Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Past Week

For all of those who apparently follow my blog closely, I am very sorry it has taken so long to write!! The past week has been very eventful! Last weekend, I went to the Art History Museum which was great! It was a bit smaller than I was expecting, but their primary exhibits were Dutch and Italian Renaissance art which was wonderful! They also had a Ancient Greece and Egypt section which was really great. But I was happy because they had Raphael, Titian, and Albrecht Durer. I spent several hours in there. It was very wonderful. I love museums a lot! I will have to go to more while I am here (of course!)

The evening I went to the museum, I also went to Hyojeong's and we watched a movie and had dinner which was very nice. This week passed rather uneventfully. I had classes (German grammar is getting very complicated) and usually went to lunch afterwards with friends (Usually Liviu, Nayeem and Jasmit depending on the day). I also went to Hyojeong's a couple times. It was a nice week though. 

Yesterday, a group from IKI (The School I attend) went on a trip into Wachau! It was SOO much fun!! We went specifically to the monastery Stift Gottweig, Melk, Willendorf and Durnstein. It was great! Just Liviu, Nayeem and I came from our class, along with Liviu's wife, Alina, and Nayeem's fiance Jeremy. Luckily I did not feel like the 5th wheel in the group. Our first stop was Stift Gottweig which is a monastery up in some hills with a very nice view, very traditional Austrian buildings surrounding the church, an AMAZING church and this great valley that it overlooks. We stopped there for about 45 minutes but it was definitely very cool! We then went to a church in Durnstein. It was also quite beautiful. Much smaller and in the middle of the town but it was very intricate inside. 

I overheard a guy say though, (I will not say where from *cough* UW *cough* University of Washington *cough*) "I don't understand why this church is so decorated. I mean I can understand why the monastery in the hills was so decorated, but not this one. It's so small." It reminded me of the lady we talked to on our tour to Cape Sounion in Greece last summer who said "I hate ruins. If I see one more ruin..." Good heavens appreciate the beauty of what you are seeing!

I also saw my first Austrian fire station. 

Anyway, after that we drove to Melk. I must say that driving through Austrian countryside is very beautiful! Melk is a monastery up on a hill overlooking the Donau. Ohh it was beautiful! It's HUGE and is in a great location (though I also loved the location of Stift Gottweig). It had a little museum there. I was not completely sure what the first room in museum was. And even Alina, who's been taking German for a long time, wasn't completely sure. But the other rooms had very nice paintings, some very intricate chalices and plates, statues etc. In one room, there was the coffin of Joseph II (I think). Apparently, he was very frugal so he built it so that when they lowered him in, they didn't actually lower the coffin down into the grave. Instead, the coffin split open at the bottom, dropped his body in the grave and then they could re-use the coffin. Yuck. 

After the museum there was a little walkway so that you're looking at the church in one direction in the center of the monastery from higher up, which was quite beautiful. In the other direction, you're looking at the town of Melk, the Donau and a valley. It was really beautiful. Then you walk through some doors and go into the library which is quite great! It was not gigantic but there were a ton of old books, amazing paintings on the ceiling etc. There was also a room where, when you looked at the ceiling from the center of the room, the actual columns continued upward in a straight line in the painting of the ceiling. However, when not standing in the middle they were tilted. They were only straight from the center which was kind of cool. Then after the library you go down these stairs, which were spiral, painted and quite cool. When you looked down the center there was a mirror that reflected the stairs above and it gave the illusion that the stairs went down for much longer than they actually did (About one floor). But the mirror made it look like you were extremely high up. After the stairs we headed into the church which again was BEAUTIFUL! There was soooo much gold used inside and the paintings and statues again were amazing. I love churches in Europe!! 

After exploring the church, we headed back to the bus. While talking to my teacher in German, I accidentally kept calling my mom "he" which was an issue. Apparently after talking about my dad, my brain couldn't change from "he' to "she" in another language. We then headed to this little park along the Donau and had a picnic. It was quite nice. It was very warm yesterday. My left arm got sunburned during the picnic. Yes, just my left arm. Oh well. By the end of my time here, I will have a wonderfully tanned left arm. 

After that, we headed to Willendorf where the Venus of Willendorf was found. The original is in the natural history museum in Vienna but we went to see the fake gigantic one. Basically, it's this very very very small town (as in like 20 houses) with a wall leading to where they found the Venus and the fake one which is about 100 times bigger than the original.

After that, we continued on to Durnstein. In Durnstein, this quaint little town, we hiked up to the castle (after Alina, Jeremy and I touched the Donau). When they said "a small hike" I figured it would be relatively easy. Luckily I brought my water because good heavens that hike was steep. It was on "stairs" aka slippery and uneven rocks. But the hike was TOTALLY worth it. First of all the castle was really cool. It was built, I believe, in the 1100's and is in ruins but you can still walk around it a bit. Secondly, the view was INCREDIBLE. You can see the valley, the river, with the rocky hills and everything. It's great!! We stayed up there for quite a bit. The last bit to get to the very top was rather intense and made me nervous but I did it and I did not die. The way back down was a bit scarier because at least when going up you're leaning in to the mountain but on the way down you're trying to resist gravity. Nayeem and I saw two very cool lizards. They were black and bright green (which I later learned are imaginatively called "black and green lizards") and just scurrying along with us. I think at some point every single one of us slipped. But it was a lot of fun. 

After Durnstein we headed back to Vienna!! Today was a lot of fun too. Hyojeong and I bought out tickets to Salzburg for next month!! and I am headed to Budapest again this weekend!! I went into my first Libro (kind of like a Rite Aid) and was amused to see all the seasons of Charmed (in German of course) and ER along with the movie version of Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging which has yet to be released in the US. I then met up with Kirstin from GHHS and her friend and went to this market that was just open for the weekend. We bought Indian food and there were Greek dancers dancing while we were eating which was kind of cool. Afterwards we wandered around the center of Vienna a bit. They bought gigantic pretzels and then I headed back to my apartment for about 5 minutes. After sitting in my room for just a bit, I headed to the Prater (an amusement park here) and met Liviu, Nayeem, Hyojeong, Alina, Jeremy and Martin for dinner at the Schweizerhaus. I had schnitzel which was quite good. I am not exactly sure what the specialty food there is called but it's basically the hind leg of the pig and is huge. It is apparently good but looks rather icky. Dinner was very nice. We all get along very well. After dinner we did the bumper cars which I have not done for a long time and it was very fun! The prater is very nice at night too. Lots of lights and music. On the way home, Martin and Hyojeong and I went to see Karlskirche lit up at night which was really pretty. I did my homework which I had completely forgotten about, talked to mom, dad, Adrienne and Kellie and then updated my blog!

Pictures from this week:

Art History Museum:

Wachau (Melk, Stift Gottweig etc)



  1. I'm happy to see you've finally updated your blog - though I know you've been very busy. Your blog gives a lot more info than you can fully explain in our quick instant messaging -- usually because you're multi-tasking while I'm trying to grill you for info! Austria looks and sounds gorgeous, and the churches are so beautiful. I'm glad you've found nice and kind friends, and a traveling buddy. Your family and friends have prayed for just that, and know that each person is in your life for a reason. Love you lots!

  2. THIS IS A P.S. after looking at your museum photos. Fantastic, I say! I hope you bought a museum book and will tag some of them, especially the sculptures (for my sake), and the Egyptian pieces. Some I've seen in the Cairo Museum and I'm wondering if these are copies or if the originals are touring - or what? Anyway, I know it's labor intensive, but would love it!

  3. With the economic disasters in this country, perhaps sharing coffins will be next! Keep up the beautiful, descriptive coverage - glad you weren't permanently maimed falling - these are amazing experiences which will be with you your whole life. Love Wendy