Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vienna, Austria

If you are following along my original itinary, you might be confused about why i am in Vienna and not Morocco. Last week, we heard the sad news that BYU was canceling our trip to Morocco because of safety concerns. Although we were all really sad about the news, we were trying to make the best of it and when we heard we were going to Vienna instead, I was really really excited! Because it was not on our original itinerary, I hadn't done any research on Vienna before hand nor did I ask anyone for travel advice on which sights were must sees when I arrived. I did quite a bit of research for everywhere else I had traveled before I left, so I was actually pretty excited to be traveling to a city with absolutely no expectations. 
When we arrived in Vienna, we got in very late/early in the morning at 1 AM. We all struggled to our rooms and I didn't even sleep because a few of us decided to go to Prague, but that's for another post, another time! 
So lets fast forward 2 days when we arrived back in Vienna!

Our little group arrived back in Vienna Sunday early afternoon. All of the traveling and the constant go go go in Prague was quite exhausting so we took it pretty easy on Sunday. We went for a walk that evening and saw a few fun sights and ate dinner at this amazing restaurant called mini. I had the best apple lemonade there, I've been searching for a recipe ever since! Monday morning we attended a briefing at the Organization for Security and Coopersation in Europe (OSCE). We spoke specifically about anti terrorism activities and the programs in use to prevent future attacks. The two men we spoke to at the agency were both former BYU grads which made it pretty fun bc they were very candid with their fellow classmates than I think they would have been. It was fun to see the inside scoop on another branch of the foreign service and confirm once again my desire to never join! Haha 
After that briefing we went to the Hofberg Treasury Museum which housed the Crown Jewels of Austria!

One wing of Hofberg Palace

The following day we visited the Museum of Military History which was a tribute to the war history of Austria and parts of Europe.

The car that drove Franz Ferdinand while he was assassinated. 

Courtyard of tanks ha

The boys in our group taking their model shot. 

After the war museum we went to see the Klimt exhibit inside Belvedere Palace... This building is amazing

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the museum, however if you are not familiar with Klimt's work, I suggest you look it up. His most famous work is entitled "the kiss" which is breathtaking when seen in person. Although I had heard of Klimt before, I fell in love with his work while visiting the palace. 

Probably one of my favorite things we did in Vienna was attend a film festival going on at the time. Every summer Vienna hosts a film/concert/opera festival which is free to the public. They have tons of yummy good vendors from all over the world and so you can buy food from wherever you please and then at 9:30, they project a movie/opera/concert on a huge project that is placed in front of an amazing church. It's such a cool environment and for one of the first times ever on this trip, I felt entrenched in the local culture. It was definitely one of the highlights of Vienna for me!

Hard to see but there the food vendors on either side.

Some other highlights of Vienna:
Stephanplatz square 

Visited a butterfly museum/garden that housed hundreds of butterflies. Raquel, if you're reading this- I thought of you the entire time I was in there!! :)

Our last stop in Vienna was the Schonbrunn Palace which is known to be a sort of mini-Versailles! It was beautiful and have great views of Vienna- the perfect way to say goodbye to Austria!

Sorry, it's sort of a crappy picture, but you get the idea haha

Now off to Barcelona!!

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