It’s been too long since I last posted and so much has happened since then! I’ll try to give a short and sweet update for you all on some of the stuff I’ve been doing:
Museums: These past few weeks I’ve been visiting tons of different museums for my history class. I’ve been to the Schatzkammer (or the imperial treasury of the Habsburgs), where I learned that the Habsburgs really were filthy stinking rich; I’ve been to the art museum called the Albertina, where I got to see some of Monet’s and Picasso’s works; I went to Schloss Schoenbrunn, which was one of the many palaces that those awfully rich Habsburgs owned; I went to the crypts of the Michaelerkirche, where I got to see some pretty awesome mummies; and I went to the Belvedere palace, which had a ton of amazing art and was surprisingly owned by Prince Eugene of Savoy and not the Habsburgs! Even though I’ve seen so many museums already, I feel like there are many more here that I won’t have enough time to see! I hope to visit a few more before I leave!
My first Opera: As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I went to my first opera two weeks ago at the Wien Staatsoper. I saw the opera “Don Giovanni,” which was written by Mozart and premiered in Vienna over 200 years ago in 1788! The singing was amazing and I really enjoyed the entire experience. The only thing I wish I had was a better seat. Operas really are the only show places I know of that purposely block your view so you want to pay more for the tickets! From where I was, I could only see a little less than half of the stage! Even though I couldn’t see what was happening in the opera, however, I could easily follow the plot and I really loved listening to the music. The opera is in Spanish, but every seat had a translator so I could understand everything being sung.
Bratislava: Last week I traveled to Bratislava with my history professor to learn about the city. Bratislava is only an hour away from Vienna by bus and there are a lot of economic ties between the two cities. We only went for the afternoon, but I thought Bratislava was very beautiful. During the Cold War, the city fell into disrepair, and many of the buildings were falling apart. There was even a major road build right through the city center only a few feet from the city’s major church. Since the Iron Curtain fell, however, the city has begun to repair itself and has become very beautiful. It was also snowing when we traveled there so it became even prettier…that is until the wind picked up and it became blizzard-like! Our bus ended up being 45 minutes late and took almost 20 minutes longer to get back to Vienna because one of the major highways was closed! I guess some of the Austrian drivers were driving a bit too fast in the storm and caused several accidents (I even saw crazy drivers on back roads too!). I guess when you own a BMW or Mercedes, you feel like you can drive fast through anything! My bus eventually made it back to Vienna safe and sound though.
Prague: I spent this past weekend exploring and experiencing Prague. Unlike Bratislava and Budapest, Prague managed to keep many of its buildings in good shape. As a result, it has become a major tourist destination in Europe (I believe its number 6 on the most visited European cities list). Everything in the old city was beautifully preserved and it felt like you were walking through an old medieval town. They even sold mulled wine and mead at many street vendors, keeping that atmosphere alive. The weather was very cold for us but we had bright blue skies making everything better! I ended up seeing the Prague Castle, St. Vitus’s Cathedral, the Strahov Monastery, the Lennon Wall, the Astronomical clock, the Charles Bridge…there was just so much to see! The only downside to Prague is that there are tons of tourists everywhere. It got so crowded by the afternoon that I had to push my way through crowds on the Charles Bridge and in the city square. Overall though, I really enjoyed seeing the city!
That’s a little summary of what I’ve been up to these past few weeks. I only have one week left in Vienna before I move to Marburg to start my actual semester. I hope to see as much as possible in these last few days! Vienna is such a wonderful city, and I’m really hoping I’ll get to travel back some day in the future!