Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today our guide Manuela met us at the hotel where we headed to the royal Hapsburg family's Imperial Palace.  On the way there we walked past a lot of art museums, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History.  The entrance to the palace led us to a huge open area that was the center to thenl palace itself.  Interestingly enough there were two monuments facing each other which was called the Hero's Square, the same name as the monument square which Szilvia took us to in Budapest.  Manuela talked about how Jewish families were the rich ones living in Vienna, and they controlled a lot of the education and arts.  The most interesting part about all of this history is that this is possibly what made Hitler have so much hatered for the Jewish community because Hitler was rejected from the arts college in Vienna.

Going further into the palace we witnessed just how rich the Hapsburg family was.  We entered another huge open area which had a marching band playing next to a massive monument in the middle of the square.  Making our way through the palace we met some fellow Maryville residents by coincidence which was pretty cool.  It was good to chant B E A R C A T S a few times in a foreign place!

At the end of the palace we came upon a shopping area where window shopping was about the only shopping any of us were going to be doing.  Stores like Gucci and Rolex were everywhere.  After that we took the subway to the flea market.  There we saw a lot of fresh food vendors which were mostly fish, wine, and veggies.  Further down in the market was where the clothing and souvenir vendors where.  We went through and bartered with the sellers and got some decent deals on dreamcatchers and jewelry.  We had to make sure we counted our change though because they were quick to short change us if we did any bartering.  Next 5 of us went to arguably the most beautiful place we've had the chance to visit: St. Stephen's Cathedral.

The cathedral was in the middle of the expensive shopping area.  Inside the church was a small wind band playing music at the alter which was very beautiful, and the echo following the music made this ethereal reverb.  We then took the 300 some stairs to the top of the bell tower.  The walk up sucked and was never ending, but the view that we got from above was well worth the exhaustion!

All of us are quick to find out how expensive everything here seems with the Euro compared to the Forint let alone the US Dollar.  I'm going to have to start going to fast food places more often here otherwise my bank account is going to be empty before we even make it to Prague!  Another realization:  Weiner Schnitzel is simply an over glorified tenderloin which was somewhat of a let down because I was expecting it to be something interesting and new.  Overall I'm also surprised that tension within the group hasn't gotten TOO out of hand.  Some of us have been getting a little bit of an attitude, but we all do a good job of keeping each other in line.  Not sure if that will hold true by the end of the trip though haha.  Enough typing for today, time for some pictures below!

Dylan Kay

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