The Vienna Experience: Second Movement

Audrey Steiner
March 3, 2019
People dancing at the Ball

I attended a Viennese ball (pictured above). In the Hofburg Palace (pictured below). Need I say more!?

Thanks for reading my blog, and tschüss!

Outside of Hofburg Palace

Just kidding, I have a lot more to write. But never in a million years would I have imagined that I'd go to a ball. Balls seem like a princesses-only kind of thing...the kind of thing that happens only in fantasy worlds. But in Vienna, balls are normal, and royal blood is not a requirement to enter. All you need is a ticket and a floor-length dress (or a black suit).

To get there, I self-consciously rode the subway in my contrasting formal attire and winter boots. Once at the Hofburg, I switched into my heels, grasped at my long dress, and tottered up a red-carpeted staircase towards the dancing rooms. I tried to waltz in the main ballroom with a friend, but neither of us knew how, so the experienced couples bumped us around like pinballs as they effortlessly glided across the dance floor. Eventually, we were ejected from the crowd, and we couldn't help but laugh at our clumsiness. Someday, after I learn to dance, I'd love to go to a ball again and waltz the night away.

For those who would rather experience Vienna during the day, I would recommend the Kunsthistoriches (Art History) Museum and the Naturhistoriches (Natural History) Museum. I still have many more museums to visit, but these are my favorites so far. They are housed in palace-like buildings that face one another, making them worthy attractions from the outside alone. The collections are overwhelmingly large—every room seems to lead to another room. At the Natural History Museum, I enjoyed the dinosaur fossils and hominid skulls. At the Art History Museum, my favorite part was not actually the art (art is cool, but I’ve seen a lot of art museums, and sometimes they start to blend together) but the pleasantly creaky floorboards (simple things like that sometimes make the experience memorable).

Although I have talked about the wonderful music of Vienna in a previous post, it is worth mentioning again! I was lucky enough to hear the Vienna Philharmonic the other day. Even though I couldn't see anything from the back of the standing room area, what mattered most was that I could clearly hear them—they were so in sync that they sounded like a mastered recording. If you read my previous blog post, you might remember that I was confused by the excessive coughing between movements at Viennese concerts...according to the friend I was with, people cough so much in between movements because they don't want to cough as much during the movements. I guess that makes sense?

I also enjoyed visiting famous musicians’ graves at the Central Cemetery (the name is a bit misleading, as it is located on the outskirts of the city). A cemetery isn’t exactly the kind of place everyone wants to visit for fun, but Vienna’s Central Cemetery is incredible because it is the resting place of many great composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Strauss, Wolf, and Schoenberg (and nearby St. Marx Cemetery is supposedly the burial site of Mozart, but he was buried in a mass grave so nobody knows exactly where he is).

Beethoven's grave

Viennese balls, historical museums, and trips out to cemeteries are all cool, but one of my favorite parts about studying abroad in Vienna is simply going through the motions of living: sitting in cafes, trying new restaurants, reading in parks, and wandering around neighborhoods. These little things, I think, are some of the most rewarding things about living in a new city because that is how you experience its overall "vibe."

That's all for now! I leave you with a cool shot of many intersecting tramway cables that are part of Vienna's very convenient public transportation system. Tschüss for real this time!

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Audrey Steiner

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.4pt; margin-right:19.8pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.5pt"><span style="line-height:103%">My name is Audrey. I am a junior at the University of Notre Dame (Here is where ND fans shout, "GO IRISH!") where I am double-majoring in music and visual communication design. With my busy schedule, I often "forget" to do my laundry, organize my chaotic desk, and close out of the 30+ Chrome tabs I have open at once. When I am not practicing piano or doing homework, I enjoy reading, writing, learning languages, spending time outdoors, and FaceTiming my cat, Bramble.</span></p>

Program:
Destination:
Term:
2019 Spring
Home university:
University of Notre Dame
Hometown:
Hanover, NH
Major:
Design - All Types
Music
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