at things to do. I glanced at it, didn't like the high admission charges on everything, and decided Anne will tell me what is good and worthy to see. I also didn't want to plan too much cuz my sightseeing was dependent on Anne's schedule since we were going to go places together. We departed the train at Stephensplatz, the downtown of Vienna. Strolling through this popular, ritzy shopping district what hit me immediately was all the architecture and high-end designs on statues and around buildings. It's all very consistent and beautiful. The detail in the carvings, the gold highlights; it's magnificent.

We first went to the Kindermuseum (Art Museum). Except for the museums in Paris where my pass was accepted, I'd avoided art museums for the most part because they had the pricier admission fees and if I didn't know of anything inside, I didn't want to spend the money. I may have missed out some, but I was on budget. This one was really neat and quite large. In the Lourve I'd spent most of my time in the non-painting galleries so for the Kindermuseum I was going to start with the paintings. Anne wanted to see the sculptures so we split up and designated a rendevous time and location.

I don't remember any specific names of paintings but I was definitely impressed with all of them. There seemed to be a great mix of styles too; the Baroque and Venetian stood out in particular. There was a couple I really liked especially for the level of detail. The tiniest strokes had to have been used; the paintings looked like photographs they were so accurate.

one of my faves, but i can't remember the name
One in particular was a still life of flowers and the petals had teeny tiny water droplets.
if you zoom you can see the water droplets
After the museum we met up with Lauren and wandered through the Christmas Market between the art museum, and its twin, the history museum, across the way. Now that it was early December, the Christmas Markets were just everywhere, especially here in Vienna. It seemed like any place with people was bound to have a market. On the way back to Stephensplatz we passed the library whose archtecture design really impressed me. All the buildings did. If they weren't all built at the same time then they were just really good about making all the buildings similar and matching.

St. Michael's church was on the way, and one of Anne's recommedations, so we stopped inside. Anne told me this was one of her favorite organs she'd seen, and it was pretty cool.

Next was St. Peter's, a church one of my best friends had been to before and decided it was where she wanted to get married. I liked it, but it wasn't jaw-droppingly awesome for me. The pews and pulpit were of note and the dove in the dome was really interesting too. Moreso when I saw it in the dome of Karlskirche later on in my visit.

Aman Hof was another church we wandered into. It had a very simple exterior, blending in with the surrounding buildings. The interior was plain but the pulpit impressed me.

Last but not least was St. Stephen's in the heart of Stephensplatz. The Notre Dame of Vienna, this gorgoeus cathedral, though partially under scaffolding, held so much potential for my enjoyment. The church has 2 unsymmetrical towers which I hadn't seen before and it had a very gothic exterior. I don't know about inside since I didn't see much of it.

I guess I'm partially to blame for being so cheap and not wanting to pay for the audio guide, but it's kind of dumb for the biggest church in Vienna to require an audio guide to visit and explore 75% of the place. The rest of the public area was limited and you couldn't see much of anything. Not to mention the masses of people and the lack of crowd control. If you know me, I don't like disorganization and I don't like crowds of people so I hated this.

vienna staatsoper
We left quickly and walked through all the shopping, and all the intense decorations, to a very famous Wienerschnitzel restaurant. The wienerschnitzel was really good and putting lemon juice on it was even better. The best part was the magical potato salad served with it. Definitely a meal worth the price.
its like Target took over
The rest of the evening was devoted to Christmas Markets. I think these markets must have originated in Vienna; or maybe because Vienna seemed to be a more classy, ritzy city they have more money to put into the markets, but each market seemed to get beter. The selection was better with a lot more variety than others. And its where I found my moose/reindeer. Between the ornaments or just decorative pieces for your Christmas filled household, each reindeer I found got cuter and cuter. They were irresistible; and it took 2 more days of reasoning and decision making to decide I wanted to buy them all. They now sit on my desk looking cute as ever.

The second of the markets we went to my first night there was the Rathaus Christmas Market in front of City Hall. Lit up and decorated to the hilt, City Hall was gorgeous and the Christmas atmosphere was wonderful. The windows of the hall were converted to an advent calendar so some days had revealed messages and others were still covered. Though it was getting cold it was a great night overall and even knowing that I had to sleep on the floor with a fake pillow that night didn't smother the mood.

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