Week 3 saw the continuation of the Orientation and Cultural (OK) Program with WU. Another jam-packed week:
- 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?
- 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!
- After Ottakringer we went to Vapiano, an Italian cafeteria-type place at Mariahilfer Straße, a big shopping street in Vienna
- 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!
- 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!
- Austrian Parliament, where political decisions are made.
- 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.
- 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.
- Daytrip to Melk with the OK Program, a little over an hour drive from Vienna
- 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.
- Went to the Melk Abbey, an active Benedictine abbey. It was celebrating its 1,000th year anniversary.. crazy!
- 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.
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.
I had another most wonderful week in Vienna and beyond.