It’s getting down to the last month of my stay in Austria. I can’t believe how fast its gone by and time is only going to get faster and faster. This particular week we were given our essay assignments. Two essays that need to be 10 pages long. It doesn’t sound too hard, but when there’s so much else to do it’s difficult  to sit down in my room and do research. Lucky for me one of my essays in on the Art Nouveau movement so I’ve been able to go to some of the museums and see the art I’m talking about first hand. Another one of our assignments is to take a tour of the inside of Schönbrunn, which I’m happy to have an excuse to visit!

On Wednesday we took a tour for our class in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It hosts Egyptian, Greek and Roman artifacts, as well as the private collection of Rudolf II, he was a huge patron of the arts, and it hosts paintings from the Baroque and Renaissance periods from all over the world.

Although the paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Dürer were incredibly impressive, I can’t get over my love for the work of the Egyptians and Romans. The collection they house at the museum is very impressive and the museum itself could even be considered art.

The ceiling of the museum. The second floor has comfy red seats around the open circle where people can get coffee.

The hall that the Egyptian artifacts are in. In the collection they had statues, tablets, coffins, and also mummified animals.

After the Egyptians came the room filled with Greek artifacts, mostly statues of gods.

Apollo.

The stone statues of Roman Emperors. There were two rooms full of these busts. I loved seeing all the different emperors and remembering what I learned about them in school.

The bust of Octavian, later he changes his name to Augustus and becomes the first Roman Emperor. He brings peace to the Empire for a short time.

The bust of a random man. Some of the labels for the heads were funny. If the statue had a beard, but it wasn’t someone famous, the label would read, “head of bearded man”. I’m glad they wrote that down, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell.

Marcus Aurelius. He was the last of the good emperors and is said to have died in Vienna.

Commodus. He liked to participate in the gladiator games, which was something emperors never did before. He was a little crazy, but not the craziest unfortunately.

The first day of November is Allerheiligen or All Saints Day, which means that everything is closed. Since it was on a thursday we got the entire thursday and friday off.

We’ve been learning about the culture around the dead in Vienna, which is little different from other places. Here, death is something that goes hand in hand with life. In Vienna, the funeral processions used to be huge celebrations with music, horses and carriages.

I figured that since death was so important to people in Vienna, it would be a good day to travel to the Zentralfriedhof or the Central Cemetery. Although I didn’t know anyone at the cemetery, I thought it would be a good day to simply remember the dead and think about my own lot in life.

The cemetery was so large we were really only able to walk through about a quarter of it. As we walked further towards the back, the graves got older and many of them no longer had anything carved into the headstones. Some were so cracked that they had basically fallen apart and were completely covered in vines and leaves. In the cemetery main roads were paved, but there were also smaller paths that wove throughout the graves. It was a cold day, but quiet and peaceful.

Friday we had our big night at the Opera House. Earlier in the year we bought tickets for the ballet, Romeo and Juliet. Our seats were on the second floor in a small room with five other people. We all felt really fancy siting in a semi-private booth.

The ballet itself was really good. The costumes were amazing and the scenery was really well done. However, It was funny to see Romeo and Juliet in a ballet form. Shakespeare’s work is almost entirely dialogue, which makes it all the more impressive that they were able to pull off a ballet, which has no words at all. Sometimes, it was hard not to laugh when Romeo and his friends are hopping around stage and many of the death scenes were almost too dramatic. The characters would take at least five minutes to die, sometimes even rolling around on the floor to add dramatic effect.

The entrance to our semi-private room.

The view of the stage we had from our seats.

Saturday, Annika and I went to Naschmarkt and realized that it actually goes a lot further than we thought. Once we got past all the food, we found scarves, hats, tapestries, and shirts. For months I had been wondering where these things were, because every other city had them, but I never thought to venture further into Naschmarkt.

The U-Bahn rail at the end of Naschmarkt.

There were some very cool houses at the end of Naschmarkt. The one below was designed by Otto Wagner, a famous architect of the Art Nouveau movement.

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