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Museums and Castles Visiting Spree

rain 21 °C

Armed with my Salzburg Card, I decided to take advantage of the free admissions so I went on a museum castle visiting spree.
Before that, short time of prayer to start the day.
I will always be amazed when I step into these ancient house of God.
The Salzburg Museum was worth a visit, the journey was pretty amazing. Ran around the town for castle tours, catacombs, cemeteries. It was rainy and breezy the entire day so I haven't been exactly dry the entire day.
I didn't manage to visit all the museums because I did not wish to just rush through everything. For instance, I miss out on the arts museum but in the end I am contented because I sorta prioritized.
Some snapshots of the towns. Photography prohibited in some areas of the museum.
An entire gallery dedicated to Christ
The cemetery and catacombs were beautiful.
Some funky stuff
Went to Hellbrunn in the evening because I wanted to visit to supposedly famous trick fountains. It was fun and well worth it. I got soaked when the park guide promised an experience of a lifetime :) and the place of full of water booby traps.
Mechanisms that runs entirely on water
Pictures around Hellbrunn
Wandered far away from the normal path until I saw a sign that says ,"Danger, do not wander further, danger to life." And oh well, seeing that, I backed off.
Had a lovely quiet evening, read a book and slept very well

Posted by canglingy 00:42 Archived in Austria Tagged churches castles parks museum Comments (0)

Salzburg, Mozart's Birthplace

Castles and dinner concert

all seasons in one day 14 °C

I reasoned to myself I should not miss Salzburg, so instead of going forward to Budapest, I backtracked to Salzburg.
Spent the final morning with my lovely friend in Vienna. Ah, goodbyes was always hard since it might be years before we meet again. I hopped on a train at noon to get to Salzburg.
When I get there, because of my laziness to ask around and my confidence in my half baked German, I bought the wrong public transport ticket from the machine, got the right one after laughing at my own stupidity.
Then I got lost trying to find my hotel. The directions included on the website sucked and I was walking in the opposite direction. Moreover, the people here don't really speak English and they keep reverting back to German. It was the same with my hotel's receptionist, her limited vocabulary gave her a hard time directing me to the right location. Anyway, after tiring myself out. I found the hotel. Before coming here, I was forced to booked a more expensive hotel because all the others weren't available. However, the room was really great and I know I will have best sleep in this trip tonight.
Did my laundry and wandered off into the town.

The main town of Salzburg is quite small in comparison to Vienna and is easily covered on foot. There's a big river that splits the town.
This town is supposed to be an architectural gem so I guess I will find out more of it tomorrow.
Here's the 900 years old castle (I think it's almost 1000 years old though, I forgot)
Some Mozart wannabe, haha
Now that going green
Some hints of the architectural beauty
I got myself a ticket for a Mozart dinner concert, since I am in his town, so might as well eh :) The four course dinner was up at the castle and it was great stuff. The dessert was "musical" too. I felt slightly out of place by dining alone here.
You get a good panoramic view of Salzburg from the castle
Some shots around the castle
The funicular I took
And they have to beg us to keep their toilet clean, haha
The concert was great showcasing some Mozart's finest work. I got a pleasant surprise when I got moved to the first row. Apparently they thought that that seat would be better for me, thanks guys.
You even get some instruments like this.
And of course the singing
When you look out the window, you will see night beautifully fall in Salzburg

I was freezing after the concert when I walked on the castle ground. It was warm in the afternoon and the wind is tremendously chilly at night. I was only in a t-shirt while the rest are in coats and jackets. Should have check the weather before leaving next time. I rushed back to the comfort of my room really fast and had my rest.

Posted by canglingy 03:25 Archived in Austria Tagged buildings trains castles music performing_arts Comments (0)

Natural History, Spanish Riding School, Prater XD

Self Guided imperial tour

semi-overcast 19 °C

Started the day with a visit to the natural history museum in Vienna.
It was quite impressive.
You walk through gateways like this to get to different rooms (Each room is for different eras in history)
Artists working hard
One part of the ceiling
Being natural history, there will be the fair share of rocks on display :)
Overall, this museum is very well planned, informative and interactive. They are trying to explain the story of the Earth we live in and they arrange everything in such a way to throw not very subtle hint that evolutionism has to be key to understand life process. While I don't agree with them, I like their approach of indirectness, not the usual "in-you-face" facts but forcing the reader to think and come to the conclusion himself. I think I benefited from the detailed explanation on so many life processes too. I start to like rocks in this visit, a journey through the rocks is quite literally a walk through the ages.
Some of the exhibition (Photography not allowed in certain parts of the museum)
The final picture is very interesting, it predicts the condition of the Earth in a few decades. If you looked at the map carefully, it turns out that the only inhabitable areas are the North and the South. The ones in the middle will be rendered uninhabitable due to extreme weather or desertification. Perhaps we might want to start thinking of a plan to relocate? Because one could notice the signs already.

I went to the library after the museum and found myself loving the place. Did a self guided imperial tour of Vienna afterwards. Visited the museums and the castles that inside the imperial area in Vienna.
And I managed to squeeze in an English guided tour of the Spanish Riding School (It's easier to get a German tour than the English tour) I learned the lives of the riders, visited the stables (The horses are so lovely and dignified, pity no pictures could be taken) And they don't come cheap. One horse can fetch a price between 2,500 Euro to 17,000 Euro. It was an eye opener and I enjoyed the tour.
The performance area (The horses are taking a break during summer)
Best seat in the house
Outer area of the stables
Knowledgeable guide given explanations
Rider's equipment
Had coffee, Viennese style while watching the mares and foals grazing (stallions are taking a break from the city ;) )

And the amusement park, Prater XD
Some of the rides are beginner-ish but some are downright scary. Here's some pictures
And they have a real merry-go-round, the first time I saw one with real horses
Compared to what we pay in Msia or Singapore, the park is very affordable. And listening to laughters from both children and the adults are very pleasant indeed.

Head to the University of Vienna, and this campus is truly a campus in the garden. It was already evening when I went there, so the place is rather deserted and very quiet and peaceful.
I walked around while waited for Sophia's Portuguese class to end. We had a traditional Viennese dinner (finally, my first after four days, haha)
At night, we went to a wedding party, The married couple didn't bother with suits and just dress casually to the wedding, that was refreshing :)

Posted by canglingy 19:45 Archived in Austria Tagged people parties parks horses museum Comments (0)

Boating at the Danube and Don Giovanni

Just a relaxing day

sunny 27 °C

Had a very long breakfast (I think it's almost 3 hours) with my friend. We talked about everything, sharing our thoughts on different issues.
The weather was great today, so we decided to go to the Danube to enjoy the sun. I guess this is where the perception of European being lazy comes in, we see them lazing around in the park, reading books, trying to get tanned or just talking. But to their defense, this is their style of relaxation and we have ours to, just that we don't go lying in parks but spending time in front of the TV or hang out in malls.
The area we went to was clothing optional (This blog will not have nudity pictures :p), after some reading and talking, I rented a boat and cruise along the Danube (I was lazy to row, so I got an electric motor boat) I spend hours on the boat, wandered out far and of course, enjoying the scenery and the breeze along the way. It is very peaceful too.
I was pretending to be a student of Wien University :)
Some of my friends
I am getting started
Sceneries along the Danube
Had to work hard to avoid the yacht beginners (they can just drift to your place or they suddenly fall in front of you)
There's the taxi
I tried to walk on this but I failed miserably
Went home for a quick shower and get dressed for the Don Giovanni Opera
The music was fantastic, I was captivated from the beginning to the end. I was totally into it, especially loved the scene where Commendatore reappear and pronounce judgement.
Some of the scenes (picture quality wasn't good)
Performance ended slightly after midnight. I caught the last metro home (initially I thought all metro lines runs for 24 hours thanks to my abysmal German, but thank God I managed to catch the last one or I will really be kinda stranded)

Posted by canglingy 20:11 Archived in Austria Tagged boats performing_arts Comments (0)

Schonbrunn Palace and Labyrinth

Getting to know the Habsburg

semi-overcast 19 °C

Started my day at the palace, before that, I managed to get a ridiculous amount of bread for 2 Euros. (Thanks to that I didn't have lunch :) ) The palace was with a huge amount tourists, but it's huge compound of that area gave a lot of movement space, so thankfully it's not painfully packed.
This place was actually a summer residence of the royal family, now it has become one of the most cultural monument in the country. The emperors displayed their tastes and inspirations through the layout of the compound, the gardens were a joy to visit.
I took an extended guided tour in the palace to learn. This family is quite important in European history. Their illustrious story is too long to be included here, so wikipedia will give a more comprehensive background ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habsburg
One phrase that Emperor Franz Joseph I said stayed with me- "I am first and foremost a public servant of this country" (I cannot remember the exact wordings) The emperor that is willing to serve his people is inspirational, with all the talks of servant leadership in churches now, we don't see that in most leaders. His life was highly disciplined and productive and after the tour, this emperor quickly become one of the person that I respected.
Anyway, here's some pictures :)
Their usual artistic chair
The palace from outside the gate
The main palace
Free Performance and they are really good
Unfortunately, no picture taking is allowed inside. The design is of the rococo style is definitely worth to go have a look at, and there are some oriental especially Chinese influence too (apparently it's very exotic during that age)
Went to Apfelstrudel demonstration and had a go to try make one of these nice desserts. I have forgotten everything now save the recipe, haha :)
Visited the gardens afterwards
Firstly, the privy garden. Tourists come as couples, so I felt quite weird for intruding in the supposedly romantic garden. But it's really beautiful in the enclosed garden.
Had fun in the labyrinth, had some moments where it's like "oh no, another dead end, you dummy", the labyrinth is well designed.
Two roads diverged
Another dead end
Others getting stuck
Watched the children play (they took more risk compared to our children where parents stood guard like a bulldogs to ensure they don't do anything "dangerous"
The oldest zoo in the world, and with pandas
One of the very nice fountains
Hiked up the hill to get a panoramic view of Vienna. (it's not an easy one)
And I made it
The trees in the garden is huge. (Walking through them feels like walking in the forest minus the undergrowth)
Reconstructed Roman Ruins
The Obelisk (must have took a lot effort to craft something like this huh)
Had a stroll along the Danube Island. My legs didn't get a chance to rest but I was relaxing. (Hmmm, didn't really make sense)
Went to St. Stephen's to catch more street performance and to visit the basilica before going home.
Basilica was huge and I couldn't capture the entire building.
We cooked dinner at home (Well, I didn't really help, just set up the table ;) )
One of the girls had interesting cooking method, threw everything into a pot, turned on the blender and viola it becomes a soup. Another interesting dish is spaghetti with yoghurt as sauce. Well, I definitely tasted something different today.
We went to celebrate a friend's birthday at night, had great coffee and we went back way past midnight.

Posted by canglingy 19:18 Archived in Austria Tagged churches people parties trees gardens castles sightseeing Comments (0)

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