Baby Wombat!!

We got into Vienna on Thursday after a train ride through some beautiful and mountainous countryside and settled into our hostel (NOT a good one this time) and then went out walking around the city. We saw the Viennese Parliament, Theatre and a beautiful cathedral near our house. The city is really busy right now; it was so crowded everywhere we went. Also, apparently the Life Ball is happening now which is a massive AIDS benefit, so there were a lot of decorations and people out and about for that.

Harris and I went out that night to this area that our hostel guy told us to go, but it seemed like either we were in the wrong place or Thursday night is just not that happening. It was pretty dead but we had fun anyway!
We got up on Friday morning and went to the Ring, which is the area with all the sights, museums, etc. We saw Karlskirche, a cathedral

and Stephansdom, another cathedral. We wanted to go underground to see the catacombs, but apparently you had to take a tour so we weren’t able to do it that day.
We saw the Hofsburg Palace and the opera house. At the palace, there were ruins outside of Roman homes from 2 AD, which was pretty amazing.

After that, we went to the coolest museum ever. It was the Kunst Haus Vien and it had this really cool exhibit by this artist Hundertwasser who believes that land should be curvy because man loses touch with nature when he walks on flat land. He also proposes that houses should be built under the ground so that we can have more land. It was really interesting and his art was very modern and colorful. There was also a fashion photography exhibit by Guy Bourdin which was also really interesting.

After we got home from the hostel, we ate Doner Kebab for the second time that day and got ready to go out. We hung out at the hostel bar for a bit and then went over to this other hostel club which was actually awesome. We had gotten about 5 suggestions for places to go out and when we were on the metro to this club called Passage, we met a huge group of undergrads from University of Illinois who were studying abroad here and they invited us to come with them, so we did. It was the most random night ever, but we had a lot of fun. We ended up losing them, so it was just the three of us in this underground club. They played house music and there was a guy playing violin along with it which was really cool and unique. Then they popped this bottle of champagne (we noticed they do this a lot at Austrian bars) and Meryl and I were running to get away from the spray and we fell underneath the bar onto a pole, where I bruised my butt pretty bad so we ended up leaving.

Bringing our own wine into the bar
Tequila shots!
Today, Saturday, was a very productive day. We got up and had lunch and then went back to Stephensdom Cathedral for a tour of the catacombs, which was so creepy. They store all of the Hapsburgs innards; there are jars upon jars of hearts, intestines, spleens and such. You can’t see them, but knowing they are there is sick enough for me. They also have several rooms filled with skeletons and bones of people from the 1400s-1700s. There is one room that consists entirely of skeletons from people who died of the plague. It’s crazy because there is no barrier between you and the bones, just a wire grate over the windows, so if you were sick enough, you could reach in and grab some (EW!!). I was pretty creeped out but it was really neat.

Then we went to the Haus der Musik, a science and music museum. There was a field trip or something so unfortunately I couldn’t play with all the exhibits, but they have activities you can do like conduct your own orchestra, write a song using dice, and others. There is one room where you can see and hear what it would be like to be a fetus in the womb. My favorite part however was a floor dedicated to all the composers like Mozart and Beethoven and it had Mozart’s original compositions and some of Beethovens, as well as letters and other artifacts.

Beethoven’s door

After we left we went to Schonbrunn palace , where Maria Theresa lived . We didn’t go inside because it was too late, but we walked around the gardens, which were huge! It was almost like Versailles. I wish we would have had more time, especially since inside the palace is the Hall of Mirrors which is where Mozart performed when he was six. Oh well, I guess you can’t see everything!

Next was my favorite part of the day. We went to this cemetery called Zentralfriedhof where we saw Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss and Shubert’s graves, which was really awesome. I want to send the pictures to Laila! It was just really amazing to be standing among such important musician and composers!

After such a long day, we had a delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant near our hostel and went back to do laundry and pack for the morning when we leave to go to Prague!! I can’t believe the easy part of our travels are over and we’re going to start class, but I’m so excited to head to another new place and we still have Dublin and Paris to visit too!!

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