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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday and Sunday in Vienna

First of all, there were no travel snafus leaving Kazakhstan.  I cannot overstate my happiness at this.  The flight wasn’t even at too horrible of an hour.  It left at 7:40, which meant an early morning, but also some sort of opportunity to sleep the previous night.

We took Vienna’s wonderful train from the airport to the city center, and had maybe a ten minute walk to our hotel.  Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we stored our luggage, went out for breakfast, and took a walk around the area to get our bearings.  Up until this point, my experience of Europe consisted of the European portion of Istanbul and a handful of airports, so Vienna was something very different for me.

Due to our early wake up and our lingering winter diseases, we decided to take a nap after that.  We got up in time for dinner, and went to a place recommended  by our guidebook as having some of the biggest and best schnitzels.  I wasn’t sure what I would think of the schnitzels, but they were terrific, and mine very impressively stuck out over the edges of the plate.  We got salads with these, and it was such a treat to have an array of leafy greens again.

The next day, we had various time constraints.  First, Scott and I ended up with some administrative tasks to take care of in the morning.  Secondly (and more enjoyably), we had purchased concert tickets at the Musikveirin in the evening.  We did some more wandering around with some smaller activities interspersed until it was time for the concert.  We saw the Anker clock, visited one of the two Judenplatz museum buildings, and saw the memorial to the victims of fascism

The Musikveirin was an impressive concert hall.  We saw the French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky and Berlioz.  We didn’t know much about the seats we were getting when we bought the tickets.  It’s a good thing we didn’t buy the cheapest seats because those appeared to not be seats at all, but rather a place to stand in a crowd.  I think our seats were the next price bracket up, and they were literally on the stage, behind the musicians.  I have never experienced that sort of seating arrangement, and it seemed quite surreal.  The sound quality was great, so I can’t complain!  Also, I was impressed that I didn’t hear a single cell phone or see a single camera flash during the performance.  Kudos Vienna concert-goers!

Memorial to the victims of fascism

Musikveirin, from my view on stage

Musikveirin from the back of the stage

Musikveirin from outside

St. Stephen's Cathedral

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