Mozart and Company
Trip Start Jun 09, 2010
39Trip End Dec 31, 2015
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We arrived on Sunday mid-day completely and totally exhausted. Sleep was hard to come by on the plane. By the time I finally got to be Sunday night, it had been 38 hours since I’d truly slept. Needless to say, most of Sunday is a blur. We started off with a short trip up to the Kahlenberg, otherwise known as the naked mountain
Monday was a thousand times better. It’s amazing how much a difference a good night of horizontal sleep makes. Everyone in the group was back to their normal mostly happy selves, no more of the crankiness and grumpiness that was creeping it’s way in the day before. We started the day with a tour of the Schonnbrunn Palace (picture below). This was the summer residence of the Hapsburg dynasty that ruled the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire for over 600 years. Can you imagine that this was just their summer house! Over 1400 rooms in the place. One room, which was intricately tiled with wood carvings, mirrors, and elephant shaped frescoes, was valued at over $150 Million!
From Schonnbrunn, it was into the city for some time to explore. We had a nice bus tour that included a stop at the bizarrely unique Hundertwasser house (Pictures below), and architectural gem that happens to be the first environmental and ecologically friendly house to be build. The architect built several of these buildings, but this is the first and most famous. Even the bathrooms are weird, and considered modern art. The idea of the architecture was to avoid using straight lines, and instead to reflect the contours of the human body. I’m not sure exactly what I think about it all, but it was pretty cool.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around the streets of Vienna. Having been to Vienna before, I had already visited most of the tourist attractions. So, after a quick meander past the museum quarter (pictures below), the Parliament Building (picture below), and the Rathaus (picture below), through the Volksgarten and through the Winter residence of the Hapsburgs, I spent the rest of the day purposely getting lost. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do in a city. I just love getting lost and then trying to find my way back without the use of maps or asking directions. It’s a great way to get to know the character of a city because you often find things you wouldn’t normally encounter, and you tend to find yourself on streets that tourist rarely find their way to, but locals are busily doing their thing
In the evening, we went to a concert! Not a rock concert, but classical. Originally used as the theatre where Johann Strauss debuted many of his works, the theater now houses daily performances of Strauss and Mozart, the prodigal, musical sons of Vienna. Strauss, the ’golden boy’ of Vienna was incredibly popular in his time, with girls swooning and fawning over him, even grabbing at his curly locks to get a souvenir. Look out Justin Bieber!! The funny thing is, though, that after his day, he isn’t nearly as renowned as Viennas other famous composer, Mozart. Mozart in his day didn’t get nearly the respect and appreciation that he ultimately attained after his death. In fact, he died a relatively somber death and was buried in a paupers grave that was lost in time. But everywhere you go in Vienna, it’s Mozart, Mozart, Mozart. You can buy t-shirts, ties, CDs, posters, and even the famous Mozart balls (a nice little chocolatey treat), but you rarely come across Strauss. In any event, the only way to truly experience the musical heritage of Vienna is to listen to the music of these two guys. One is practically harassed by countless college aged students dressed in powder wigs trying to sell you tickets to one of the dozens of concerts. We were fortunate, however, to get tickets to a legit show, not one performed by students in training, but by accomplished musicians
Today, we’re on the road to Munich, with stops in Salzburg. I’ll try to post again this evening with an account of today’s events. We’ll find out just how alive the hills are…