Tuesday, November 6, 2012


After our week in Bratislava, we spent the weekend in Vienna, which is only a 45 minute drive away from Bratislava.  It was incredible.  What a beautiful city!  More than any other place I've visited, I think it's somewhere I could picture myself living.  I fell in love with it.  There was just something incredible about knowing Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Strauss, Schoenberg (and more!) walked these streets.  Vienna was a sort of musical mecca in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  Even in the twentieth century.  (Heard of the Second Viennese School?)  Anyway, it was a special treat for me to be there.  My friend Briana did a study abroad there, so she gave us all the tips and tricks to the city, which helped so much.  One of my old professors, Dr. Holden, also gave me some ideas of what to see, which was so helpful.  Cam was super sweet all weekend and let me stay out while he took care of Andy during naps and even let me go to the opera one night.  All in all, a pretty great weekend.  The only downsides were Andy's tantrums and the weather.  Andy wasn't exactly on his best behavior.  We're definitely thinking twice before we schedule something else with him.  It was freezing cold.  And it's only October.  I shudder to think what January is like.

Anyway, what we did!  I apologize in advance for all the music history details.  I know most people don't care, but they're details about what we saw I don't want to forget!  We got there friday night about 6 and headed off to dinner.  We knew we had to try wiener schnitzel, since it comes from Vienna.  Our hotel directed us to a great restaurant that felt very authentic (everyone else was speaking German), and we had a great time.  It wasn't exactly the healthiest meal I've ever had, but it tasted pretty good! 
Cam with his winer schnitzel.
Saturday morning we headed out to see all the major sights in the city centre.  Our hotel was in the Museum Quarter, so we passed all the museums there, passed the Hofburg Palace, and made our way to see St. Stephens, the famous cathedral there.  Downtown Vienna is absolutely beautiful.  It might be the prettiest city centre I've been in.  Even Cameron said he didn't mind wandering around the shops because the area was so pretty-stunning architecture, fountains, etc.  We loved St. Stephen's.  When we went inside, there was a rehearsal going on for a concert that evening, so we got to hear parts of Haydn's Requiem.  It was gorgeous.  After that, we went to the Mozart House (where he lived from 1784-1787), and really enjoyed it.  We were lucky--they temporarily have Mozart's piano there!  Other than that, they don't have much many of his things, but it was cool to be in the place where he wrote some important works.  (The Marriage of Figaro, a few piano concertos, etc.)  After that, Cam took Andy back for a nap while I headed to the Schoenberg Center.  I got there, and it was closed. Only open Monday-Friday.  What kind of museum closes on Saturday?  I was bummed.  Once Andy woke up, we headed out to Central Cemetery on the outskirts of Vienna where so many famous composers are buried.  What an incredible experience.  I guess we looked lost when we got there (it's a HUGE cemetery and we weren't sure where we'd find the graves we were looking for), because a sweet german man came up and asked if we needed help finding something.  He became our tour guide and took us all over showing us some famous graves.  It was cool, because he showed us some we never would have found otherwise.  That night, I headed to the opera.  I got a standing room ticket for 3 euros (!!!) and saw, "The Barber of Seville."  Comic opera isn't exactly my thing (some day I will see "Tristan and Isolde"), but I still loved the overall experience.  It's one of the most important opera houses in the world and is beautiful.  I ended up with a pretty good "seat" considering how late I got there, so that was lucky.  Cam caught up on "Revenge" episodes while I was gone, so the evening wasn't a total loss for him.  
Kunsthistor Museum

Hofburg Palace
More Hofburg
Downtown Vienna 

St. Stephens Cathedral

St. Stephens from the front.
A memorial to Mozart: he's likely buried in an unmarked grave, not too far away. 
A church in the cemetery.  I'm walking with our "tour guide."   
Schoenberg's Grave.  It has 12 points! (google "12 tone row" if you're confused.) 
Czerny.  One we wouldn't have found without our tour guide. 
Our nice tour guide.
At the Staatsoper opera house.  
Sunday morning we headed to Schoenbrunn Palace.  We almost didn't go; we're so glad we did.  It was beautiful.  Especially the gardens.  If it wouldn't have been so cold, we would have loved wandering in them longer.  Mozart has a great history at Schoenbrunn.  In 1762, Mozart passed through Vienna during his first concert tour at age 6 and performed for the Empress Maria Theresa in the Hall of Mirrors.  Later, Schoenbrunn was where he and Saliera (his big rival) had their big music contest in the Orangery.  After that, we made our way to the Haydn House, where Haydn lived for the last 12 years of his life (he died there!) after semi-retiring from being the Kapellmeister for the Esterhazy family in Eisenstadt.  It was definitely my favorite composer house we visited.  It had so many of his things. He wrote "The Creation" and "The Seasons" while living there.  He also wrote his last nine string quartets there.  The house has his pianoforte and his clavichord, which he kept in his bedroom.  Haydn had a lot of important visitors while he lived there, like Mozart and Haydn. Andy behaved very well (complete sarcasm) and even managed to pull the plastic cover off Haydn's clavichord and play it.  The museum employee laughed instead of yelling at us, so that was a nice change.  At least we know the clavichord still works, right?  The house had a Brahms room, which I really enjoyed.  Haydn was one of Brahms' heroes, so it was fitting.  (There are no existing Brahms apartments still around in Vienna. Sad, because he's one of my favorites.)  During Andy's nap, I headed out to a Beethoven apartment.  There are three you can see in Vienna, but I ended up choosing the Pasqualati House.  Beethoven lived in Vienna for 35 years, eight of which were spent in this apartment, off and on.  His 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th symphonies were composed while living there.  They had Beethoven's piano, which was amazing.  Other than that, there wasn't much there, but I still loved it.  I was the only one there, so that was pretty special for me.  After Andy's nap, we headed to the airport for our flight home.  We didn't spend much time in Vienna, less than 48 hours, but I loved every second of it.  Especially since Cam took Andy duty most of the time.  Thank you, Cameron! 

Schoenbrunn Palace  

Prettiest gardens ever.
In front of Haydn House.
Haydn's Clavichord in his bedroom.  (The one Andy ensured is still working.) Those are a bunch of canons he refused to publish that hung on the walls of his bedroom.  
Haydn's Piano.  He used to sit and improvise at this piano in the mornings until he came up with something he liked, then he'd score it out in the afternoon.
Beethoven's Pasqualati House.  He lived on the top floor.  

Beethoven's Piano.  Look at all the pedals! 
Andy sporting his new shoes we bought in Vienna.  We caved and made an impulse buy because we were sick of him tearing his velcro shoes off all the time.  Best purchase ever. 
Walking the airport terminal, waiting for our flight.  Best airport ever.  They have a security line just for young families and wheelchairs!


  1. Yet again another amazing city!! Love schnitzel...I have attempted to make it, never successful. Cute cute shoes. Hope you guys are doing well, miss talking to you so much!

  2. Amelia was throwing a huge fit as I read this post, so I know all about temper tantrums over here. Thank you for my mini escape so I can pull myself together before I go talk to her. I always love reading your blog and your adventures.

  3. Looks like you had a great time and fit in so much stuff! I am glad you loved it! And I love that a random guy showed you around the cemetery. I never knew that Schoenbergs gravestone had 12 points! You look so adorable in all these pictures. Love your style.

  4. As a fellow music lover this makes my heart happy! So glad you were able to make it over here for a quick weekend. Loving that picture of Andy at the end. I can't imagine that sweet face ever doing anything naught :)

  5. Looks like SUCH a neat trip!! I love that Andy played Haydn's clavichord. Not many people can say they've done that!