Tag Archives: Belvedere

Between Danes and Czechs

The day I got back from Denmark, Doris gave me a call and invited me to a couch surfing event. So, a few minutes later Billy and I met Doris and some other couchsurfers on the steps of the Opera House for a game of Twister. Yep, that’s what I said. Twister.

The next day Andrea, Billy and I planned on heading out to Mayerling and Heiligenkreuz for a day trip out of the city. Unfortunately, the bus doesn’t run on a holiday, so we went to the Augarten instead. It is a beautiful park where they have huge anti-aircraft towers left over from WWII.

Augarten

Augarten

On Tuesday we had a class field trip to the movie theater to see The Third Man. It’s an Orson Welles film from 1949 that takes place in occupied Vienna after WWII. It was wonderful to see at this point in our trip because each scene takes place somewhere I’ve been in the city. “Oh look! They’re near our school! “Oh! There’s a great ice cream shop there!” “Oh! We had a picnic there once!” Then on Thursday our teacher Verena took us on a tour of the famous cemetery in the movie. Ethan and I recreated the final scene for a photo that will hopefully be posted soon! We also saw the graves of famous musicians like Beethoven and Schubert.

Later that day we went back to the Belvedere for art history class and finally saw some Klimt and Schiele! I can’t believe I’ve been in Vienna this long without visiting Vienna’s most famous artworks. One of my favorite paintings from today was Egon Schiele’s Embrace. It apparently “grossed out” Andrea, but I think it is quite beautiful. Judge for yourself.

Egon Schiele, Embrace, 1917.

Egon Schiele, Embrace, 1917.

Wednesday was my first day on the job as a nanny. I will be babysitting Sasha, an 8 year old half-American half-Russian girl, for the entire month of June. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve worked with kids. I am a little worried because even day one was a bit frustrating. She kept hanging up when her dad would call and homework that should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking 2 hours. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m being paid for this…

Now, it’s off to Prague. Unfortunately, Billy won’t be joining us. He may have an appendicitis and is on his way to the hospital now. He will be missed!

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All Things Viennese

Apparently I don’t write often enough for the McDonald family, so I will try to post twice a week instead of once. 🙂

On Tuesday after class a small group of us decided to attend the show at the opera house across the street from our school. You can get cheap standing tickets for only 3 or 4 Euro. Unfortunately they over-sold the standing area and we had to stand on the stairs. The Barber of Seville was playing. (Remember this episode of the Looney Tunes?)  It was very fun even though our feet hurt at the end of the night.

Rebecca, Andrea, Sarah and I waiting in line at the Opera.

Rebecca, Andrea, Sarah and I waiting in line at the Opera.

On Thursday our whole program got together and headed off to school for dinner. Brigitte, the school secretary, and Traudy, one of the teachers, taught us how to prepare the typical Austrian meal. A few students were assigned to making Wiener Schnitzel, which is like fried, breaded fillets of meat. They also fried up some mushrooms and zucchini in the same breading. Sarah and Rebecca tackled the Sommersalat, which means summer salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and onion. I started out cutting potatoes for the Erdapfelsalat or traditional potato salad, but then the girls needed help with the Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), so I moved over to that. I was amazed at how easy those dishes were to make! If you would like the recipe, let me know and I will send it to you!

The group enjoying the dinner we prepared!

The group enjoying the dinner we prepared!

Today I wandered around the city a bit and saw some beautiful things. I went to the Belvedere, which is a palace as well as a museum and saw the exhibition on Alfons Mucha, a Czechoslavakian Art Nouveau artist. It was really amazing. They even recreated the pavillion he designed for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900. I hope to do my presentation for art history class on Mucha.

I also wandered down a street that was the site for public art. There was a cement wall that bordered the west side of the street that had several individual panels on it. The introductory panel was titled, “Kunst Projekt: Erdapfel”, which means Art Project: Potato. Each panel had a different work of art that had something to do with potatoes. One of my favorites was simply a hole cut in the cement wall in the shape of a potato. When you looked through the hole, you could see a beautiful park on the other side. This one was also great:

Potato Art on Argentinierstrasse

Potato Art on Argentinierstrasse

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