Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (Day 6)
Well, that didn’t take long…I’m already several days behind as I type this up on Thursday. There are just way too many fun things to do on vacation instead of spend a few hours blogging. 😉 But, if I don’t type this all out, I’ll never remember what we did.
Tuesday we slept in and had a lazy morning playing games, reading books, and generally not doing too much. We have certainly learned how to relax on vacation. It has taken lots of practice, but now we can spend half a day doing nothing without feeling too guilty. =) After a lazy breakfast we finally headed out for the day.
The weather each day has been hovered around freezing so far. Today we actually saw a few rays of sunshine very briefly, too! It really lit up the city. It’s been so gray out lately, and with the short days (about 8am-4p) it seems like it’s always just kinda dark here. We first took the U-bahn over to the Volksper hoping to get some tickets for Friday’s Candide. It looks like it is partly in English and partly in German, so we’ll just see how it goes. We scored tickets easily at the box office. I first learned about Candide in high school when our marching band did a Candide-based show. We played the music non-stop for a semester and I bought the CDs and memorized all the tunes. I still love the music.
Our great plan since we had seen some sun today, was to go over to the Stephensdom (main and central church in Vienna) and climb the south tower to look over the city in the light. Well, that almost worked out. We did get over to the church and walked around the inside first. We were most impressed when they used artificial lighting to light up the inside in a kaleidoscope of colors! It wasn’t lit up like this when we first walked in, so when the turned on the lights, it was amazingly beautiful to look at.
The North tower can be climbed by use of an elevator, however, it just isn’t as high as the south tower. So, we walked outside the church and around the side to climb the about 343 steps up to the top of the South Tower. We seem to do this in every major city we visit, so we have to do it here! It was cold in the stone stairwell, and I was very surprised to realize that the “top” was actually just an indoor gift shop with closed windows we could look out of. I was completely expecting to be outside in the cold looking around. We still got some good views, but it was nearing dusk at about 4:30p, so it was a bit dark. Boy the days are short!
Back downstairs, we wandered around Stephensplatz which leads to a long pedestrian shopping area and found ourselves in a chocolate dessert shop. I debated getting both hot chocolate and a chocolate cake…but that was a bit too much. Mark settled for the famous Vienna Sachertorte and I the Truffletort. The Sachertorte is much like a chocolate cake of sorts. We were very happy with our choices. We were so happy in fact, that I don’t have a photo to show you of our desserts. How in the world did that happen? I promise they were yummy.
As it turns out the Haus der Musik was open until 10pm every day, so we had to go check it out. It is a music museum, but it really is so much more. The Lonely Planet described it as being a museum that shows you the physics of sound. In other cities, we’ve been to music museums which are just museums full of instruments. Those are cool, too, but this was different. The Vienna music museum was much larger than we first anticipated and we are so glad it was open late because we spent a good 3 hours here probably until about 9pm.
The layout was easy to follow with a very clear pathway. We started out on a floor dedicated to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and learned about them including walking into a room showing a video of some of the concerts. I wish we could have gotten tickets to go see them this week, but they aren’t even in town. Next we headed to a floor dedicated to learning how sound works. We walked through many exhibits that showed us how the ear worked including many interactive exhibits. The museum was fairly empty, so this was a perfect time to get interactive. There were lots of video screens with attached headphones to listen and watch and learn. =) Another floor was dedicated to the famous composers that have lived in Vienna. There are quite a few including, but certainly not limited to Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss. Each composer had a full room of facts and displays about him. Another floor allowed us to visit several large interactive rooms where we could for example conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Most of these exhibits had some technical difficulties, but it was still fun to go through.
Finally, we called it finished and headed out. We walked down to the NaschMarkt to find dinner. The market is mostly open during the day and consists of several city blocks full of shops with foods from spices to teas to fresh produce. There are a few restaurants here as well, and we went to Neni, a Mediterranean restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet. The food was delicious of course and eventually we finished up our day and headed back home.
For a lazy day, we got quite a bit done. =) Tomorrow we are going to try and wake up early and hit more sights and museums before the day ends.