Sunday, July 31, 2005

reflections

So my last day in Vienna... I know you´re dying to know how I spent it so I will take you along for the ride with me.

We begin at the subway station, not a very romantic start, but I had to get you there right? It´s not like you can magically appear on the street. We wlk down the steet adn the front of the Nachsmarkt appears, but becuase it is Sunday, it is silent and desolate and the crowded yelling that permeates the area on everyother day is nothing more than a haunting in the stillness. We pass the Succession, rising like a golden dome above our heads. It is here that Klimt and Schiele decide to succeed from the current art movement and create something of their own. Walking further down we come to the Theatre Wien where the strains of a tenor can be heard breaking through a window and interrupting the mornings stillness. We turn and head back towards town, stopping in Schiller park to feed the pigeons who are trying desparately and comically to get the birdseed out of the feeder which was definitely not intended for pigeons. The tall imposing building that shadows the park is the academy of fine art, its stately pillars and monuments a testimony to the works inside. As we cross the street we enter the Burggarten, the Hapsburgs royal garden. There are already people lying in the grass and surrounding the small lake and fountains. Families push their strollers around the edge of the park past the butterfly house and the couples enjoying their coffes on the terrace. Crossing into the Palace you could get lost in Hapsburg. The strains of a cello and violin seem to coax you further and as we round the corner the young musicians come into sight. We´d like to stay and listen longer, but there is more to see and not enough time. We walk down Kohlmarkt, passed the tourist enjoying their pastries at Demels and onto the Graben, the most prestigious shopping street on what was once a Roman moat. Passed the plague column built to commemorate the survival St. Stephen´s Cathedral rises into the sky like a mother keeping watchful eye over her children. We turn into one of the many mazes of streets and weave our way through the narrow cobblestone until we reach the hoer markt and its roman ruins. Continuing we reach St. Maria am Gestade. Originally the church sat on the rivers edge and was frequented by fishermen. The gothic cathedral stretches itself towards the heavens and the carvings seem to climb as if to beat it there. Inside it is more light that you would expect adn the gilded frescoes add to the spectacle. The front is filled with light pouring in from the large stained glass windows. We will stay in here a moment more, to take in all the sights and feels. Leaving, we retrace our steps slightly so that we can got to Judenplatz, the old Jewish quarter. It is here Vienna has errected its holocaust memorial, a depiction of a house of books, symbolizing the drive for knowledge. back through Hoermarkt and down another tiny street, this time to Schoenlanterngasse, or beautiful lantern street. The colorful baroque houses look like something from a fairytale, especially with a story such as the one accompanying the basilisk house. It is here where there was a well with a basilisk living in it, poisoning the people. The basilisk was only able to be destoryed when a man climbed down with a mirror. As the beast gazed at itself in the mirror, it turned itself to stone. (You know, that´s a pretty good story...if I was a writer I´d try to incorporate that into a book....maybe with some kid in a wizarding school or something...hmmmmmmm). Twisting and turning through the streets we go back to the Hofburg Palace, this time crossing it and entering Neuberg, the newest part of the complex. We head through Maria Theresa Platz stopping shortly to get one last look at the Empress sitting between the oldest museums. Passing through the museum quartier we head up Mariahilferstrasse, its shops all closed for the day. The passersby continue to look in windows, content with merely walking and enjoying their stroll. And we are back again at the subway which is where I will leave you, enjoying the sights and sounds of a city which firmly stradle the line between the ancient and modern.

Favorite Parts of the trip:
Best Country: Austria
Best City: Salzburg
Best Museum: Belvedere, Vienna
Best Castle: Neuhwenstein, Germany
Best Palace: Schonbrunn, Vienna
Best Cathedral: This is kinda cheating but I made the list: The Spanish Synagogue, Prague
Best Traveling companion: Jon (brownie points for me!)
Best Food: Weiner Snitzel
Most Exotic Experience: Bratislava
Best Cafe: Cologne
Best Shopping: Prague!
Bravest Experience: Marion Bridge
Best Part of Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia
Best Part of Paris: Climbing to the top of the Eiffle tower
Best Part of Amsterdam: Anne Frank Museum
Best Part of Cologne: Cathedral, cafe at the base
Best Part of Vienna: EVERYTHING! But I really love Schonbrunn!
Best Part of Salzburg: Festung Hohensalzburg
Best Part of Bratislava: The well to forever
best part of Prague: The Jewish quarter
Best part of Munich: Surfer´s wave
Nicest People: Austrians!!!!!


Okay that´s it for me!!!! See you in the US!

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