Wednesday, January 30, 2013

26.1.2013 Royalty and Religion Part II

Jewish Monument at Judenplatz
The first thing we did this morning was go to Judenplaz, this is the Jewish quarters where the majority of the Jews lived. There was a monument there recognizing the Jews killed in the Holocaust but to be completely honest it was extremely disappointing. It looked for all the world like it could have been a shed that housed an A.C. unit. The structure was supposed to have books on the outside but they didn’t look like books, there was not a lot written on the monument to tell people what it was, people had let their dogs use it as a bathroom, and to me the worst part was that it was obvious that no one cared about it or had put any significant though behind it besides that maybe they should make a memorial there.
Next we made a short stop to see a memorial for the Black Plague and quickly moved on to your next stop.
Everyday Silverware
A Cabinet designated to glasses
The next stop of the day was Hofburg, the downtown palace of Queen Elisabeth and Franz Joseph. Queen Elisabeth did not stay at the palace very often and was not as recognized by people as Franz Joseph’s mistress Sisi. The first floor of the palace was turned in a display for all of the royal dishes and silverware. It got a little over whelming because you couldn’t turn your head without seeing more dishes and at the end we were trying to figure out how to get to the next floor. It was really interesting to see how tastes progressed in the royal family along with what the everyday use dishes looked like versus dishes they used for extravagant meals with special guests. Once we got out of the maze of dishes we went to the second floor. The first part of the second floor was designated to what Queen Elisabeth was like including her reaction to her son’s death and her obsession with her physical appearance. After the section about Queen Elisabeth we got to tour some rooms in the house. My favorite was the ballroom. It was enormous, with beautiful paintings on the ceilings, and lots and lots of sparkly crystals on the chandeliers and candles mounted on the walls. It was interesting to see the difference between this palace and Schonbrunn. Hofburg felt smaller and therefore less formal than Schonbrunn did, I think that probably had a lot to do with the fact that there were family portraits in a lot of the rooms that we got to tour.
Welcome to Vienna!
After our tour of Hofburg we rode a bus to the top of one of the first Alps near Vienna and got an aerial view of Vienna in the snow which was absolutely gorgeous.
Interior of St. Stephens Cathedral
Our final stop today was St. Stephens Cathedral. When we got there, there were people setting up for mass the next day. We got to look around the church and listen to a group of strings play some beautiful songs.

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