wonderlanded: (holly gracious)
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We arrived on Sunday night, and the cold hit us immediately. The weather’s marvellous – mainly bright blue skies – but it’s definitely apple-cheeked weather.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so charming as the Ostermarkt – the Easter Markets, in the Freyung in central Vienna and out at the Schönbrunn, which we visited today. The painted egg ornaments, the wooden toys, the hot Austrian food, the hand-blown glass ornaments and decorations, and other little bits and pieces are just so lovely. The Austrians really get geared up for Easter, and it has a delightful festival feel to it. Besides, the hot apple schnapps with bits of real apple in it, and cream on top, is quite definitely the best thing I’ve every consumed in my life.

Following our tradition of Tempting the Wrath of the Almighty, the first thing we did in Austria, after arriving and dumping our luggage, we wandered into the back of the Stephansdom on Sunday night, while Mass was in progress. None of us, not even Dad, could understand a word of the homily, apart from an errant mention of ‘Joseph Stalin’, which has left us all wondering, but he sounded like a marvellous priest. Stephansdom at night, with all the lights lit and the pretty shadows and the smell of incense, is one of those churches that makes you understand how some people believe so blindly in religion.

In Vienna, there is another monument, this time to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The monument itself is a representation of all the books that were never written because of the genocide. I didn’t know about this one, which is just around the corner from our apartment, and it leaves me very choky when we pass it.

Mum wondered for quite a while what the wonderful ‘Einbahn’ place was, because so many prominent signs pointed to it. Then we worked out that, in fact, the signs indicated one-way streets.

The Viennese love sticky, sweet, bready things, so I’m in my element. There is a bakery just down the street that does fantastic breakfasty things, and I’m going to miss it very much when we move on.

We went to Carmen last night, which was just completely dire. I don’t know if there have been many worse live performances I’ve ever seen. I’ve personally been in better versions of Carmen than this. For starters, they had translated the thing into German. For those who haven’t been privileged enough to hear my rants on the subject of translation, OPERAS SHOULD NOT BE TRANSLATED. EVER. If that makes me a hypocrite for enjoying Les Mis, then so be it. I’ve heard Carmen in both English and German, as well as the original French, and I can safely say that neither really works, although the English is far better as far as lyric quality is concerned. Neither should be tolerated in a civilised society, and particularly not in an odd adaptation that transplants the story to the Spanish Civil War. We left at intermission.

I don’t seem to have said so much about Vienna, although I think I like it better. The people are almost insanely nice, the shops wonderful, the air clean and fresh and crispt, and the architecture and history beautiful but not overwhelmingly so. I will be back here in the month before Christmas, I think, for anyone who’d like to visit it with me. I love the place enough to make another stab at learning German.

Date: 2005-03-23 10:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stellanova.livejournal.com
Hurrah for delightful Holidays! Have you fallen off a glacier in your brown and flame ensemble yet?

Also, I will go to Vienna with you, if you like! I've never been, and wanted to go for years.

Date: 2005-03-23 10:34 am (UTC)
ext_20929: (Default)
From: [identity profile] chiasmata.livejournal.com
Einbahn! That one caught my friend's parents when they came out to bring her stuff in October - her dad commented on how an awful lot of streets seemed to be called "Einbahn", and had to suffer the mockery of his daughter! I didn't know it, either, but kept quiet...

I think I need to go to Vienna at some point, but it's a horribly long way from Heidelberg so I can't see it happening anytime soon. Le sigh...

Date: 2005-03-23 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterboy1.livejournal.com
Gosh, more travel goodness! Wonderful!

I'm with you on modern opera performances in translation, especially when, as often as not, a newcomer probably wouldn't be able to make out the words anyway. Surtitles win any day, I think. On the other hand, there are historical recordings that I wouldn't want to jettison just because they're in translation.

After having so much fun in another part of Austria last December, I would definitely be up for a trip to Vienna this year.

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