well, today was probably one of my favorite days since being in vienna! it may have had something to do with the delectable cake eva sent us to bed with last night.
mm mm good!
the morning started off at 9 touring a violin making shop.
alexa had found this video before we came here and posted it in our group's facebook page. it was really cool to meet her and talk to her about this video. she said one of her friends is in charge of the 'i am a mormon' videos and they were trying to get more european members to participate so he asked her. she told us she didn't know her video would be able to be seen all over the world and she was kind of embarrassed! but she thought it was cool that she go to do missionary work every day without really trying.
this is her violin shop, and she explained how to make a violin and it is quite the process! she sells her violins for about 14,000 € each. not bad! but right now she is focusing on repairs and only builds about one violin a year. she hopes to some day only make and sell violins!
what i really admire about henrietta is that she didn't become a violin maker because she was an incredible performer (she actually plays the cello), but she did it because she loved it. i think that is so amazing! i want to be like that and do what i love because i love it, even if it isn't the most "practical" thing to do.
showing us how violins work!
becca was the top of the violin and i was the bottom. when becca would moved so would i. if i understood right, that contributes to the sound.
alexa was the bridge and she was showing us the difference of pressure from the strings on the instrument.
her work place.
me and henrietta!
when i heard her name, i was so happy because when i was a little girl, i had a pen-pal named henrietta hippo. i would get e-mails and phone calls and letters about henrietta, her life, and her kids. she was the best pen-pal ever! turns out it was my mom the whole time, but it is one of my favorite childhood memories and i was so glad to be reminded of it here in vienna!
a cool little magic shop that reminded me of my brother jack!
i miss you!
walking across the street
being all touristy in front of the musikverein
after the violin tour, we decided to complete one of our walking tours (we listen to a man talk about historic sites in vienna on our ipods and get an a. best class ever!) at the stephensdom (st. stephen's cathedral.) when i got there, i pulled out my ipod and realized they hadn't synced to it! i was so sad! luckily, alex and paige shared with me and we were able to get some of the tour done. but i was hard because we wanted to see everything he was talking about! there was a lot of things i had missed the first time i'd come to this cathedral, and it was so enlightening!
so in the stephansplatz, there's a funky white outline on the ground and i never noticed it before. our tour guide told us about it, and how it is the outline of a church that used to stand there. he invited us to go down to the u-bahn station below, and there were the ruins of the underground section of this church!! it dated all the way back to 1240, and wasn't discovered until building the u-bahn in the 1970's. can you believe that? it was so incredible. you can still see the paintings on the walls. it has to be kept behind glass and indoor at a certain temperature to avoid mold or salt crystal build up. after ooh-ing and awe-ing over that for a while, we decided to hike the tower of the cathedral! after i bought my ticket, i headed up the stairs and and saw this!
it reminded me of my dog trixi, who i miss and love!
the hike up the stairs was traitorous! ok, that's dramatic, but it was pretty intense. we learned in our tour that there are 343 stairs, which is 7x7x7, 7 being a holy number. i thought that was interesting. so yep, i hike 343 stairs that seemed never ending and they spiraled straight up! we were laughing the whole time at how out shape we were, i tripped a few times, and life was good. by the end of this, i felt like i had just run 2 miles. all of our legs were shaking, we were panting, quads were burning! luckily i had a few photo ops and used them as an excuse to take a break.
the friendly looking goblin who met us at the top of the stairs.
a view of the city from the stair well
the never-ending, spiraling stairs
we finally made it to the very top, and the hike was more than worth it. it was stunning!
none of these pictures do justice to the beauty here in vienna. i wish i could bring everyone here with me and show them in person so they could really see what it was like, because it was simply breathtaking.
this is a cannon ball left over from a turkish invasion
the fabulous four of yesterday
also, one thing i've learned here, is my hair has the ability to grow! it grows at least 5 inches after i leave my house. it's great!
here's some gargoyles! i was so excited to be this close to them.
i think they're kinda cute.
(ignore the rat on top of my head)
this stone is located on the front of the cathedral. on our walking tour, we learned that this was a secret meeting place for the nazi resistance group. the 0 stand for 'O' and the 5 stands for the fifth letter of the alphabet which is 'E'. so OE represented Österriech, which means austria.
this is the iron handle that... i can't remember right now. something about someone would grab it to be kept safe. but what i do know is it was so cold my hand froze to it for a second.
this is a holy water dish outside a crypt on the side of the cathedral.
being all artsy in the naschmarkt
we grabbed some lunch in the naschmarkt, then decided to head over to schöbrunn palace!
on the way to schönbrunn palace
it was enchanting
again, the picture doesn't do this justice at all! after looking at the palace, i turned around and saw this magnificent building sitting on the hill. it was surrounded by mist and trees lined the hill to the top and on forever. it was incredible.
this fountain was right below that building. again, no justice. the water was frozen solid and i wanted to ice skate on it! but unfortunately, i left my ice skates at home that day.
paige and her candid shots.
being all touristy in front of the fountain
after drooling over the beauty of the fountain, we hiked up the hill which was a piece of cake compared to the stephansdom. at least we had a nice little "warm up!"
schönbrunn palace and the skyline.
when we got to the top, the view was awesome, i wish you could have seen it in person. you could see all of austria from up there!
quite possibly the best picture of the day.
for those of you who don't know, my dad has a secret obsession with ducks. at our cabin, there is a duck room where he placed a prized porcelain duck statue that he bought at a yard sale. well, i was dustin and it fell and the tail broke off. but when i saw this duck i thought of him!
this pond in front of the building had only partially frozen over and there were seagulls standing on it. it was so funny! then there was a rabid seagull trying to rally up all the others, swooping and gawking like a made dog. no response. he kind of reminded me of skuttle from the little mermaid.
we walked up to the building found this little goody! the lion icicle mouth was probably my favorite thing i saw today. (just kidding) we spent the rest of the time up there laughing, taking pictures, and being toursists. it was great!
quite possibly the second best picture of the day! i promise, i have NOT gained 250 pounds since i've been here! those double chinS must be a result of the bad lighting. or something.
another one of paige's candid shots.
ok, quite possibly the third best picture ever.
from the left: a tree, a dog, a child, another tree.
schönbrunn palace is also the home of the vienna zoo! we started our walk that way but then realized we had to go to the bathroom real bad. me and alexa walked into the pavilion only to find you had to pay to use the toilet!!! so we decided it wasn't worth the 50 € cents and we could hold it.
on our walk to the zoo we encountered a forest and decided to play hide and go seek. i won. we finally found the zoo, but we only had about 2 hours before it closed so we decided to save that for another day. on our way out we saw and emu, and that was definitely satisfying enough until next time. we left for the bus station to head home until choir practice that night at 7. when we got there, i saw this advertisement and laughed a little to myself!
they meant to say "do you care" but it came out as "who cares" and i thought it was hilarious!
i finally got home, (still holding my bathroom visit in) and helga and i started chatting. she had had a very hard day trying to get her divorce settled and she needed someone to talk to. poor thing! she's so great to talk to, i love our little chats. i felt bad though because i was trying to listen and stay focused but i had to go to the bathroom SOOOO bad! we finished talking and i ran straight for the bathroom and made it in the nick of time.
helga gave me one of these little treats. it was like chocolate covered marshmallow creme! it was pretty good, but i think i'll stick with reese's :) i got some homework done for class tomorrow, then headed for the u-bahn for choir practice. the class on monday isn't going to work out so markus found us another one where we will be able to perform with them! we get to perform at a beautiful church at their mass in february! i am so excited. we got there at seven and the director told us it didn't start till 7:30 so we went and got dinner. we came back and started practice! the rehearsal was all in german, and i was lost most of the time. luckily, i sat by a girl from england who has lived in vienna for a year and she was able to translate for me and help me out! she was so nice, and her british accent was to die for! i also sat next to a lady who spoke a little bit of english, and she was hilarious! she would say little things in english that i couldn't help laugh at. after rehearsal, she was walking with me out of the room and asked where i was from. i told her utah and she said oh! bryce canyon, yes? i said yep that's the place! and she said oh yes, utah. smoking not allowed there eh? i was shocked! hahaha oh how i love the viennese! i'm really excited about the music in that choir. it's all in german and it's helped my pronunciation a lot already! and i started picking up on little things here an there so i think it will help me a lot. i was exhausted from the day of walking and went home to finish homework.
class tomorrow morning, can't wait!