Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Churches of Vienna. And Palaces. And ribs.

The next morning, we met up with Liviu and Alina and their daughter Anna.  We chatted as if no time had passed, which was so nice. I went from being a 20/21 year old college student to a 25 year old with 3 years working under my belt, yet it felt like no time had passed.

We went to the ribs place on the Donau where we had celebrated my 21st birthday 4 years earlier. The three of them are doing well. The next weekend we spent the day with them as well. It was so great seeing friends again!

Here is scary staircase leading into bushes.
The Donau! Which I just realized is "Danube" in English. That because a habit while living in Vienna.
Adrienne took a quick nap afterwards, then we headed out to check out all of my favorite churches.

Our first stop was Stephansdom.
Stephansdom is so grand and beautiful. It's enormous! Everything is so intricate and lovely.

Here is Adrienne, possibly photobombing, but who knows.
Here I am!

Here I am slightly to the right.
The organ.
A sad man pondering life.
Adrienne. She's a bit blurry which most likely means photobomb.

Stephansdom is a Catholic church built in the 12th century, with various additions and restorations in the time since then. There were two different churches in it's location before it was built in the 1100's, part of which can be seen in the subway station directly below, which is quite cool I must say.

Apparently, Beethoven discovered he was completely deaf when he saw birds fly out of the bell tower when the bells ran, but he couldn't hear the bell.
This altar is named the Wiener Neustadt Altar.
I'm still mastering the art of posing in pictures.

Here's a crying baby.

We headed up the towers, which was just as terrifying as I remembered. For some reason, you exit the elevator onto a completely see through walkway. You can see straight down to where you would land during your death fall.
But the view is fantastic!
Adrienne was screaming a bit as we walked along the walkway. But not as badly as the Japanese woman who was quite literally weeping and, when she got to the top of the stairs, grabbed onto the pillar and closed her eyes, continuing to cry.

The view down from the towers.

The roof, which is interesting! It has little baby windows. Apparently the roof is covered with 230,000 tiles.

It was a bit windy up top.

Here's Adrienne and the walkway of death.
Look! There's where we would have died.

We walked by Peterskirche next, which is a different Catholic church built in the 1700's. We didn't go inside because they were having a service.

We headed along the back roads. I love the back roads!

I got a bit lost and accidentally placed us here. I don't quite know where this was, but I knew how to get back to our intended location. But it was beautiful anyway!
There is a gold ball.
There's the gold ball from a distance.

Here is a mosaic of somebody.
We headed to Minoritenkirche, which was my favorite church in Vienna when I lived there. I would go there quite often. It was originally built in 1275, though additions can be made, which can be quite clearly seen.
Here's the inside of the church. I don't know why it's my favorite, but I think it has to do with the visible layers. They're just really cool.

This is a mosaic of the Last Supper painting, which is quite amazing. Apparently it weighs 20 tons!
I just discovered that Adolf Hitler painted a picture of the church and it's one of his most famous paintings. Yikes.

Around this point, Adrienne and I were slowly walking through the church, when there was a sudden and strong stench. Unfortunately, it smelled exactly like a diarrhea laden port-a-potty had exploded. Adrienne thought it was me but realized it was not when I looked at her in shocked dismay thinking it was her.

We evacuated the building soon after. I have still no idea where the smell came from, since there didn't seem to be a bathroom in the vicinity.

The little road leading away from Minoritenkirche.
Our next stop was Michaelerkirche, located across from the Hofburg Palace. We snuck in the doors just as they were closing. I believe a church service began soon after, but we managed to look around quickly before it started.

It was built in the 13th century in the Romanesque style and hasn't been changed since 1792.
This is the entryway of the Hofburg palace, which we went into on a different day.

These are Roman ruins outside the church.

Michaelerkirche again. It was beautifully decorated for some reason that I do not know.

The organ was once played by Joseph Haydn. Mozart's Requiem was played for the first time in Michaelerkirche during his memorial service in 1791.

We then walked through this square, Josefplatz,

We walked by the Spanish Horse riding school, saw Pinocchio.
This is Augustinerkirche, which we went to on another day.

We walked by these stairs outside the Albertina museum,
Here's the Opera House again!
This is outside the Albertina Museum.

I attempted to find my school but I think it moved.

This is the Philharmonic building where I saw the Vienna Philharmonic play.

We made a quick stop at Starbucks to check email, since our hostel didn't have WIFI. Mother emailed Adrienne about Swan Lake being in Vienna, but when we researched it, it was in St. Petersburg. Not quite the same place.
Here is Adrienne being dramatic.
Here is Adrienne being less dramatic.
Karskirche looking lovely as usual!

We headed to Hundertwasser House. If you recall from 4 years ago, I spent several days attempting to get to Hundertwasser, but it took approximate 7 tries before I actually got there. I therefore looked up very careful directions about how to get there. It would have worked perfectly, except the tram line was altered for construction.

We ended up taking the subway after briefly going in a circle on the tram line and ending back where we started. I thought it was just me not understanding the tram lines until a Viennese woman asked me what had just happened and why we just went in a small circle.

We finally made it by walking from the subway, though it was a bit later than planned and the sun was setting. Whoops!

It's still a fantastically strange building though!

We saw this woman making an improbably leap over a car, while also holding a coffee.
We headed back to Stephensplatz and bought ice cream from my favorite gelato shop. I was thrilled to see that their prices had not changed and it was still extremely cheap!

We sat on some benches in front of Stephensdom and enjoyed people watching and looking at the lights on the cathedral.

We then walked by the Opera House for some night pictures.

Unfortunately, it looks like we've photoshopped ourselves into the pictures. Just believe us when we say we were there!


So much photoshopping.
Adrienne blur. That is one of the twin museums in the background.

The next day I spent much of my time wandering around to meet friends. But, Adrienne and I woke up early and headed to the Hofburg Palace to the Sisi museum. I had been before, but wanted Adrienne to see it of course. It has an amazing collection of dishes and silverware from the Hapsburg Dynasty, but of course I could not take pictures. Some of them were enormous, taking up entire rooms! It's so amazing.

The museum also talked about Sisi and her life. She married her cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph, who loved her a lot. She lost a daughter very early and her son Rudolph committed suicide at 30, which was when she withdrew from public life. She was considered very beautiful. She had an impossibly small waist, which she went to great lengths to maintain. She spent 3 hours a day having her hair and makeup done and exercised quite a lot. She loved ice cream, though, and allowed herself to eat it.

She was assassinated in Geneva. They made the point about how she was criticized during her life, but as soon as she was assassinated, she was idealized and idolized. The museum showed the rooms where the royal family lived. The rest of the palace is still used for various government purposes.

Afterwards, I headed to meet Hyojeong, another friend from German class. Adrienne decided to wander around on her own. She was very proud of herself for that and only managed to get lost once, but figured out how to get back.

Hyojeong and I met for a couple hours and talked about our lives since we last saw each other 4 years earlier. Once again it was as if time hadn't passed! It's amazing how that happens. She just finished up her graduate program in the fall. I also ate bratkartoffeln, which I completely forgot existed. It was as good as I remembered, once I remembered it existed.

Afterwards, I miraculously found Adrienne at our meeting spot and met Yu-ra again, since our first meeting had been cut short. We went to the ice cream place I frequented, which apparently had seating that I didn't know about. Adrienne read a book while we chatted. I was very impressed with myself for having a 3 hour conversation completely in German and only had to use the dictionary once.

Afterwards, Adrienne and I wandered about a bit more then headed back relatively early to the hostel, since we were catching an early train to Salzburg!

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