Wien: Week 3

Week 3 saw the continuation of the Orientation and Cultural (OK) Program with WU. Another jam-packed week:

Monday

  • Guided tour at Belvedere, a historical Baroque-style building complex that originated as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy and currently houses the Belvedere museum. The Belvedere museum houses the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt oil paintings. He’s best known for his painting titled The Kiss and other works during the “Art Nouveau” period. Other works at the Belvedere include Impressionism paintings by Claude Monet and Expressionism paintings by Egon Shiele. I like listening to the meaning behind certain paintings, but sometimes I wonder if the artist actually intended to paint that one brush stroke a certain way in order to express opinion on the social/political situation at the time, or if it’s just our personal interpretation. Artist friends, tell me, what is it?

    Tour guide’s explanation of The Kiss (1907/08): The man looks dominant over the woman because he looks bigger and the woman looks submissive under his kiss. Also his harsh square pattern on the robe vs. her softer, round print. But if the woman were to stand up, she would actually be much taller than the man. This was to indicate the very beginning of the gender equality movement.. I think? Photo taken from belvedere.at

    Tourguide's explanation of Judith (1901): Based on the story of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith. The story goes that Holofernes was about to destroy Judith's home city, so she seduces him and then beheads him. In this painting she is portrayed as very powerful and confident, with Holofernes insignificantly tucked away in the corner. Another gender equality thing.. maybe?

    Tourguide’s explanation of Judith (Gustav Klimt, 1901): Based on the story of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith. The story goes that Holofernes was about to destroy Judith’s home city, so she seduces him and then beheads him. In this painting she is portrayed as very powerful and confident, with Holofernes insignificantly tucked away in the corner. Another gender equality thing.. maybe? Photo taken from belvedere.at

    Florence (another Vancouverite from SFU!) and I in front of this mirror with the Belvedere behind us

    Florence (another Vancouverite from SFU!) and I in front of this cool mirror, with the reflection of the Belvedere behind us

    the gardens at the Belvedere were modelled after the French Versailles

    the gardens at the Belvedere were modelled after the French Versailles

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  • Tuesday
    • Ottakringer Brewery! A local brewery in Vienna, over 175 years old. The tour itself was quite short, but it’s usually cool to see the inside of manufacturing plants. And of course, the beer tasting!DSC00393
      Ottakringer - the fermentation stage

      Ottakringer – the fermentation stage

      Ottakringer - the packing plant

      Ottakringer – the packing plant

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      Left to Right: Gold Fassl Zwickl Rot, Gold Fassl Pils, Ottakringer Wiener Original, Ottakringer Radler Citrus

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      Left to Right: Ottakringer Braumeister Spezial (mystery flavour), Gold Fassl Spezial, Gold Fassl Zwickl, Gold Fassl Pur

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      Complimentary pretzel at the brewery!

    • After Ottakringer we went to Vapiano, an Italian cafeteria-type place at Mariahilfer Straße, a big shopping street in Vienna

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      White wine, bruschetta, pasta at Vapiano!

    • Attended the semi-finals of the International Fritz Kreisler Competition at the Vienna Konzerthaus. Much thanks goes to Dom, our friend from UBC and Austrian citizen, for inviting us! Dom temporarily hosted William Hagen, an solo violinist who previously studied at Julliard and currently at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music. He eventually went on to compete in the finals!
      one of the smaller concert halls in the Vienna Konzerthaus

      one of the smaller concert halls in the Vienna Konzerthaus

      William Hagen

      William Hagen with piano accompaniment

  • Wednesday
    • It was a beautiful day for bike riding along the Danube River with Jason and his EBN buddy, Tina. Vienna’s CityBikes are very accessible and super cheap! It’s free for the first hour, €1 for the second hour, €2 for the third hour and €4 for the fourth-120th hour. There are bike lanes everywhere in Vienna, which are used extensively. Vancouver certainly wishes it could have such a sophisticated bike system!
      typical Vienna pedestrian sidewalk (left) and bike lane (right). PC: Rich S from thechainlink.org

      typical Vienna pedestrian sidewalk (left) and bike lane (right). Photo credit: Rich S from thechainlink.org

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      Jason (left) and Tina (right)

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      the city bikes all have baskets – so cute!

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      Biking along a channel of the Donau with the Spittelau waste incineration plant in the background (the blue tower with the gold globe), designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian artist.

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      Having a snack along the Donau channel!

    • Austrian Parliament, where political decisions are made.
      Austrian Parliament - a Greek-style building

      Austrian Parliament – a Greek-style building

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  •  Thursday
    • Guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of Empress Sisi. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but the decor and furniture were grand and decadent: think gold, silver, china, Oriental imports, Baroque-style gaudiness.
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      the beautiful Schönbrunn from atop a hill

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      there were many people relaxing at the top of this hill, looking down on the palace

    • In the evening, we went to watch William Hagen in the finals of the International Fritz Kreisler Competition, once again at the Vienna Konzerthaus but this time in the main concert hall. We enjoyed 1-hr performances from each of the three finalists and were yet again amazed at everyone’s level of talent. William ended up coming 2nd place and we were so proud of him! ….Even though we had only met him two days prior.
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      inside the Vienna Konzerthaus

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      William playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

      William playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

      Second place out of over 50 competitors!

      Second place out of over 50 competitors!

  • Friday
    • Daytrip to Melk with the OK Program, a little over an hour drive from Vienna

      Cool-looking castle while we waited for the next activity

      Cool-looking castle while we waited for the next activity

    • Watched a bird air show, which was surprisingly thrilling. The entire show was in German, so hardly any of us could understand what the trainer was actually saying, but it was cool nonetheless.
      Birds with the trainer

      Birds with the trainer

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      They swooped down so low! Some heads in the audience were patted by bird wings.

    • Went to the Melk Abbey, an active Benedictine abbey. It was celebrating its 1,000th year anniversary.. crazy!
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      the abbey library

      special gifts to the abbey, on display only for the 1,000th year anniversary

      special gifts to the abbey, on display only for the 1,000th year anniversary

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      14 intertwined locks on this safe to keep the abbey’s precious items secure if there was ever an emergency

      this stairwell has a mirror at the bottom, to simulate infiniteness

      this stairwell has a mirror at the bottom, to simulate infiniteness

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      the entire abbey underwent a Baroque reconstruction, hence why everything is so grand. shown here is inside of the church.

      View from one wing of the abbey complex

      View over Melk from one wing of the abbey complex

    • In the evening, we went to Maschiu Maschiu, a mishmash of “Oriental” food, to celebrate Jocelyn’s birthday. She goes to SFU! I would recommend this place. Very flavourful compared to the food we’ve been eating.

      Chicken Shawarma Plate I think it's called

      Chicken Shawarma Plate I think it’s called

On Saturday, we took a daytrip to Bratislava, Slovakia! It was only a 1-hour bus ride from Vienna. That’s what I love about Europe… you can travel for an hour and be in a complete different country. We definitely don’t have this luxury in North America. We visited a castle, which we have no information about because we didn’t buy a ticket to go inside, but it was nice nonetheless.

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Bratislava with friends from Czech Republic, Belgium and Hong Kong

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Photo credit to my roomie Amanda! Overlooking the old city

Photo credit to my roomie Amanda! Overlooking the old city

We hung out by this body of water for a while, it was nice and warm!

We hung out by this body of water for a while, it was nice and warm!

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We were afraid we'd miss our bus back to Vienna, so in a panic we got our food to go and ate at the bus station. People were staring. It was hilarious actually.

We were afraid we’d miss our bus back to Vienna, so in a panic we got our food to go and ate at the bus station. People were staring. It was hilarious actually. Definitely a highlight of the trip!

I had another most wonderful week in Vienna and beyond.

Next blog post: Salzburg & Oktoberfest!

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2 thoughts on “Wien: Week 3

  1. Your Mom says:

    Haha yes I too have often wondered about the public interpretation of an artist’s piece vs. ther intention. Did I ever tell you I took an art history course in uni & dropped it after 2 classes because I just couldn’t deal with all the talk of light & shadows as it pertains to sculpture?

    I really like the way Vienna deals with bike lanes. Makes so much more sense than the way we have it in Vancouver.

    Why is it so strange to eat @ a bus station?

    Like

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