Monday, June 9, 2014

Vienna, where we missed Hugh Laurie by 12 hours

We returned to Vienna for a final 3 days in Europe.

We were in Vienna for approximately 2 hours before we ran into the family we'd met on the Germany excursion walking directly in front of us. We met their mom and we all got gelato together and wandered around. The mom bore a striking resemblance to Meryl Streep. Adrienne and I attempted to not stare and look shocked, but she did. They talked and looked shockingly similar!

After chatting with them and walking around with them for a while, they went back to their hotel. Adrienne and I then walked around and looked at the various buildings nearby at night. The Hofburg Palace, the Rathaus, the Burgtheater among others.

This is the Hofburg Palace, with what looks like a werewolf moon coming from behind the clouds.

 This is the Burgtheater.

We then headed back to the hostel and went to bed.
The next morning we slept in a little (until 9! So late!) and then headed to Schoenbrunn Palace.

We grabbed breakfast first, of course.
 Here is Adrienne looking very excited about her breakfast.
Schoenbrunn Palace was beautiful as usual! And it was a lovely day!

We walked around the gardens, then took a tour inside the palace.

I was reminded that Marie Antoinette was born there.
We couldn't take pictures inside, but the tour was very interesting.

The palace was used as a hunting and recreation ground, which is understandable, since it is huge. Maria Theresa, the mother of Marie Antoinette, made it the center of court life during her time there.

It was the residence of the Hapsburg emperors from the 17th to the 20th centuries. and is also the home of the world's first zoo, opened in 1752. (You may read about my terrifying trip to the Schoenbrunn zoo here.)

We walked around the gardens after touring inside. It was the perfect day for it.

Here Adrienne is with the side of the palace behind her.
 Here I am.
There were some ducks hiding in the ponds, of course.

But not this pond.

 The lillies were blooming away!

 Here is Adrienne walking through the bushes.
Here is Adrienne acting as though she is trapped in the bushes, like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

 A small part of the palace through the bushes.
 The palace.
Usually, this has roses, but it was a bit dead this time around.

There are the hiding ducks!
 I love ducks.

There I am from very far away.
 And there is miniature-me, from very far away.

We decided to wander through the maze, though we cheated a bit and found high ground and used it to find our way out.
Adrienne after the maze.

 The various statues around the palace represent virtues and deities.

This particular fountain is the Neptune Fountain, commissioned by Maria Theresa.

Neptune is in a shell-shaped chariot holding a trident, with a nymph to his left and Thetis to his right. The Tritons are the half man/half-fish who follow Neptune around. They hold conch trumpets to scare everyone. The sea horses pull Neptune's chariot across the sees. Apparently, Neptune was a common symbol during the 16th-18th centuries, because he represented the monarchs controlling the fate of the people they ruled over.

Here is a sea horse.

He does not look like a seahorse.

We slowly made our way up to the Gloriette, because it was extremely hot.

This is the Gloriette. It is quite glorious.

It was built in 1775.

Schoenbrunn from afar, with a pot in the frame.
 The Gloriette!

 A statue of a man clubbing a woman.
 I believe this was a hunting lodge.

This is another fountain, but I don't know the meaning of it.

It is probably called, "Large obelisk with strange man with water coming out of his mouth."

I have now done research and it actually is called the "Obelisk Fountain." Apparently it is a symbol of permanence and stability.
 See, water is coming out of his mouth.
 There were also small animals in various places around the fountain. Not living. They were statues.

 These are the Roman Ruins.

They are not actually Roman Ruins. They are just art made to look like Roman ruins.

 The following pictures are some of the many statues of Schoenbrunn.

 The Gloriette from afar.

 Schoenbrunn Palace from the front.

Afterwards, we headed to the Museum Quarters. I went to the Kunsthistoriche Museum (art history) and Adrienne, because she hates art and history, went to the Natural History Museum. I'd been to both, but wanted to see the Art History museum again, because it's wonderful.

I discovered traveling is much more expensive when you're not a student! The museum was 14 euros, versus free when I was a student. Darn.

They have a huge Egyptian, Greek and Roman section which is really interesting.

They've been studying the lingering paint on the various white statues that were originally painted in bright colors. They have then been recreating the statues in what they believe are the original colors, which you can see throughout the museum, which is really interesting.

I'm pretty sure that they didn't paint the originals, but I'm not sure, because they all looked extremely real. I got my face very close to them, but everything looked authentic. I hope they didn't paint the originals!

The German on the sign for this foot says it's the foot of a colossal statue. I don't know if it's THE colossal statue, though.

They had paintings by Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael, among others. I sprinted my way through the museum, but when the museum announced it was closing, I still hadn't seen the Raphael painting.

I accidentally figured out how to find it when I walked to the wrong exit and they made me turn around. So I meandered my way through the halls and eventually found Raphael's painting, a madonna. It was wonderful. One of my favorite things is looking at paintings closely and seeing the brush strokes of the painter, whether it's Raphael, Michelangelo, Picasso. I love seeing up close how and what they did to make the paintings come to life.

Well, maybe not how since I'd never be able to do that, but definitely that they did it and it's hand made.

I met Adrienne after a brief panic when she didn't come out of the museum with the stream of people exiting when it closed. Apparently she also lingered inside.

We wandered around a bit more that night, got dinner and gelato, then headed back to the hostel. Upon our return from Salzburg, they moved us to a room with wifi, which was a plus, but we were in the apartment with the 2 people who worked at the hostel. And they were weird. He walked around in his underwear a lot and they smoked a lot, even though it was non-smoking. It was like we were living with them and they were judging us. It was very uncomfortable.

 The next day, we headed to a lake with Liviu and Alina and a couple of their friends.

We were going to go to a pool but it was crowded. I was glad we ended up at the lake. We used to go there when I was living in Vienna. It was a lovely day and great to see them again! The water was the perfect temperature. Adrienne was alarmed due to occasionally topless women. I failed to prepare her for that situation.
 At one point, a mother and father swan and their ducklings decided to wander around the grass, biting people as they went.

Then, the father swan, who was taller than a lot of the kids, decided to enter the swimming area with his ducklings. They surrounded a little girl swimming who was yelling. Then everyone was yelling and swimming away. They were reacting as though Jaws was coming through the lake! It was quite hilarious.

 We took some pictures after our day with Alina and Liviu.

 There's Anna, wandering around.

 The next day, we went to the Imperial crypts, after getting nutella crepes for breakfast.

The crypts were quite interesting. All the emperors and empresses, princes and princesses and their kids seem to be buried here!
 Maria Theresa, Franz Joseph and Elisabeth are buried here!

Along with a hundred other Maria Theresas, Franzs' and Josephs'. It's really interesting/creepy to be near so many dead bodies.

Franz Joseph and Sisi are to the left.

We then went to Augustinerkirche, built in 1327, where several of the Emperors got married. Franz Joseph and Sisi were married here. Maria Theresa married Duke Francis of Lorraine here.

And NAPOLEON BONAPARTE married Marie Louise here in 1810. NAPOLEON! I walked into the building where Napoleon got married and didn't even know it until about 3 seconds ago. I have stood where Napoleon stood. What the heck!?

 Apparently I also missed the chapel where the urns containing all the Emperors' hearts are kept. Whoops.

This is the Cenotaph of Maria Christina.

We met Hyojeong for a bit afterwards and chatted for the last time, then walked back to Karlskirche in extreme heat.
Adrienne was claiming heat stroke. Then we went up to the dome and almost died of fear.
It's quite the beautiful church though!

 The ceiling.
After you take the elevator up, which really ruins the view inside the church, the stairs were extremely rickety and moved as you walked up. It was nerve wracking, to say the least.
 Some angel faces.
 A dove.
 Dead person.
 We packed up our things then set off on a final walk through Vienna.
 We went back to my favorite garden and found some ducks!
 And grass peering through the water.

 And ducklings! I used  to always go and look for ducklings in my time in Vienna and I was not disappointed!
 They were so cute!
 Look how cutely they walk!

 Karskirche by night.
 The Opera House by night.
 A better picture of the Opera house by night.

Here's Adrienne dying of heat in the Karlskirche museum. These final pictures are from my phone, so a little out of order.
The elevator ruining the dome from the ground

We made this horrifying discovery the day before we left-Hugh Laurie would be having a piano concert at the Vienna Concert House and tickets were available.

For a show that was approximately 12 hours after we left Vienna.

It is to weep.

My horrifying nose tan line.

We showered and slept a full 4 hours in the heat box that was our hotel room, before waking up with wet hair and heading to the airport, pouting all the way.

It was a fabulous trip that I didn't want to end!

And now, almost a year later, I have finally finished blogging about it, minus a couple photo bomb blogs that will be posted in the near future!

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