Tag Archives: Aunt Louise

Romeo and Juliet, Cinco de Mayo, Wolverine and Treasure…

So, I have been quite busy over the last couple weeks and I haven’t had a chance to post. This post is the abridged version of what I have been up to before and after my trip to Budapest.

Before we left for Budapest, Billy, Andrew, Sarah, Rebecca and I went to see a ballet. It was Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Prokofiev is the guy who composed the music that Disney later used in the cartoon Peter and the Wolf. The ballet was absolutely beautiful. I have never been to a ballet before and I couldn’t believe how graceful and strong the dancers were. I was amazed at how the ballet can effectively and sympathetically tell a story through dance instead of dialogue. I’m looking forward to my next ballet!

The annual Stadtfest has been going on during last couple weeks in Vienna. Stadtfest literally means city party. So, there were a ton of booths up selling trinkets and Austrian food. It was a bit windy, so we didn’t stay long, but we tried some great food obviously. This time I had a sausage and I also bought a macaroon-like cookie on top of chocolate mousse on top of a wafer cookie and then dipped in chocolate. Sound good? It was. They also set up weird, neon yellow, hammock-like benches in the Museumsquartier for hanging out.

When we got back from Budapest it was Cinco de Mayo and, of course, we had to celebrate. So, I searched online for Mexican restaurants in Vienna and chose one of the two. It was kind of like a small version of Chipotle, but not nearly as good. At least it was Mexican food! Then we all headed over to the English movie theater and saw the new X Men movie, Wolverine. It was so good that we have been catching up on all the other X Men movies ever since.

Yesterday in art history we went to the Schatzkammer or the treasury. It is one of the largest treasuries in Europe. We saw the crown of the Holy Roman Empire and countless other jewels and royal robes. Aunt Louise would have loved to be there for a few reasons. One reason in particular is that there was a portrait of an Austrian duchess there who was named Mary Louise. After seeing her picture you can drool over her jewelery and a jewelry box that Napoleon Bonaparte gave to her. It’s been a fun couple of weeks!

Aunt Mary Louise of Austria

Aunt Mary Louise of Austria

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All Things Viennese Part II

On Saturday Andrea and I woke up early to go to the Naschmarkt down the street from our dorm. It’s a huge outdoor vegetable/food market and on Saturdays it’s also a flee market. They had tons of fruits and vegetables, even ones I’ve never seen or heard of before! I think Aunt Louise would have brought home suitcases full of antiques if she had been there. I wanted to buy a used accordion, but decided against it. Andrea and I ended up sharing a pastry that wasn’t very good at all.

That afternoon Andrea and I met up with Andrew to go to a typical Viennese cafe, Cafe Central. Apparently the poet Peter Altenberg spent a lot of time writing in this cafe. They even have a papier-mache statue of him there! I tried to knock out a few typical Austrian things by ordering an Austrian coffee (gross!) and Kaiserschmarrn, which is a dessert made with torn pancakes and plum compote. After coffee and dessert and a few hours reading my book The Unbearable Lightness of Being, we met up with Billy and did a little sightseeing on the Ringstraße, the large street that encircles the inner city.

Pretending that I enjoy Austrian coffee.

Pretending that I enjoy Austrian coffee.

On Sunday it was warm and sunny so we went to the Stadtpark to lay out in the sun and read our books. We had dinner with most of the people in our prgram. I ate Bernerwurst, sausage wrapped in bacon! That night we used the projector in our dorm’s basement to watch Kung Fu Panda. I would recommend it; it was very funny.

Today Andrea and I decided to do a little church tour after class. We visited the Minoritenkirche, which is the Italian church here in Vienna. We also went back to the Ringstraße to visit the Votivkirche, which is my favorite church so far here in Vienna. It’s right next to the University of Vienna and all the college students were sitting in the grass in front of the church. We didn’t get to go inside because it was closed. We also tried to visit the Michaelerkirche and the crypt below it, but you can only enter the crypt at a certain time during the day and we missed it. We might try to go back later this week.

Afterward Joseph joined us at a cafe to do our homework. This time we had a typical American drink: Milkshakes! Yum!

P.S. I realized that there is a limit to the number of pictures you are allowed to post on Flickr, so I won’t be posting any more photos until May. Sorry!

votivkirche

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Mind the Gap

The London EyeHey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. (Mind the gap in communication.) It has been so hard to find time for the internet in our whirlwind journeys.

So, on Thursday we left Seattle and had a night flight to London. We arrived in London on Friday afternoon and made our way to Notting Hill, the neighborhood in which the Julia Roberts movie was based. We met our host Jen at her apartment just a few blocks from the underground station. That afternoon Joey and I walked to Hyde Park while Paige took a nap to recuperate (she took one too many sleeping pills on the flight). After Paige woke up we took the double-decker bus to Piccadilly Circus and wandered around seeing the sights. We stumbled upon the National Gallery, which is open late on Fridays and is free to the public. We saw hundreds of famous paintings. It was nice to see these artworks in the flesh rather than in books or on slides like I do in class all the time. Some of my favorites were the Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat and the Rembrandt collection. Then I took Paige and Joey to their first bar, the Prince Albert.

On Saturday morning we woke up and went to Portobello Market on Jen’s suggestion. Apparently it is the largest open-air market in the world and I believe it. It stretched on for miles and we only saw half of it. There was a multi-block section full of antique stalls and shops that I think would have given Aunt Louise a dizzy spell.Portobello Market

While the market had many things to offer, I settled for a single banana and then we were on our way. Next we went down to Westminster Abbey and the South Bank neighborhood around the London Eye. We sat in the park and wrote postcards.

On Sunday we woke up refreshed and headed out to see St. Paul’s church and the area around the Tower of London. We hung out at the Tower Bridge for some ice cream. We even stopped by a Mithraeum, an ancient Roman cult temple, because Paige will give a presentation on Mithraeism when she studies in Rome this spring. Unfortunately it wasn’t much to look at. We also headed north to visit Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. This is where Harry Potter catches the train to Hogwarts every year. After that we walked to Camden for some dinner. We wandered around the famous Camden open-air market trying to convince Paige that she did not need to buy a pocket watch.

That night we stayed with Kelly’s friend Guy in Brixton, the neighborhood made famous by a Clash song and that song titled “Electric Avenue”. Guy’s roommate Mali plays the harp and she gave us a free concert. It  was amazing! I have never seen anyone play the harp before. Afterwards Guy and his other roommate Keith took us to a pub to hear a band play. What a fun night!

This morning we woke up and caught our *delayed* flight to Amsterdam. It was the shortest flight I have ever been on; it was only 40 minutes. When we got here we settled into our three person room at the Bicycle Hostel and went out for some Tapas before calling it a night. Speaking of night time; I should get to bed. Don’t forget to view my Flickr album of London by clicking My Photos to the right. (Once you click you may have to search for me by typing in “sarahatemygerbil@yahoo.com”) Hope to post again soon!

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