Grammar's Travel travel blog

Vienna October 2, 3

Grammar and I went by streetcar and train to Vienna today. We wondered how we would get by with a pack and our new rolling suitcase. People helped Grammar everywhere. In Linz a young girl found a streetcar ticket dispenser across the street that was working when the closest one did not work. Strong people everywhere helped her lift the bag on and off the train and up onto the luggage rack.

Once we got to Vienna, we hunted for a camera card and battery but discovered that the camera that Grammar bought last year in Vietnam is now obsolete. We did find one card but did not buy it as it was over $100! (we got one back in Canada for $23).

We did not like the hotel that Grammar had booked on line - it was grungy although the location, near the university, was interesting. We arranged to move to Rosie and Gary's apartment hotel for the next two days. It was super close to the touristy heart of Vienna.

The first night Grammar and I walked to the Volksoper (people's opera) and saw ballet versions of Orff's Carmina Burana and Ravel's Bolero. (Rosie and Gary went to see Madame Butterfly at the State Opera.) Both our ballet pieces were accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and Carmina Burana, one of Grammar's favorite pieces, had a huge and excellent choir and very good soloists. An unusual element was the male dancer who danced the "Dying Swan". He danced it in a tutu and on toe shoes! Grammar had never seen a man on toe shoes before.

Grammar does not much like Bolero. She thinks of it as cheesy seduction music. But she was blown away buy this phenomenal interpretation of the music. It was outstanding and the critical Viennese audience thought so too.

October 3

- good bus tour of Vienna looking at many types of neighbourhoods: old, new, ethnic, artsy

- toured the Sisi Museum. Empress Elisabeth, much beloved wife of Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I, is almost a cult figure in Vienna. A reluctant empress and a free spirit, she was a renowned beauty throughout Eur. She maintained an an anorexic figure, traveled widely, spoke several languages and is reputed to have had a affair with a Hungarian prince. She persuaded her husband to respect the Hungarians to the extent that he eventually was crowned the Emperor of both Austria and Hungary.

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