Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wienerschnitzel and Ballet

Vienna was a new edition to my list of places I've visited.

The Schonbrunn palace was quite elaborate decoratively. It was the home of many Hapsburg emperors but most famously it was the residence of Austria's Maria Theresa. She made it her royal summer palace and as we learned hosted many important political events. When we were touring through the palace I noticed there were not any rooms designated for washing...when I inquired about the absence the guide informed the group that people simply did not wash. She also noted that women would have a box that was filled with honey and blood hidden under their dresses so it would keep the flies away from them. The palace had a pretty inventive system for heating the castle. There were giant wood stoves that were filled from behind the walls. There was a system of small hallways so the servants could keep the house heated and not disturb the royals.

The second best museum I've visited was in Vienna. The museum of art history, the Kunsthisoriches, (my favorite museum is the Pharmacy museum in Krakow).
The museum itself was a piece of art. I could have wandered around the lobby and been amazed for hours. But I didn't. I headed straight for the Egyptian collection and was not disappointed. The Roman and Greek displays were also superb. I did not spend as much time as I would have liked to in the picture galleries but was able to appreciate the notable works like Velazquez's portraits of the Hapsburg royals and I also saw Brueghel's depiction of the tower of Babel.

The Nutcracker performance we went to was quite an experience. I have a new respect for male ballerinas.

And, what would Vienna be without cake and coffee? I was under strict orders from my professor that I could not leave Vienna without having cafe and coffee.

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