To finally finish up my blogs about fall break (which was actually more of a winter break, since we didn’t get back to Reutlingen until mid-November), I’ll talk about my time in Austria! In short, I love this country. I mean, The Sound of Music is my favorite movie, so of course that doesn’t hurt my fascination with it. But also, it’s just beautiful. The cities themselves are picturesque, and of course then there’s the Alps in the background in parts of the country. Just absolutely fabulous. And it’s a cheap country, even with the exchange rate. Just another enticement for someone on a student budget.
So first stop was Salzburg, THE land of the Sound of Music. Literally the only downsides to this place were the fact that we didn’t get to our hostel until 2 a.m. and the fact that it was so foggy the whole time we were there that we couldn’t see the Alps. Not that it wasn’t still beautiful. We walked around the city for a good bit, and went inside a few of the gorgeous churches and hiked to the top of one of the hills with a gigantic fortress on top. And after wandering around for a good long while, we got to take the super-touristy Sound of Music tour!!!
Not that I cared how touristy it was. Because we got to sit in a van with other Americans and sing the soundtrack as we drove through beautiful countryside and see all the places that were included in the film. Like the wedding church where Maria and the Captain got married, the row of trees the children climbed, the Von Trapp house, the pond and gardens behind the house, the gazebo, most of the sights in the “Do a Deer” musical section, and so much more. It was some of the most exciting few hours of my life. And since I can’t put all the pictures up here, just look at the ones on Picasa.(https://picasaweb.google.com/100454144518688283131/SoundOfMusic) So doing all that, plus more walking around since it was a beautiful city, took up a good day and a half, and then we headed to Vienna!
Vienna was also amazing. There is so much history and culture in that city, it’s ridiculous. You can also see Zach’s and Jake’s posts about their time in Vienna. I didn’t have quite as much time there, just about two days, but it was still fantastic. We got in a bit before dinnertime, so decided to wander the city for a bit and get food. The absolute highlight of the night was going into the huge church downtown on a whim. Turns out they turn on tons of colorful lights inside at night, and it was just dazzling. I can’t describe it. So beautiful seeing a huge cathedral burst with color.
The next day we started at Schoenbrunn Palace, which is basically Versailles #2. It was absolutely gorgeous inside (and it was nice not to have to take a tour for once.. they just give out audioguides with the tickets and let you wander yourself). And the gardens also were fantastic. If it wasn’t so cold I could’ve spent an entire day there just sitting outside. After that, Molly and I went to the famous art museum while Matt went to go find Bach stuff, and other music-related stuff. It is famous for a reason, it had so many famous paintings by famous artists that even I knew, as artistically retarded as I am.
After lunch at Nordsee (cheap fish!) Molly and I wandered around the city for a good bit. Since Christmas decorations were starting to go up, it was even more beautiful. After a bit of shopping and hot chocolate and cake, we made it over to the Belvedere Palace, which had a bunch of Klimt art, which Molly went crazy over while I relaxed in the garden instead. And then for the rest of the night we just relaxed in the city over drinks and at the hostel.
The next morning we decided to see if we could catch the end of the Vienna Boy’s Choir, since they sing every Sunday during the chapel service at the Hofburg Palace. We figured there’d be no way to see them, since they supposedly sing from the balcony and nobody can see. BUT turns out they came downstairs for a final song after the procession out! And we got there at just the right moment, right before they started singing. So we just so happened to see and hear the most famous choir in the world in a palace, without paying anything and without planning it. It was absolutely fabulous. And I mean, they’re pretty good, but the main attraction is that they’re so famous. There’s fabulous music all over Europe in the churches.
After that, we had a few hours to wander around before our train back to Reutlingen. So we found the beautiful Austrian Parliament building, and the city hall of Vienna. Both absolutely stunning. And the Christmas market in Vienna had just started, so we were able to get our first taste of Christmas in Europe! More posts about Christmas markets coming later, of course, but this one was beautiful with the gigantic city hall in the back ground. But then we had to leave.. And thus concluded my fabulous two-week adventure all over western Europe. Five countries, plus an island, and many more cities than that, not bad for two weeks. Bis zum nächsten Mal!