I've spent the past couple of days exploring more of this impressive city. My favorite building and the one in the picture is the Rathaus, or City Hall, which looks more like a giant castle than a place to pay your parking tickets.
On Sunday night, my aunt and uncle took me out to a delicious dinner at a local traditional restaurant, where we tried a couple Austrian favorites- weiner schnitzel (breaded and fried meat. Yes, please!) and a beef broth soup topped with sliced crepes.
I took a tour of the Habsburgs' Summer Palace, Schloss Schönbrunn. According to my aunt, it's better than Versaille because the rooms are still furnished. The House of Habsburg ruled over Austria and central Europe for six centuries and were known for acquiring territory through politics and marriage rather than on the battlefield. The wife of Napoleon and Marie Antionette were both Habsburg daughters married off at a young age, and a whole lot of the girls ended up with cousbands, i.e. husbands who are also cousins, a trend popular with monarchs as well as rural southerners (ba dum bump).
Vienna is famous for music above all else, and today I lucked into a visit to the Vienna Boys Choir school. The choir has been in exsitence since the 1400s and consists of boys ages 10 to 14 (they get kicked out when they hit puberty) who live and train at the school and spend about three months each year traveling the world to give performances. Attending a musical boarding school at such a young age must be a very strange way to grow up. I saw one of the rehersals today and was amazed by it- they seem like ordinary kids until they start singing, and suddenly they transform into something downright angelic. Good thing for these boys the creation of eunuchs has fallen out of fashion.