Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saying Hi to the Hapsburgs

Our expensive train from Krakow brought us to Vienna early in the morning. After wandering around for a bit, BH had the bright idea to get a map to get our bearings. After walking a half an hour in the wrong direction, we figured it out, and headed to our hostel. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to check in till around 10:30, so we had to go to Starbucks to wait. Oh, such a shame.
After our typical iced Americanos, we went back to the hostel, checked in, and started our tour of Austria. Rick Steve’s led us on this tour again, and we started out at the opera house and followed his walking tour. He brought us to the Hotel Sacher, Stephansplatz cathedral, and, my favorite, the Holy Trinity plague column, which depicts the end of the 1670 bubonic epidemic. The plague hag is being thrown out by an adorable cupid and the king himself. Nice.

A quick lunch at Nordsee was followed by a tour of the Hofburg palace. While buying our tickets, I asked if there was a discount for Deaf individuals. She gave Byeong-Hun a student discount, and then I received a free ticket for translating. Now, that is a first! Hofburg palace was really interesting, especially the Sisi museum. I actually did not know anything about this apparently famous queen, but the museum was well laid out and very informative. If anyone has seen any movies about Empress Elisabeth, I’d like some recommendations. We also took a tour of the royalty’s dinnerware. They had a remarkable amount of ornate flatware that any housewife would love to decorate with (heaven forbid to eat off of!).
(BH is asking if this china is from China)
The tours were followed by a little trek through Vienna’s Christmas markets. I thought the ones in Prague were nice, but a Viennese Christmas is adorable! Since Austria is on the Euro, I refused to buy anything, but the window shopping was fun nevertheless.
Our last stop of the day was the Kunsthistorisches Museum. What a mouthful. The museum had such a huge collection of European masterpieces, that it almost got boring. Those Italian painters and their religious symbols… However, half of the main floor was Northern Renaissance art. Wonderful. It also made me hungry. Look at these fish.
Since we were trying to make our Euros stretch, we had some street meat, and finished the night watching the Pianist. One great thing about travelling around Europe is being able to visit a country and then see a movie that takes place in said country. Since we had just left Poland, the Pianist was even more moving and fascinating.

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