Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Orientation Week 2

The second week of orientation included another week of German class, as well as other activities around Vienna. Over the weekend we visited Schonbrunn Palace, the massive home of the Hapsburg dynasty:

There were a few rooms that really stood out inside the building. The Porcelain Room was decorated with over 200 pen and ink drawings in blue and white. The Lacquer Room was decorated with Chinese pictures and these amazing wooden panels. There were large dining rooms and huge ceiling paintings...but after you've seen enough palaces, they begin to run together. We also toured the gardens surrounding the palace. It amazes me that Vienna still has these enormous palaces and gardens inside the city when the rest of the city is so crowded.

On Monday we participated in a scavenger hunt covering the entire city. It was a good time, but the language barrier created some problems with a few of the activities. On Tuesday we visited the Opera to see Giuseppe Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Vienna is most famous for its musical history, so this was a great experience. For 3 euros you can purchase a standing-room ticket--although it was a great performance, I was too tired to stand for 3 hours, so I left for home during the intermission. No photos allowed during the performance (for good reason), but here's one pic from the Staatsoper:

Wednesday was another party for the orientation program at an Irish bar in downtown Vienna. I was most impressed with the selection of food that was provided--buffalo wings, fries, and other American appetizers. I think the Europeans were a little offended by the amount of food that some of us Americans ate...but this was the first American food I'd eaten in a month, so I wasn't too concerned. Now if I could only find some barbecue and sweet tea here...

Thursday and Friday were the final two days of German class. Thursday included a trip to Kunst Haus in Vienna. The building, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is one of the most unique homes I've ever seen. They had a great collection of Hundertwasser paintings as well, which I enjoyed. At the end of the week, I also began meeting with my group for my first class in Vienna. The final two days of orientation included a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest, which I'll try and get up here tomorrow. Here's a shot from outside Kunst Haus:

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