While our time in Salzburg was brief, we accomplished a lot as you read about in Katie's post from Saturday. Compared to the excitement and beautiful weather of Salzburg, our day on Sunday was a change of pace and mood. We started the day bright and early, leaving our hotel in Salzburg at 7:30 am in the pouring rain--a far cry from the sunshine and 55 degree weather of Saturday. En route to Vienna, we took the opportunity to stop at Mauthausen, a concentration camp from the time of WWII.
Mauthausen opened in 1938 and was finally closed when GI's from the United States came in to liberate the prisoners in May of 1945. Though the concentration camp at Mauthausen was painful to see and hear about, it is important that we remember the atrocities that were committed so that we never repeat these crimes against humanity. As we toured the site, we experienced rain, snow, and severe winds; somehow the weather seemed to match the mood. Needless to say, we were all ready to get back on the bus and warm up after our tour!
We arrived in Vienna on Sunday afternoon and stopped in front of the imperial summer palace of the Habsburg family, Schloss Schönbrunn, on our way into the city to pick up our tour guides. The tour guide on Bus 1 is Ulrike, and she guided us through a bus tour of Vienna. She is quickly becoming one of my new favorite people, as she used wonderful similes when describing buildings around the city. While we were briefly in the newer part of Vienna, Ulrike pointed out a building that she claims Vienna needs "as much as we need breadcrumbs in our beds." She is quite entertaining and very knowledgeable about everything to do with this city.
One of the unique gems of Vienna is a place called the Hundertwasserhaus. This is a very unique building in which there are no straight lines (yes, that means no level floors, walls, anything!) and where trees grow out of the apartments and the side of the building. We got a chance to get off the bus to see the Hundertwasserhaus and it seemed to be a hit. When most people think of Vienna, they think of the imperial buildings, the opera house, and the neoclassical architecture that is pervasive throughout the heart of Vienna. However, the Hundertwasserhaus is a nice hidden treasure that is unique from the other buildings in the city.
After we finished our bus tour we unloaded at our hotel, the Hotel Kummer. It is about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the heart of Vienna and a five to ten minute walk from our rehearsal space, making it a very convenient location. We ate a wonderful schnitzel dinner in our hotel and then had the rest of the night to ourselves. Some of us went exploring on Sunday night and got to see all the buildings on the Ringstrasse lit up. The city is just as beautiful, if not more so, at night as it is during the daytime. One of my favorite buildings to see at night was the Hofburg Imperial Palace. I think the picture below speaks for itself. We actually will be attending the Officer's Ball there this Friday evening, which is sure to be a great time!