26.05.2006 25 °C
We arrived that afternoon in Graz, Austria. Graz is a small city that we didnt expect too much from, but when we are picking places to go we always pick some unknown place just so we can stay somehwhere out of the tousit areas and exprience the country naturally. So this was our first exprience with Austria, a country which we really did not know what too expect from. The travel to Austria was absolutly gorgeous and the train station was very nice which is always a good sign about the city. So here we were entering another language barrier, German. What can I say about german, well it sounds hilarious when people are talking, people here tend to have very intense conversations full of spit. It turns out that Graz is known for its architecture and unigue design. I planned a big walk for the next day and we went to Mission Impossible III ok movie. One of the pieces of crazy design was one art mueseum that looks like a giant brain and at night has a crazy light show so we watched that for a while and went to sleep. The next morning after the best sleep I have had yet on this trip we went on our big walk. In the middle of the river is a large cafe/seating area that floats on top of the water so we hung out there for a while and then slowly began dropping things from our iteneray for that day. Next we went to the brain to see what was actually inside. Here were photo exibits and other art exibits. Next we made our way downtown to the largest collection of medival armoury in the world, guess whos idea that was, not mine! So I lasted about three floors and it was amazing the collection they had. Entire floors were dedicated to guns, helmets, and body armour. Some guns were so big it would have taken Josh and I to lift it, let alone actually fire the thing, I guess accuaracy wasnt too high on the list of priorities. On our way back to the train station we stopped at a square where a festival was going on, we do have the best timing ever. Graz was the first city we were to exprience the trams, bikes and vehicles dilemna. Crossing the road requires precise timing. Here there was a display of the Brazilian dance fighting, which is very fun to watch. So after our short stay in Graz we were off to Vienna, the capital of Austria.
So pretty much the entire country of Austria is very beautiful somewhat like the rocky mountain area in canada but bigger mountains and the cities are all green and beautiful except for Vienna. Vienna is nice in its own way, it is the capital so the forests are not included. Vienna is an amazing city with important architecture, museums, and galleries on every corner. We ended up spending four days here but I would recommend a week to see most of it. Once we arrived at the station we called and got a place to stay, directions and took a few trams to get there, trams are a very big thing here. So this city would be our first exprience with the domination of bicycles. So in larger European cities, bikes are a very important and efficent way for everyone to get around. No longer do cars rule the road but bicycles and trams. Here there are seperate bike lanes on the road one in each direction like real traffic lanes and they also have bike traffice lights. It takes a while to get used to walking without getting in the way of something, here you have to watch out for trams, bikes, cars and people it can be dangerous! We found our pension which was once again in the ghetto, nice place. So lots to do unfortunatly the next mornign I found out that I had missed the Vienna Boys Choir, something I really wanted to see but thats ok it was too early in the morning. So we headed off for some museums, first a modern art museuem that included a exibit of the sacrifice of cows for religious ceremonies and then being spread on the people of the village, I think that was a bit to modern arty for me and then some other disturbing exhbits. My favorite was the pop art section, Andy Warhol and others. This year is very important for the people of AUstria because it is Mozarts 250th birthday. So to celebrate you can buy Mozart chocolate, perfume, ice cream, wigs, hats, penicls, toliet paper, whatever you want you can have it Mozart style. I am a huge fan of the artist Gustav Klimt, he paints the most beautiful pictures ever using gold leafing and sometimes jewels. One of his paintings just went for something like 125 million, yes ridiculous. Anyways one of the muesuems we went to has a large golden roof top that people call the golden cabbage. Here houses the Beethoven Friez by Gustaz Klimt and it was awesome. Vienna is supposed to have one of the best opera venue for accoutics in the world so we thought we would check one out. If you line up a couple hours before a show you can get standing room tickets for only 5 euros or something cheap like that but we would try another night as the touirst lady said that tonight was completly sold out and that everyone standing in line was stupid, her words not mine. Downtown through the amzing cobblestone streets lies the most exclusive and expensive shops you could imagine. In the centre is the famous St. Stephens cathedral. An amaxingly beautiful church with the icing lattice work that goes on forever. Beside the church were some very entertaining breakdancers. One woman probably in here early 90s was either drunk or just really into breakdancing because she would not stop dancing and wandering around the boys while they were right in the middle of their show. This was very entertaining. Inside the cathedral you know the usal amazingness. But here they have tours of the catacombs daily so we had to come back and check that out. Later we were making our way back home through the palace garden and then through the city hall, Vienna has really amzing architecture, everything is huge and very important and old looking. So we heard music and chanting, what else could it be but a football(soccer) party. That was the conclusion of our first day in Vienna. Next day we began with the very interesting Sigmund Freud mueseum. This extensive mueseum has kept tons of his belongings and has a written description about every single one. The building was actually one that he lived in for many years in Vienna. After we walked for awhile aroun the beautiful city. There is absolutly tons to see here, so walking anywhere you will bump into much to see. We made our way downtown again and went for the catacombs tour. I knew that catacombs meant underground tunnels but did not know it was a place to bury the "important" dead. This was a extensive underground tunnel. At one point in history when the plague hit Europe bodies we scraped by slaves and stacked flawlessly in these huge rooms. The number of bones and skulls and everything was crazy and creepy. I was really excited about this evening because we decided that we would go to the opera. We went into the building which was a good sign, usually the line starts outside the building. I went to sit down but one of the ushers asked me if I had any other shoes, I was wearing thong sandals. I didnt and he said I would have difficulty getting in, I mean what is that, will I get in or not? He said I wouldnt be able to so dissapointingly we left. That night we went around to a few different pubs and had some drinks in Vieanna. The next day we were up early to go see the huge Schönbrunn palace.
This extensive place was only mostly the summer home of the Hapsburgs but nonetheless it is still amazing. We took the coulple hour long audio and I have never seen some many beautiful rooms. One was dedicated entirely to the blue and white china, another for the black-laqured wood with ivory asian carvings, it was really a great thing to see. Inside is a maze, gardens the size of a small city, foutains, and a strudel bakery! With our tickets we got a free sample and demonstration on how to make strudel, we just got our sample and left. One place Lonely Planet suggests is the HaustWien it mentions something about it being dreamlike and fantastic. The building was easy to see once we reached the proper street. THe building is tiled in all colors from bottom to top with wavy concrete that creates small hills. We still had no idea what this place was but it looked like fun. Once inside the theme continued the floors we wavy everywhere with bright decorations and tiles for walls. Turns out this is a gallery for a very talented and creative artist who I do not remember the name of but his pieces I will never forget. This guy is like a kid who has never grown up. He has designed buildings that have actually been carried out. The are the most fun, creative and beautiful designs I have ever seen!
Then we went to the Mac Mueseum the modern art something. It was great lots of old furniture and carpets and weird art.