Oh the places we go..

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
Trip End Feb 05, 2010

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Flag of Austria  , Wien,
Thursday, January 14, 2010

I've tried to assimilate to the Viennese culture here as much as possible. Even though I sometimes wind up on a street different than the one I intended, I rather not pull out my map and show my ignorance. I think I’m learning about the layout better by venturing off the main roads and find the quaint shops and exquisite details that make each street unique.

I have had a great time trying different types of cuisines here, we had a nice dinner at a Greek place Friday night, had falafels at Nascht Markt (which is similar to Reading Terminal), and have already tried some of their delicious chocolate treats. After a really great first weekend here in Vienna, we began our second week of classes. So far we are learning about the musical and personal backgrounds of famous Austrian composers such as Haydn, Bruckner, and Beethoven. We took the street car to the Upper Belvedere which used to be a Prince’s guest home. There is an incredible art collection of sculptures and paintings. We had a guided tour which featured information on the Biedermeier lifestyle and Klimt’s work. I enjoyed walking around the snow covered gardens and imagining what life was like hundreds of years ago in this expansive palace.

I’m beginning to become used to the routine of taking the subway two stops from near the Institute to my apartment if it is cold. It is a strange feeling though, being illiterate of the language that most people walking down the street are speaking. I like how they take pride in how they are presented, even their dogs are dressed up nicely, keep their city clean, safe, and are careful not to be wasteful.

I climbed to the top of the St. Steven’s cathedral, all 67 meters up to the lookout tower. It was reminiscent of when we hiked up the stairs of churches in Rome, Florence, and Venice. The people below looked like ants going about their business while trying not to get lost. I could just make out the foothills of Vienna in the distance (which is why the city was founded here because of its flat location and closeness to the Danube River). In the evening, we fancied ourselves up to go to the Musikverin, a beautiful venue for the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. We heard a Bruckner piece that was serene.

Most currently, we saw one of Beethoven’s houses (he lived in 67 apartments in Vienna). It was cool to see where he might have composed some of his great masterpieces. More fun things to come!
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