August 2 - Visiting Vienna!

As I sit in our hotel room writing my first journal entry tonight, it's hard to believe all that we have done in the past 24 hours. Yesterday we left Boston on a new Aer Lingus Airbus, crossed the Atlantic in just over five hours, and landed in Dublin at 4:55 am. By 7:30 am we were on our way to Vienna and landed here at 11:00 am this morning.

While riding the airport transit bus to our hotel, evidence was everywhere that Vienna is the jumping off point to some very exciting cities that just 20 years ago weren't the popular tourist destinations they are today. Sign posts pointed the way to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest. Our hotel, Pension Corvinus, is just one block away from one of the main subway lines and although the room is small, it is clean, modern, air conditioned, and comfortable. Better yet, it only costs 90 euro per night and is right in the middle of a nice shopping district on a tree lined street.

Feeling hungry for a snack, we headed down the street to Buffet Trzesniewski. Here you can choose from an elaborate array of 22 different kinds of fancy open face finger sandwiches served with miniature glasses of beer. Not sure what any of the sandwiches actually were, I decided to stick with easily recognizable ones such as egg salad or tomato and they were delicious. I tried mine with fresh pear juice and it was the perfect combination.

After a much needed three hour nap, we bought a 48 hour transit pass and headed into the heart of the city. Our first stop was the pedestrian zone where they had every store imaginable. An interesting contrast I noticed is that the shops all have bold colorful signs seen in almost any city, yet if you look above them, the old buildings these stores are housed in are beautiful. We had an early dinner at Gingerl Stadtheuriger. It is a heuriger which means it serves wine and fresh food that would normally be served in a vineyard. We tried their spinach strudel made with flaky pastry, and a fresh garden salad.

Feeling energized, we decided to visit the Hausdermusik which is one of the most unusual museums I have ever visited. The self guided tour begins with a visit to a small auditorium where you feel as if you are watching a live presentation of the Vienna Philharmonic Symphony's New Year's concert. Then, following a series of arrows, we visited a series of interactive exhibits which included lessons about tone, rhythm, pitch, and the far limits of the human ear's ability to interpret sound. Feeling a little overwhelmed with the unusual sounds offered to us on headphones such as gurgling, spinning, coughing, sneezing, and rattling paper, it was a welcome relief to enter the classical music section. There was a separate room for each composer which included his music, posters from his concerts, and period instruments. The grand finale of the visit was an opportunity to virtually conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. If you did a good job, they played well, but if you weren't focussed, they stopped playing and told you that you were a bad conductor!

Our final stop of the evening was Zinoni and Zinoni for a scoop of their gelati. I ordered a scoop of raspberry and one of blueberry and it was the freshest gelati I have ever had. We will be sure to go back there tomorrow.

It is now midnight, but outside the streets are still alive with people enjoying cafes and street performers. It's been a long day and it's now time for bed. Seeing the lights of the city outside our window, I can't wait until tomorrow to get out and explore this magical city some more.

Comments

CoachSparky said…
Wow! It sounds like you are having a good time so far. It's unbelievable how much you were able to do in 24 hours. Did you sleep on the plane? How much is 90 euro worth now? If possible, take pictures of the beautiful buildings that the shops are housed in.

All of the food you have been enjoying sounds yummy. I agree-- go back and get some more of the delicious gelati! Tell us what flavors you get tomorrow:)

That does sound like an unusual museum! Reading your description of conducting the Philharmonic, I was thinking it would be neat if the kids could engage in an activity like this-- so they can see what happens when they are not focusing!
Explorer Bear said…
Thanks so much for following the blog! We didn't sleep on the plane, but I did see an interesting reality tv show on the monitor called Summer Heights High which followed three students at an inner city Australian school. I think the intended auidence is adults. About the euro, it's about $1.30 for a euro.
Jessica said…
I think I would have really liked that museum too! How did you do, by the way, conducting? :)

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