Tag Archives: Disney

Raindrops on Roses

View from Salzburg Castle

View from Salzburg Castle

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to catch the train to Salzburg, Austria. When we arrived, we took a long walk in the rain to our hostel. Our hostel had a wonderful view of the famous Salzburg castle, but the same view showed many a construction crane as well. After dropping our things off, we walked up to the castle as a group. I have never been to a castle as disappointing as the Salburg castle. It looks glorious from the outside, but there’s really not much to see once you’ve trekked up the insanely steep hill and paid admission to get inside. Okay, so there was one thing to see: There was a medieval fair going on (kind of like a Renaissance fair). The best part was the medieval band which had a very enthusiastic oboe player.

After the castle Andrea, Sarah, Kirsten and I decided to explore the city. As it turns out, Salzburg is not that big. Our walk from the train station to our hostel covered the entire city, but during our tour in the rain we visited the cathedral, the main shopping street and the palace. In the cathedral, Kirsten and I went below to the crypts, which were less scary than the word “crypt” makes it seem. When we were on Getreidegasse, we realized it must be the “Disneyfied’ street we read about in Cultural Studies class. Even the McDonald’s had an authentic-style street sign. Finally we crossed the bridge and wandered through the gardens of the palace. Andrew met up with us here.

Looking at Salzburg Castle from the Palace Gardens with Sarah

Looking at Salzburg Castle from the Palace Gardens with Sarah

Later that night we had our (paid-for) group dinner at another very Disney-like Austrian restuarant. Andrea, Verena and I tried Himbeer Radler, beer mixed with raspberry juice. So delicious! After dinner Verena took us to a monastery, which is basically a brewery. We all shared Märzen in liter mugs!

The next morning we packed up and hopped on a train to the little town of Mauthausen. It was a quaint little Austrian town just off of the Danube, but we weren’t there for its picturesque qualities. On the top of the hill overlooking Mauthausen stands the remains of one of the most brutal concentration camps. We had a tour guide who showed us the wailing wall, laundry room, living quarters, crematorium, torture room and gas chamber. It was a very sobering experience. This concentration camp was exceptional because it was not mainly for Jewish people. This camp focused on what the Nazis deemed political radicals, criminals, the insane and social radicals (homosexuals). People from all over the world were interred at Mauthausen and they had to work in a quarry until they died. At the waling wall there are plaques dedicated to people from Poland, Spain, Russia, Italy and the list goes on and on. This really hit home the fact that the Holocaust was not limited to the Jews.

After our tour of the camp we walked down the hill back to the train station. We did the reverse of what the Mauthausen prisoners had to do. The prisoners would arrive at the normal train station and the SS would force them to walk through the town and up the hill to the camp. Therefore, many townspeople saw the Nazis’ victims walk by their front doors for six years while the camp was in use.

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Libri Togati

This was a short week because there is a holiday today. I’m not entirely sure which holiday it is, but everyone has the day off and all the stores are closed. Austria has so many holidays. There have been about three holidays per month since we have been here… not that I’m complaining…

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Yesterday we had a field trip to the National Library with our cultural studies class. Apparently the collection began with Prince Eugene’s books. Prince Eugene owned the Belvedere palace that we have visited with Art History class. To start out, Rebecca was given the key to the library doors. This key has been held by Habsburg Monarchs and other important historical figures. When she opened the door we saw that this library was so huge and beautiful. It reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. There were books from floor to ceiling and the ceiling was decorated with a beautiful trompe l’oeil fresco. Our tour guide even got out two books from the shelves. The first book was an encyclopedia of snakes and dragons with illustrations. The second book was a first edition of the Martin Luther protestant bible. Imagine that! Sarah even got to hold it and turn its pages. Billy was jealous.

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

That night there was a toga party at Sarah, Rebecca and Ethan’s dorm, so we all threw on our sheets and headed over to Lerchenfelder. It was fun, but I was exhausted and didn’t stay long.

I am getting so excited because Hallie arrives this afternoon, but I’m a little worried. I have so much homework! I have to finish my art history journal, write 4 essays for our take home final, prepare for my presentation on the Secession and read for cultural studies. Ahhhhhhh! When will I ever get it all done?

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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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