|I can't quite get over how beautiful this city is.
We started today with a trip to Stephansdom Cathedral, an amazing Gothic church in the middle of the city. It is awe inspiring. Just walking in to it can take your breath away. It is huge and beautiful and ornate and I can't even comprehend how it was ever built. We were there during Sunday mass and the acoustics in the cathedral are incredible. You can here EVERYTHING.
We left there and started wandering around the area of the city (called Stephansplatz) and came across yet another church, Peterskirche. We couldn't go in to that one quiet yet, but noted that they were having a violin concert of Mozart music at 3pm and figured we'd head back then.
From there it was on to one of the main things Keith wanted to do while in Vienna - visit the only remaining residence of Mozart in the city. We found our way to Mozarthaus without much issue (I'm way better at directions that Keith is) and embarked on a self-guided tour of the residence. It's HUGE! Mozart lived there for 2.5 years and it was the longest place he stayed in his 10 years living in Vienna. There is no real documentation of how the house was laid out or what room was used for what, so you were able to use your imagination for what it was like. Overall, it was pretty cool. We weren't allowed to take photographs while inside the residence, so the only proof I have of going is a ticket stub and a picture of Keith standing outside of the apartment building.
As normal, I then needed coffee. We wandered around a bit until we came across a place where we didn't have to order at the counter (neither one of us speaks German well enough to really pull that off) and ordered coffee and sandwiches. It wasn't until I was looking in one of my trip books that I realized we were ordering the wrong thing at the wrong place. Apparently the cafe we stopped at is rated as one of the top places for ice cream in Vienna, and there we were eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. Oops. We'll head back at another date and get some ice cream to make up for it.
We took another swing by St. Peter's to hear the Mozart concert and actually see the inside of the baroque church. Again - awe inspiring. You can't find churches like that in the U.S. Keith's watch said 3pm so we were slightly annoyed when the violinist kept starting and stopping and starting and stopping again. We finally figured out that Keith hadn't changed his watch to accommodate the end of Daylight Savings time and we were an hour early! The guy was just checking his acoustics. So we moved on.
We found one more church that we wanted to see and, lo and behold, it was the church we were going to be heading to later in the evening for a performance of Mozart's Requiem. I hope that everyone at some point has a chance to see (in person) the complexity of these churches. They are seriously amazing and I've never seen anything quite like them before in my life.
By this point my feet hurt and I was getting a little bit cranky - so we decided to head back to the hotel. But when we made our first stop on the U-Bahn (the subway system here) we were at Karlsplatz which is where the Vienna State Opera House is located. We went up to take a look, only to find that there was a performance that night and there was no way we were going to get inside the actual auditorium - but at least we can say we went into the building. So it was back to the hotel we went where Keith napped and I studied (exciting, I know).
On to the evening's main event! We went back to Franziskanerkirch, got some tickets, and sat down in yet another beautiful church. The downside of these places is that they're FREEZING! Honestly, though, it was well worth it. The performance was with a choir and using period instruments so they sounded different than what today's instruments sound like. I learned at the tour of Mozarthaus that Mozart never actually completed Requiem, he died before he could do so. His apprentice apparently finished it for him. The man who commissioned the piece (initially he did so anonymously) had actually planned on trying to pass it off as his own as a tribute to his late wife - for whatever reason that didn't quite work out for him.
By the end of the performance I was starving! It was 9pm and neither of us had eaten since those sandwiches. So we went to the quickest place we knew of: McDonald's. Yep, you read correctly. I ate at McDonald's while in Vienna. There must be something wrong with me. We made it back to the hotel, I had a wonderful glass of wine at the bar with the wonderful company of my father, and then sat down to study once again.
And that's where I find myself as I type: sitting in the hotel lounge off of the lobby listening to the laughter of the bar patrons and the hushed conversations of the lounge patrons drinking their coffee and eating their pastry. Tomorrow we're off to Salzburg for the day and we must be up early for breakfast and a 7am tour bus that will take us on the 2 hour journey down the autobahn. We'll stop to see the five lakes (Sound of Music) and then go see everything else that is Mozart in Salzburg.
So, until then, auf wiedersehen und guten abend.