Austria Day 4 – 03.15.2008
On the fourth day in Austria, the sun was nicely beaming down and the whole city shined up. Today, I walked and walked and walked and walked. I took time to slowly absorb the city: street markets, people, shops, churches, incredible street piano performance, etc. I went to Wien Volksoper to watch Carmen. I didn’t do much extra-special, but I think this was actually my favorite day of the whole trip.
I got up around 8:30am. I reminded myself not to stuff myself with breakfast today. I took a tram to Stephan Plaza. It was indeed a beautiful day and a beautiful city. There was an alien street performer doing alien things. I also went inside a supermarket. I loved how they put vegetables in baskets.
I discovered a church hidden in a corner of a street. It was called St. Peter’s. The church was decorated with gold and marbles. Though I thought it was a bit too luxurious for a church, it was beautiful. Lots of tourists were taking pictures in the back, but the majestic atmosphere seemed uninterrupted.
Then I stopped by a chocolate shop called Demel (very famous). I watched patissers preparing chocolate for Easter. The workers seemed very lively and passionate (sugar high probably). I got myself some sweets, and stopped by a beautiful stationary store. Every shop in Wien was so original and charmingly decorated.
On the way, I came across Kunst & Antikmarkt, which I assumed it probably meant Arts & Antique Market. Lots of things were Easter themed. People here were very kind as well.
I was having lunch there, and found out that my bag of Demel chocolates was missing. I thought it over slowly and decided to trace back. I got myself a delicious gelato on the way. The bag in the stationary store. Danke Shern!
The Clock Museum
I discovered a clock museum on the way and decided to take a quick look. The exhibitions included 17th Century astronomical clocks to extremely elaborate pocket watches. Wien was in a way one of these clocks: delicate, sophisticated, clean, meticulous, decorative.
Lots of Easter eggs! And they even sold Easter bunnies. It made me laugh. The market was crowed with people. I could hear wine glasses clinking, children laughing, and merchants touting. Each shop was aesthetically decorated. Wow, they all must be artists.
Sigmund Freud Park
I decided to take a break at Freud Park. I thought over the travel so far. Traveling alone in a foreign area required full responsibility. I was both a leader and a follower. Also, everyone seemed strangely nice and jolly today. I asked myself why, and I had a small epiphany that I was the one who was nice and jolly. Happiness did depend on me not the others.
I came across the new city hall and the national theater. Wien was such an attractive city. I walked a lot today, but I never got tired of it. Everything in Wien looked awesome!
Pasqualatihaus was the Beethoven Museum. Beethoven spent eight years in this apartment and wrote the 4th~8th symphony here. Beethoven actually did exist :).
I walked back to Kaerntner street to have dinner. But then this amazing street piano performance caught my attention. Her performance was splendid. She should have been playing in Carnegie Hall. Even street performers are top of the class in Wien. I sat nearby for a while, then I realized I forgot to eat. Clock was ticking for the concert, so I picked up a few slices of pizza and hurried towards the subway station.
The Volksoper – Carmen (Bizet)
I made to the theater just on time. It was about half the size of Wien Opera House, but again, it was an exquisite theater. I had only been to a handful of operas, so I didn’t know what to expect, which was ironically exciting.
A few surprises. First, opera singers didn’t use microphones. The main actors somehow magically sang through the orchestra and the chorus. Their vocal chords were probably made of steel. Second, the cast was huge. They had like twenty guards, ten cigarette girls, and twenty children in the chorus. It was like a human orchestra. Third, the opera had a modern interpretation. I thought opera singers were going to wear Bach wigs and woolen clothes, but they were actually watching television and shooting guns on stage.
It was a terrific performance. I loved it. It was a massive co-work of stage works, arts, lighting, orchestra, and actors. I thought operas were something heavy and serious, but I was wrong. It was funny, easy to follow, and musically inspiring. My hats off to the crew!