Tag Archive: Vienna


Until Next Time

Our second to last day in Vienna was spent at a number of exciting places. We started our day at the famous Schönbrunn, which was covered in snow and also holiday cheer. The Christmas market there is one of my favorite. I think the trinkets they sell are the best I’ve seen and the food is delicious. We all shared some potato soup as well as crepes, chocolate waffles and I had some delicious hot chocolate. Never mind that by the end of our time there my feet had frozen off, it was well worth the pain.

One of the fountains in front of Schönbrunn. It was completely frozen.

Frozen Fountain Schönbrunn

I loved returning to Schönbrunn in the snow. I’ve been there through three seasons and I really can’t say which one I like better. If only I could see it in the spring, but I suppose I need to give myself a reason to return!

tunnel

Snow

Schönbrunn Covered in Snow

Empty Road

After warming up a little on the U-Bahn, we headed to Karlskirche. Outside is another Christmas market and also a small petting-zoo, placed where the fountain is in the summer. All the children were having fun jumping around with the goats and ponies.

Karlskirche

Despite having walked past Karlskirche every day, I’ve never actually been inside. Today that changed.

Inside was very different from what I expected. The domed ceiling is mostly covered by a large brown platform and off to the right is an elevator that takes people to the top of the platform. I’m surprised that they would put that inside the church, because it detracted from the overall feeling of the dome and also the beautiful paintings on the ceiling, but on the other hand it was fun to take an elevator up into the roof.

The Altar of Karlskirche

After exiting the elevator there are a flight of metal and woods stairs that can be climbed even further up the dome. As we climbed them, the stairs creaked and wiggled beneath stomping feet. I felt a little nervous about the entire structure, but it was pretty cool at the top, looking down.

stiarcase

Looking down into the church.

Looking Down

I had to show my family St. Stephen’s, so we walked down Kärtnerstraße and wandered around inside the church for a good while.

stephens

That night we went to the Musikverein and saw the Rotterdam Philharmonic perform in the Golden Room. We were towards the back of the room, but seeing the entire stage and audience set out before us was pretty awesome.

The Golden Room: Musikverein

The following day we set out to find the Kirche am Steinhof, which is a church built by Otto Wagner. It’s a popular place to go for Art Nouveau lovers, but it’s not on the map of the city and the actual road to the church could be considered something of a trek.

The effort and time to travel there was well spent. In the white snow, the golden roof was amazing. We were the only people there, which was nice and we even explored the forest behind the church, which seemed to be a park.

Kirche Am Steinhof

Even though I must leave Vienna behind physically, I’ll always remember the amazing time I spent there. The city and the people I met really changed who I am and opened my eyes to new possibilities. I know that I’ll never truly leave Vienna and its culture behind. Even as I sat on a plane destined for the international airport in Paris, I never really felt sad about leaving and I think that’s because I know I’ll return someday. I haven’t seen Vienna for the last time. Someday, I’ll be walking down Kärtnerstraße again, peeking through shop windows, or strolling along the Danube admiring the new graffiti, or sitting outside the Opera and eating a warm meal from one of the food vendors. It’s hard to say goodbye, but it was easy to say, until next time, Vienna.

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My parents arrived early in the morning, so we had the entire day to tour the city and I acted as their personal tour guide. Once we checked into our hotel, they helped me carry all my bags from my host mother’s house to the apartment. It was a little sad leaving the room that I had stayed in for about four months, but at the same time I was ready to leave and have some change in my routine.

Afterwards we headed down to the first district and I showed them the Rathaus with its amazing Christmas Market, it was extremely cold and snowing, so we didn’t want to hang out too long. Just a few days before my family arrived the temperature dropped to freezing and it has been that way ever since, sometimes even getting below freezing, which is pretty with the snow in the streets, but makes for a cold tour of the city.

I also showed them Parliament, Hofburg, and the National Library. We took a tour of the famous Spanish Riding School, which is host to the Lipizzan stallions. They are all white, because the emperor wanted them all to look the same, so they are bred that way. However, the school likes to have one Bay horse, because it is considered good luck.

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The next day was museum day. To get to the first museum we headed out towards the south train station. The Belvedere is on the way, so we stopped to see the palace grounds covered in snow. There is also a Christmas Market outside the Belvedere.

*as an early Christmas present my parents bought me a fisheye lens, which is why the following photos are used with that lens =)

The ponds and fountains surrounding the Belvedere were frozen and the gardens were covered in snow.

Belvedere

Just a few blocks from Belvedere is the HGM (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum), which is a museum about the major wars fought in and around Austria. This includes the Turkish Sieges of Vienna, WW I, and WW II. It is probably one of my favorite museums here in Vienna. The amount of historic artifacts they have is impressive. Inside are a number of different weapons, armor, and other items of significance from influential people in history.

The stairway leading up to the second floor of the museum. The museum itself is a work of art.

The Staircase of the HGM

Weapons of WW II

Hot Air Balloon

The car below belonged to Franz Ferdinand, who was a Habsburg, the next in line under Franz Josef. However, he was assassinated in Sarajevo and because of this Franz Josef declared war. It was to be the beginning of the Great War. On the car are the bullet holes that missed Franz Ferdinand. In the room is also the couch where he died and the suit he died in. His suit had a small hole where the bullet hit.

Franz Ferdinand's Car

Next we headed to the Natural History Museum, which is right across from the Art History Museum. It hosts a number of different animals, minerals, meteors, and dinosaur bones.

The entrance.

Natural History Entrance

The ceiling of the museum.

Natural History Ceiling

Vulture

Giant Bird

Pre-Historic Dinosaur

Pre-Historic Dino

The Christmas market on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Art History and Natural History.

MQ

Winter Lights

Christmas is just around the corner, which means that the lights go up (as well as the electricity bill) in all the homes and around the city. Over the past few weeks the busy streets of Vienna have started to sparkle. The Christmas markets, called Weihnachtsmarktes in German have also popped up everywhere.

The lights on Kärtnerstraße heading away from the center of the city.

Kärtnerstraße2

Kärtnerstraße

Lights on Kärtnerstraße heading towards the Opera House. This is one of the popular shopping streets.

Shopping

A random street.

I like these the most. It looks like it is raining light.

Snowing Lights

Schönbrunn has a Christmas market out front. Every night the building is lit as well as the Christmas tree in front. This is probably my favorite market so far. It’s touristy, but there aren’t too many people, plus the giant palace in the back just adds to the beauty.

Schönbrunn

Schönbrunn Christmas Tree

Chandeliers hang from the buildings along the Graben. Both Kärtnerstraße and the Graben were flocking with tourists and Christmas shoppers. It’s worth seeing the lights, but be prepared to do some ducking and dodging.

Graben

The Rathaus. Probably the most crowded place in Vienna at night. This is one of the bigger Christmas markets and it is always packed with people, to the point where it’s almost impossible to move between the Christmas stalls.

Rathaus

An ornament stall at the Rathaus. There are toys, candy, chocolate, ornaments, classic Austrian foods, and of course the famous Glühwein (mulled wine) and punsch (flavored schnapps)!

Ornament Stall

Lights

St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen's

A giant Christmas tree of lights by Schottenring.

X-mas Tree

Even the grocery stores are covered with lights!

Billa

Day 115-120: Final week of the Semester

Our last week of classes in Vienna.

The best part was probably our presentation in German class. Annika, Addison and I gave a presentation on the Oregon Trail in our class. It was a great experience, not only because the other students had a fun time with it, but also because I could really tell how much my German had improved. Speaking in front of any group of people isn’t a strong point of mine, but when I stood up to present my part, somehow everything just went smoothly. I was able to just talk and everyone understood me. I made a lot of mistakes, but it doesn’t matter. I gave an entire presentation in German and it felt really good!

To sum up the entire week, we had four tests, two ten-page essays and two presentations, but everyone made it and came out alive.

Our last final passed quickly and as we celebrated inside the Institute, snow began falling from the clouds. We all went outside with a skip in our step and took pictures in the snow. It was a really surreal moment, standing in front of the Opera House, covered in snow. I’m really glad that we were able to see snow before we left Europe.

Snow and Me

After getting everyone’s bags to the airport for early check-in, we headed to Vapiano’s (one of our favorite restaurants here) and had one last dinner together. Then we went to Flanagan’s (an Irish pub) to meet Eugene (if you remember he was with us in Dorfgastein). We talked about our time in Vienna with him and he shared some of the highs of his own study abroad experience.

Even though I’m staying in Europe a little longer, the end of my classes is still sad. It means that my semester abroad is over and soon I will have to return to reality. However, I’m ready more than ever to face what is to come. I feel like it can only get better from here on out. Before coming to Vienna, I could never really imagined myself in Europe. I couldn’t even picture myself there when I tried, but now I know that it’s more than possible. I know that one day I will return to Vienna. It’s become a part of me that I don’t want to forget and the friends I’ve made here and the places I’ve been, will always have a special spot in my heart.

** I actually wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but never actually had time to post it.**

Wow, it seems really strange to be typing 101 up in the title. I can’t believe it’s been over 100 days since I arrived in Vienna. I feel like 100 days is not really long, but I’ve done so much in 100 days, that I don’t think I would remember it all if it weren’t for this blog.

Everyone is starting to get restless now. We have less than two weeks left before the end of the term. Our last week will be filled with finals and then everyone is off to the airport. However, I will be going to the airport not to leave, but to pick up my family! I can’t wait to see them and show them everything I’ve come to love about Vienna.

For class we headed to the Upper Belvedere, which is host to a large number of Gustav Klimt pieces. Klimt is one of the more famous artists from Vienna. In the Belvedere is one of his most loved pieces “The Kiss”. It was a really great exhibit over Klimt, because it went through his style change, from more realistic paintings to painting in gold and 2D, to painting garden scenes.

We were also given the opportunity to visit the U.S. Embassy. The security, as you can probably imagine, was really strict, but the meeting we had with one of the ambassadors was really informal. It was a nice insight into the tasks and jobs an ambassador has in other countries.

That week was also my 21st birthday, but it was on a Wednesday so we didn’t really do anything. My host mom was really sweet though, and when I got home from class she made me dinner, we had cake and then she gave me presents. I didn’t have enough room to pack a lot of things when I came here, so I left out gloves and a hat. My host mom would always complain and say I was going to freeze to death, so she got me a hat, scarf and gloves for my birthday.

That weekend, I was thrown a surprise birthday party! We went to a weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), between two of the larger museums in Vienna, and wandered around, then they took me to a Austrian restaurant and we all had traditional Austrian dishes. Lastly, we went to the movie theater and watched Perks of Being A Wallflower. We didn’t want to go home after the movie so we found this cocktail bar called New Yorker and had drinks. It played all the old movie soundtracks like the James Bond and at one point the Mission Impossible theme. We all felt like secret agents sitting in a smoky (people are allowed to smoke inside in Austria) and dark cocktail bar. It was a really great night and I couldn’t have asked for more!

Thursday was also Thanksgiving, for which the Institute hosted a traditional American dinner for us at the restaurant 1516. Some of our professors came, friends from the Institute, and also our speaking assistants. The food was actually pretty good, although there was a strange grey-looking mushroom dish that no one touched.

Annika, Ari and I also traveled to the United Nations. It was the third one built after the New York and Geneva buildings. The UN in Vienna has many jobs, but one of the most important is probably its regulation of Atomic Energy. The tour was really amazing. Our tour guide told us a lot of the reasons that a UN is good, but she also talked about why it doesn’t always work and the problems that it faces. It was a good two-sided tour.

This week has been really hectic, but we are all starting to feel the pressure of time. There’s still so much to do, but just not enough time to do it. However, we have all agreed that our time here hasn’t gone to waste!

The weekend before finals Annika and I walked down the Danube Canal, which is right by my house. It’s a really nice path that basically follows the river through the city. The sides are always covered in graffiti, but I think it adds character.

Along the Danube

We visited Christine’s (one of our speaking partner) horse, he was really cute and she let us sit on him for a photo op.

Horse

After meeting Christine’s horse we took a long walk in the woods. We were in one of the towns just outside Vienna and the woods were really beautiful. Christine had her dog Jack there. He loved to run ahead of us and jump in the creek that ran alongside the trail.

Jack

Fall Leaves

We went to the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek or Austrian National Library one day for class. This is the library that resides in one section of the Hofburg Palace. Part of it is very old and only used as a museum of sorts, but the rest is used by people in Vienna for their research.

It was like a library from out of my dreams, with shelves full of books going all the way to the ceiling, spiral staircases and secret rooms full of even more books!

The National Library was built in the Baroque style and by Charles VI, the last Habsburg man and father of Maria Theresa. He created a rule called the Pragmatic Sanction that allowed Maria Theresa to take his place, because he could not produce any male heirs. After his death the Habsburgs become Habsburg-Lorraine.

The bookshelves were so high that ladders are needed to reach the top.

The books are so old that the pages have turned dark brown. Everything is hand printed and many of them have beautiful illustrations with the boldest colors I’ve ever seen. We were lucky enough to have our professor there who knew one of the tour guides personally, so we got to see some of the books close up. The covers are also made out of wood.

There were secret rooms all throughout the library. They are not actually supposed to hide anything though.The room was built in an oval shape, but the building itself is square so they had extra nooks to fill in.

The ceiling at the entrance to the library.

The domed ceiling of the central part of the library.

A statue of Charles VI, which stands in the middle of the library.

After we looked around the old library our guide took us underneath the Hofburg to reach the new section of the library. I felt very official walking through all the secret underground tunnels and using the non-public elevator.

We walked by the ventilation system for the library, which is underneath a garden.

The never ending archive room.

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I have two ten-page papers due at the end of my semester. One of them is about the Turkish sieges on Vienna, but the other one is on Art Nouveau and specifically the Art Nouveau movement in Vienna. Since I’m right in the middle of one of the most artistic cities in Europe it was easy for me to simply walk outside and do my research through sightseeing.

The Art Nouveau movement in Vienna was specifically called the Secession, because a group of artists left the Künstlerhaus. They believed it was too restricting. In this group was Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich and most famous of all Gustav Klimt. Later Otto Wagner would join the movement a little later, but he was also a large player in the movement. 

The first place I visited was the Karlsplatz station, which was built by Otto Wagner. He is responsible for a lot of different buildings in Vienna and he also worked on the Ringstraße.

Karlsplatz is one of the larger U-Bahn stations in Vienna. This particular exit is not used too often, but it is really beautiful and probably the most artistic of the Karlsplatz stations. Its name comes from the Karlskirche (Charles Church), which is only about two minutes from here.

Gold, nature and swirling patterns some basic themes in Art Nouveau.

This actually looks like the front, but it is the back of the station. No one can exit through these doors from the U-Bahn.

Detail on the station.

One of the doors. I love the attention to detail. Its simple yet beautiful.

Next I headed over the the Secession building, which was built by Joseph Maria Olbrich. At one point in his life Olbrich worked under Wagner and many of his buildings are similar to Wagner’s own work. Olbrich built the Secession building specifically so that the artists had a place to exhibit their work. Today it still hosts exhibits and has one of Gustav Klimt’s famous works, the Beethoven Frieze.

The Secession building.

Many people hated it when it was first build, because of the golden ball on top. They called it a cabbage or a furnace. Personally, I think it looks cool on its own, but I was surprised by it the first time I saw it, because it doesn’t look like anything else in the area.

Olbrich built this building as a “temple to art” so the entrance is very ceremonial, but inside the building is completely white and plain. This was because the Secessionists believed in functionality over form.

The three heads over the doorway. They are the three Gorgons, representing painting, architecture and sculpture, which are the arts that the Secessionists mastered in.

Above the Gorgons are the words of the Secessionist’s motto, Der Zeit Ihre Kunst, Der Kunst Ihre Freiheit.

To Every Age Its Art, To Art Its Freedom

The side of the building.

Owls on the side of the Secession.

It was a monday night, but Ari, Annika and I still decided that it was worth it to go to a concert by Mika. We traveled a long way from the center of the city to a place called the Gasometer. The Gasometer is actually one of four old gas tanks, which the city used to store gas. They were shut down a while ago, but now they are used for student housing, movie theater, shopping, restaurants, and a concert hall.

Our tickets had no seat numbers so we knew we had to arrive early to get a good standing place. We stepped right off the U-Bahn and there was the Gasometer, but the map was really confusing and we spent about a half hour trying to figure out how we could get to the concert hall, which was ground-level. All the elevators inside the building were closed or locked, so eventually we had to make our way back outside until we found the ground floor entrance. By the time we got there the line was long, but nothing that we were worried about.

Once inside we headed straight to the concert hall and stationed ourselves right at the front. Lucky for us there weren’t that many people there yet and we were only two people back from the stage.

*These pictures aren’t the best, because they were taken with my phone, but they do show just how close we were.*

Mika had a backup choir dressed in these horrible polka dot sheets. He said something about the choir only having rehearsed with them once. Sometimes he would look at them and laugh, because they were dressed so ridiculously, but they were having fun dance and acting along with Mika’s crazy performance.

I always worry that the bands I go see won’t be as good live, but so far they haven’t let me down!

The concert was really amazing, and what I liked about it most was the fact that Mika was so informal. He was constantly changing the set list, which probably made his new band a little nervous, but if they made a mistake he would joke around with them. It was really refreshing to see an artist that doesn’t take himself too seriously. He was constantly jumping around stage and dancing like he was just enjoying life and couldn’t care less what people thought.

Annika probably has the best description of him, she called him a “mischievous elf”.

It was a great night and although we were tired the next day it was worth every minute.

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It’s been months since I went to the Imperial Crypt of the Habsburgs, but I returned to it one day with my class. This time I knew a lot more about the different people buried there after learning about basically every Habsburg that was ever important.

The rituals of the Habsburg’s burials were very important. Whenever one of them died, the heart was removed as well as the organs. These are stored in the crypt in St. Stephens. Although, the hearts are placed in different places depending on what each individual Habsburg wanted. They would also drain them of blood and fill their bodies with sawdust or other concoctions, which differed depending on the person who was preparing the body.

There is also a ritual that the body must go through to enter the crypt. First the dead are lead around Ringstraße and taken to St. Stephens where Mass is held. Then the body is transported to the crypt. Outside the many names and titles of the deceased are listed off, but the body is not allowed to enter. Slowly the titles are reduced until it is only the deceased’s name and yet they are still not allowed to enter the crypt. Finally, the name of the deceased is reduced to simply, “a dead man” and they are allowed to enter the crypt and in turn enter death just as they had entered the world.

The sarcophagi are made out of tin and often have to be restored or else they warp. Inside the sarcophagi are wood coffins.

The first part of the crypt is very different from the last half. This is because the coffins in the first half were built during the Baroque period and therefore they are adorned with entire figures made out of tin, while the most recent coffins, in the last part of the crypt, are simpler and made only a few years ago.

The front of Leopold I’s sarcophgus. He was one of the Baroque emperors and was ruler of the Habsburg lands during the 1683 Turkish siege. He spent most of his life fighting, but is said to have been a peace-loving man. The skull and leaves stand for victory over death.

The largest of the sarcophagi is the one for Maria Theresa and her husband Francis Stephen of Lorraine. Maria Theresa is on the left and her husband on the right. They were very much in love and when he died first she would visit him in the crypt until she could no longer walk. Together they had 16 children, probably the best known being Marie Antoinette. Maria Theresa was a very forward thinking ruler and she passed many reforms that benefitted her people.

Just to the right of Maria Theresa is the simple sarcophagus of the nanny who took care of Maria Theresa’s children. She is the only non-Habsburg to be buried in the crypt.

In the background is the sarcophagus of Maria Theresa. In the foreground is the sarcophagus of Joseph II, the son of Maria Theresa. They co-ruled for a time and when Maria Theresa died Joseph took control. He was one of the very first ruler that was truly of the Enlgihtenment and many would say far too ahead of his time.

He was a very practical thinking man. He opened the Prater and Augarten in Vienna to the public, which as you can imagine did not make some of the more wealthy very happy and he abolished torture and serfdom. However, some of his reforms were too drastic for the time. He believed religion should be an individual matter and the church subservient to the state, which was hard for people to understand when the church had always been so involved in their lives. He closed down 700 monasteries, becoming so extreme that the Pope himself visited Vienna to make him stop.

Joseph was also known for creating fake coffins, which had trap doors on the bottom so that the bodies could be dumped in the grave and the coffin reused without anyone knowing. Some believe that it is because of Joseph that Mozart’s body has never been found.

He also built a hospital for the poor in Vienna with a smaller building behind it for the clinically insane. This is the hospital in which I now have my German classes.

Joseph’s sarcophagus is lower than Maria Theresa’s because he was such a practical man and wanted to be at the level of his own people.

Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. Sisi was loved by many, especially Franz Joseph, but she never really loved him back. She spent most of her time traveling. She was a mediator between Austria and Hungary and helped to create the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She was killed by an Italian anarchist on one trip.

Crown Prince Rudolf is to the right of Franz Joseph. He was one of the only Habsburgs to be tutored by someone other than a noble professor. He is said to have died on a hunting accident, but many believe that he killed himself. They also found a mistress dead with him. It is not known if he killed her or if she wanted to die with him, because she loved him so much.

Charles I.

After WW I he was asked to step down and the Habsburg Empire was no more. He was exiled to Switzerland, but always had a dream of coming back to try to reclaim his “rightful” place. His body is not in the crypt because of his exile.

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.

Fall is one of my favorite times. Fall means family and friend time, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, sitting by the fire and watching movies. Outside it means that the leaves are changing and the trees are at their most beautiful.

When I woke up in the morning it was raining and really not the best day to walk around outside, but the weather will probably only get worse, so it was off to Schönbrunn! Annika and Nick accompanied me this time.

When we arrived, the palace was almost completely deserted and it started to pour, but overall it was a wonderful walk in the gardens.

Later that day Annika and I went shoe shopping and found a great deal, then we all went out to see a movie.

On the way back to my house the rain was coming down hard and it stung my face like sleet. Everyone says it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so we’ll see!

EDIT: 11/7/12

It did snow the next few days, mostly outside of the center of the city, but I did get to see a few flakes as I was walking to class.

The little snow remaining by the Opera House.

One night after a long day of midterms and studying, we were given the opportunity to go to Puls 4, a TV news station in Vienna, and sit in the audience for a debate over the presidential election in America.

It took us a long time to find the station, basically our instructions were to step off the Straßenbahn and turn left, but left is a word that can be interpreted in an umber of ways! Eventually, we found a nice man who took out his phone and researched the address for us. Turns out we were pretty close.

Getting a behind the scenes look at how a news station runs was amazing!

We arrived and there were food and drinks set out for everyone. We all stood around for a little talking and getting our make-up done, the men too, until one of the interns asked us all to move into the studio.

The studio was actually really small and we were only sitting maybe a few feet from the main stage. They gave us all exact spots to sit in. I was sitting by another man who came from America, but had lived in Austria for about 30 years. We chatted quietly before they signaled everyone to be quiet and then the show started.

It was very hot under the stage lighting and I was trying very hard not to blink too much and have a pleasant look on my face when the camera scanned the crowed. All the cameramen worked smoothly together and they were constantly moving around to get the best shot, sometimes they even blocked the audiences view of the stage.

Whenever we needed to clap there was someone placed in the audience who was there to initiate the clapping and it was funny listening to the 30 second pause before everyone else started clapping too. Going back to video and watching it again, I could not tell there was any pause and most of the time the audio from the audience wasn’t captured unless there was a mic on one of the audience members.

The actual show was a debate between people for Romney and people for Obama. The guests consisted of a woman who worked for Ronald Reagan, the chief director of the magazine “Liberal”, a journalist from “Der Standard” and a political strategist.

Sometimes I had a hard time understanding the German being spoken, but for the most part it was actually easy to understand.

It was really a wonderful experience to be on Austrian TV and at the same time get a glimpse into how people outside the US view American politics.

See if you can find me!

Photo courtesy of Puls4