Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{day twenty}

it's been twenty days and i'm twenty years old.
i hope my weight gain doesn't follow this pattern of "twenty."
today we toured st. stephen's cathedral for art today. i know i've talked about it like a million times before, but today i got to see a lot of cool things i've not been able to yet due to mass or other meetings. plus i had dr. o and she always had the best stories to tell. regardless of their credibility, they make things much more enjoyable in my opinion. 
well, this is the pulpit carved out of sandstone. it is very intricate and beautiful. as always, the pictures do no justice. i hope this blog inspires at least a few people to venture here to vienna and see some of these things for themselves.

this pulpit was carved by the one and only master pilgrim. back in the gothic era, artists were creating art to glorify God. it was solely for that purpose so many artists did not sign their. now obviously master p was a little different so, instead of signing his name, he carved himself peaking out from behind a window at the base of this pulpit!

these are the stairs that lead up to the pulpit. master pilgrim was a profound artists, because as you can see each circle leading up the stairs alternates with three and four swirling "arms." the numbers three and four are significant because:
three is representative of heavenly matters such as the trinity 
four is representative of earthly matters such as the four directions, the four seasons, and so on.
also, the circles of three appear to be spinning upwards while the four downwards.
pretty cool huh?

alright, now this was something i would have never noticed otherwise! the banister to the stairs leading up to the pulpit is lined with frogs, lizards and other harmless but grotesque creatures. at the top, (left picture) there is a poodle sitting there guarding the actual pulpit. the nasty creatures are supposed to represent the evils that come in life and the poodle is placed there to protect, because dogs are loyal and will always protect their loved ones.
i miss trixi!
and i don't think she would protect me.
maybe we should get a poodle?

this is an organ loft, another of master p's designs. now master p. wasn't austrian so people weren't so keen on the idea of him working on their church. while he was carving it, the viennese people would show up to make fun of him, telling him that as soon as he was finished, the loft would fall of the wall and he was wasting his time. his reply was this, "then i will carry it on my shoulders for eternity." so he carved himself at the base of the loft, carrying it on his shoulders!

this is the tomb of frederick III of hofburg. (the royal family!) he is buried here at st. stephen's because he was the man who finally brought a bishop to vienna to make st. stephen's a cathedral! it's interesting because his tomb was being built for him before he died, but unfortunately the artist and frederick both died before it was completed. frederick was buried elsewhere until it was finished and then moved to this one. and yes, he's really in there! they drilled a hole in the bottom of the tomb and stuck a camera in there and sure enough, there was good ol' frederick.

the original stained glass windows are back there!
after the gothic era, ALL the stained glass was taken out and replaced with boring windows because they felt it was too dark in the cathedral. luckily, these few survived.
what a shame.

ok, get this! this crucifix is an odd one. can you guess why? well, i'll tell you. he is adorned with REAL hair on his beard and head!!!!!!!!!!
weird huh?
well, it gets better. rumor has it, the hair still grows and it has to be cut every so often!
now, there are two explanations to this:
1. the casting of the shadows makes it appear to be longer
2. it's horse hair and the length changes due to humidity and so forth.
either way, i think it's kind of gross.

after the cathedral, we went back to the school for some lunch and... i got a package from my mom! i was so excited, i wanted to take it with me everywhere. but, it wouldn't fit in my back pack! so i had to come back and get it later.

in the meantime, we decided to do something useful with our day and going to the michael kirche and go into the crypt where bodies have been preserved! but we got there and it's closed on tuesdays. so we decided to go to the hofburg imperial treasure. but we got there and it's closed on tuesdays. our next plan was to go to st. stephen's and see the catacombs, but by this time we had already missed our tour! 
tuesdays=bad luck

luckily, it wasn't a complete waste of time! we got some fabulous pictures out in the snow, and had a chance to see some of the most beautiful parts of vienna laced with snow.

we decided to call it quits, but on our way back we found a church nestled near the hofburg palace. we went in and found this!

it was incredible. the lighting was beautiful, and the acoustics were great! 
me and alexa may or may not have sang nearer my god to thee...
we were the only ones in there! we couldn't resist.
(however she was a little more enthusiastic than me)

i found this sculpture breathtaking! the details were so incredible, and i'm sure the behind it is fascinating. i'm going to research it someday soon, and i'll give you the scoop! 

after the augustiner kirche, i got my package and went home. i had choir tonight, so after i grocery shopped i hit the road for heilegenstadt! p.s. i love the grocery stores here. everything is such a great price, and they aren't full of enticing temptations such as oreos or doritos. my new favorite thing is the yogurt here! its zee best. choir was good i guess, it was all in german so i basically just stared at the pianist the whole time haha and we learned like 29835 new songs today, and they ranged in languages anywhere from german to hungarian to swahilian! i don't know about you, but those are three languages i am not familiar with at all! it was fun though, and i hope my pronunciation will get better! 
one downside of the snow: all public transportation is delayed. the u-bahn was backed up like crazy! but i didn't mind too much.
OH YEAH funny story. so in my package my mom sent me a water bottle (sing praises) i was so excited to use it that i filled it up before i left for choir and put it in the side mesh pocket of my back pack. so i'm sitting on the u-bahn with my back pack on my lap and all the sudden my thigh starts to feel REALLY weird. like you know that feeling when your foots about to go to sleep? yeah, it was like that. i was like what the heck is going on?? i start freaking out thinking some foreign tarantula is crawling up my leg! so i nonchalantly reach down to brush the troubled area and all i feel is water gushing! my water bottle had opened and was pouring onto my pants/seat. i was left with an odd splotch of water on my backside, with no where to hide it.
well, what can you do?

remember how i didn't eat chocolate yesterday? well today, nada. BUT i didn't eat a lot! these were like chocolate covered crackers that helga brought for us! they were really good, and i couldn't resist. but other than that i'm still doing my best to keep off the twenty extra pounds.
auf wiedersehen 

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