Friday, February 1, 2013


Vienna is definitely now one of my favorite places in the entire world (Prague is too, but we'll get to that later). Even the air of Vienna bleeds culture. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but SERIOUSLY. Vienna is incredible. The music, the art, the history, the food. All of my favorite things in one, beautiful city.

Some highlights from Vienna include....

Here is the Musikverein. I cannot tell you how excited I was to be in this amazing, historical building. Do you know how many monumental premieres and incredible performances have taken place here? Do you know how many legendary composers have walked through the door and been in that hall? Too many to count. I was simply blown away. And we got to see the Vienna Philharmonic in this building. That performance was unbelievable, by the way. Seriously the best concert I have ever seen and heard in my life. I didn't even care that we stood the whole time. Before, during and after I was more excited than Kristen Bell during her sloth meltdown. 
Karla's face before the Vienna Phil. performance pretty much says it all. 
These spinach dumplings with fried feta were perhaps equally as amazing as the Vienna Philharmonic. 
GUESS WHAT. So, after the Vienna Phil and the spinach dumplings and the fried feta...the following morning we saw the Vienna Boys' Choir and the Wiener Hofmusik Kapelle. I am seriously the luckiest person in the world. Those two performances were the best of my life. Every day in Vienna I was in complete awe. 
Here we are in front of Schoenbrunn palace - the former Summer home of the Habsburg family (I mean...Maria Theresa had like 16 kids so she probably needed all 1500-something rooms). 
Inside the Wien Staatsoper where we saw a beautiful (albeit lengthy) production of Der Rosenkavalier. Talk about luxury. It was also really neat to have a view of the pit (made up of some of the same musicians we had seen in the Vienna Phil at the Musikverein).
Just some girls in pearls hanging out with Von Karajan. NBD. 
Snow in Vienna near our was real cold but real beautiful. 
We saw some amazing art at the Albertina. Above are examples of Monet, Cross, Matisse and Renoir. As an art enthusiast, this was incredible for me to actually see some famous works of art in person. 
I may have biffed it on some icy marble outside of the Albertina. 
Dr. Powell, Karla and Didi outside of St. Stephan's cathedral before we climbed to the top of the tower for an amazing view of Vienna. 
Vienna from partially up the tower. The climb was intense for us small-lunged people but Dr. Powell practically ran to the top. 
Sunset in Vienna...I can't get over the beauty of this city. 
We went to a beautiful old cemetery and paid homage to some of our favorite composers. Here are Karla and I mourning for our buddy Brahms. 
Karla and her BFF Schubert. 
More music nerd-dom: seriously, one of the most inspiring and informative things I did was spend FIVE HOURS at the Haus der Musik in Vienna. Karla and I could not get enough of the vast wealth of information and artifacts in this museum. There were rooms upon rooms with tools and displays to teach museum attendees about how sound works, what music means to humans and the great composers. Seriously, there were rooms dedicated to the great Austrian composers (aka most of the great composers of Western music). Each composer had their own room, decorated according to the period and filled with personal belongings of the composers and information about their lives and work. I was astounded and intrigued for an entire morning and afternoon in that museum. Incredible. 

Here is our guide, Eva, with Leonard Bernstein's tuxedo.
Karla hangin' out with giant Haydn. 
Guys. This is Haydn's ACTUAL parrot. The real deal. This bad boy was Haydn's BFF. He could whistle the Austrian National Anthem and say "Papa Haydn." 
Here I am hanging out in front of Beethoven's ACTUAL REAL IN REAL LIFE front door. THAT WAS HIS FRONT DOOR GUYS. Can you tell I loved this museum A LOT?
Sacher torte, a yummy Viennese specialty, and another delicious melange. I love fooood! And Vienna.
It snowed A LOT. Like...a lot.
The historic Cafe Sperl where we ate delicious Sacher torte AFTER having stumbled upon Beethoven's former house which is now a restaurant. So of course we ate there. And it wasn't even touristy. The exact opposite, actually. A bunch of locals came in for lunch while we were there, making us feel a bit out of place but it was an amazing cultural experience. I forgot to take pictures inside but trust me, it was awesome. 
Some cool people inside Cafe Sperl! Cafe Sperl was the place for inspiration and an afternoon pick-me-up for many famous writers, artists and musicians living in Vienna during the 1800s. 
The ceiling at Eisenstadt cathedral. We made a pilgrimage to Eisenstadt on our way to Slovakia in order to visit Haydn's mausoleum. Totally worth it, despite the intense freezing winds and snow we had to endure while walking to and from the bus. 
Haydn's mausoleum. We had an amazing guide who told us the story of Haydn's head. Basically, Haydn and his head had an on-again-off-again relationship until 1954. And then in 2009 it turned out there was somebody else's head also hanging out in the tomb! Pretty exciting. And weird. But interesting. 
Can you tell how cold it was? This is just a prequel for how freezing it was going to be in Bratizlava and Prague! At one point it was three degrees in Prague. THREE DEGREES. That's what one gets for travelling to central Europe in January. 

Vienna was incredible. I can't wait to go back. 

- Mary 

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