Sunday, January 24, 2010

In Austria

After a couple more days in Germany (for additional accounts of the weekend in Berlin, complete with better photos and better commentary, check out what Molly and JR had to say), it was time to move on from the cozy town of Weiden and save the buddymollys from unpleasant aftereffects of my bier and sausage diet. They did decide to accompany me to Munich for a visit to the Dachau concentration camp memorial on the outskirts of the city, and for that I was glad- I felt like it was something I should see during my time in Germany, but hadn't been looking forward to going by myself. The site was eerie and sad as expected, but the best word to describe it is chilling- we've all heard and read and seen pictures of the Holocaust, but it's a different feeling to actually stand in such a horrible place.

After a night in Munich that included bier and currywurst and a trip to the famed Hofbrau Haus, I boarded the train for Vienna. My aunt, uncle, and cousin live right in the heart of the city, and they've been encouraging me for years to come for a visit. In spite of the cold weather and mostly gray skies, the city is absolutely beautiful. On Saturday, we walked around the First District downtown and saw all sorts of gorgeous and historical buildings- even the department stores are decorated with statues and carvings hundreds of years old. We saw some of the Hapsburg crown jewels (not to be confused with the family jewels, mind you), the church where Napoleon was married, the Winter Palace, and the famous St. Stepen's catherdral- I might go back there to check out the creepy skeletons in the catacombs.
That night, we watched the 1949 British movie The Third Man which was filmed in Vienna- it was an appropriate choice given the fact that I had walked through the same areas earlier that day, and the film itself was interesting- a thriller about racketeering in Vienna after WWII- like Berlin, Vienna was also divided into sectors controlled by the Allies.

Today, my aunt and I went to the Belvedere museum (pictured at left) to see paintings by Vienna's most famous artist, Gustav Klimt, including The Kiss. The downside of vacationing in January is the gray and cold weather, but the upside is the fact that it isn't crowded at any museums or tourist hot spots. Likewise, the downside of using an Austrain keyboard is that the z is where the y should be, leading to manz tzpos, but the upside is the ability to make umlauts, which everyone knows are Äwesöme.

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