Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Next day we headed for Schönbrunn Palace, another UNESCO heritage site (two important heritage site in two days yipeeeeee) where we had to stand in a long Q to buy the tickets to enter, an usual thing in all the touristic attractions. This palace was enormous, gigantic, and so much different styles, some were the traditional Austrian and few rooms were decorated in Chinese and Japanese styles. The queen at that time Maria Theresa of Austria, was very much influenced by the eastern style of décor. After strolling in the palace and taking into as much info as possible from the audio guide that they gave us with the ticket, we headed for the fun part in the palace, the palace gardens. They had zoo and games like maze, musical steps, some science related games. After finishing a typical Austrian lunch in the palace restaurant and hopping into all the games possible, we headed for the famous Vienna state opera. The Opera was closed by 6 pm so we could not visit inside but met two people who were trying to sell the tickets for an opera somewhere else. We thought the prices were rocket high and politely refused the offer and headed for the St.Stephen’s cathedral to have a look inside as we peeped into another church with the same architecture and found the interiors were more interesting than the exterior. This is the place where Ludwig Beethoven, discovered that he was totally deaf, ok that is another story, so we entered the cathedral and were taken aback by the beauty, the sculptures that ornated the pillars, the main altar was a lot different from the ones we find in Germany or France. So after taking in the beauty completely we decided to head towards a theme park which is supposed to have a giantest giant wheel where we can see the whole city. So while coming out we again met another person who was trying to convince us to buy tickets for the opera. Since kee has not been to an opera we agreed reluctantly for the offer, plus he said that he’ll give us seats in one of the front rows, and at the centre, which he called the golden rows. The next set of rows were called the silver rows and the third may be the bronze, but I never bothered to ask as were so excited to watch an opera which consist of Mozart during its first half and Strauss during its second half, sitting in one of the front rows, with beautiful ballet dancers dancing for the tunes. So after buying the tickets of a hefty sum we set out to eye the whole of Vienna, through a giant wheel. What we did not know was this wheel is nothing but a theme park that offers this ride, and since we had to pay for each ride separately our minds quickly wandered away towards the more exciting rides than giant wheel.
Ho ho that was the most fun I had in a long time, these adrenaline testing rides always made me happy, so first we climbed on water splash where we got wet and the hopped into a roller coaster to dry our clothes ;) then my devil friend got fascinated by a ride that is like a swing, that swings and also rotates 360°!!!! And the swing is not something like a normal swing; it could swing a whole 180°. After she decided to take that ride, I refused to have a look at the ride, as it was too much frightening. Finally our turn came in the Q and we jumped into our seats, and I called all the possible gods existing, to save me until we have a safe landing. After fastening the belt and the armor around the shoulder, the ride started, hehehe it was a total fun, u feel nothing in ur stomach like in the giant wheel because that armor is pressing on ur stomach. But I just had one fear that I’ll slip in between the armor and the seat and fall down, given my extra strong physic, I thought anything is possible ;) after a safe landing, and thanking all the gods I called for help ,we headed for the opera as we were getting late. Our hair were totally bad because of several 360° rotations and we started to run for the opera trying at the same time to fix the hair. Luckily for us the ticket vendor said that during summer it is not necessary to go in formals, else with my bowl like pants and her colorful summer top, we would have got kicked out the instant we enter the gates. So with lots of struggle of reading the map we reached the place where the opera was to be held, a full two minutes late and the person rushed us to enter the room as we were late and the opera was abt to start, and he showed the door, for an instant from outside the door I could get a view of a part of the room and thought OMG should be enter through the stage, is it the only way are we that late and then I peeped into the room and I could not belive it, and I came out again and then again went in to absorb the reality, “we were cheated”. The room was like a 50 m2 room with 100 people, sweating like pig because of the heat, and we were asked to occupy the last rows!!! There were no gold or silver or bronze rows, for that matter we had some sort of chairs which were not neatly rowed, but were scattered. And totally there were only 5 artists, three in the violin, one on the piano and one with the big violin (I do not know the name). kee and me were stunned, that we paid so much to watch this disaster. As to pour oil in the fire, there came the opera singers, I could at least stand the male singer, but the female singer instead of just singing, started showing expressions which were terrible. Kee could not stand both of them, I even thought of whistling like in some road side shows as we were totally disappointed. Then came the dancers, they clearly had a tough time dancing ballet in the small space given n we felt pity for them, but then we were wondering, if all the artists were a part of this cheating process, n then concluded that only the master in the violin n that big violin man could be a part of this as they had a crooked smile in their face. We were curious to ask if all the people in the hall have given money like us, we nearly asked a German lady in front of us, but could not ask directly and she left. Then we went to the rest room where kee was determined to ask someone there and she was talking to someone when I was in the rest room and after we came out I asked kee if she asked someone n she replied yes and they paid more than us, at last that cracked a smile in our face hehehe ;)
I know we are terrible people, but we were not that badly cheated like the other few ;) but soon we were dull again thinking abt the opera and decided to eat our dinner cheap. So we grabbed a bite from Mc. Donald’s and started walking n suddenly we came to a big square with a beautiful building and after admiring for some time we crossed the building to find another nice, one and another, and we found that we are in the street which connects all the important monuments in Vienna. So we took a walk seeing the beauty, all the buildings are beautiful in the night with the lights highlighted at certain places. So after a long walk we reached just in time to catch the train back to our hotel. Me and kee slept like angels after a long day of adventures.
The next morning, we had a so-so breakfast at the hotel, checked out the room and went straight to the opera. The opera was breath-taking and magnificent. It was destroyed during a war and what they have now is a mixture of different type of architecture. The funny thing was the emperor who built the opera house was not an opera man and used to sleep with the curtains drawn inside his sitting box!!! The guide who guided us inside the opera told us that the tickets cost normally €10-€250!! And with the lower cost tickets u cannot have any view of the orchestra. And during the Vienna ball which is held during the month of February, the entrance ticket alone is €250 and can go upto €17, 000, I have made no mistake in putting zero’s, it is true!!! And for a concert of Mozart, there are normally 50 musicians and for Strauss, nearly 150, hehehe now u can imagine the frustration that we had yesterday. After the opera visit, we were again reminded of the haircut plan and started hunting for a decent hair salon, n to our frustration we found none. Then we started hunting for a pizza shop as our tongues were totally dead by eating that morning breakfast. And for a while we could not find any, if we found they were those high class restaurants, not affordable by students. Then at last we found one and had a sumptuous meal and had our favorite dish and with the feeling of ecstasy we set out to take the bus for the airport. Towards the bus station, we were walking happily discussing abt the food we had and laughing back like small children. The bus driver announced that again that transport is not free and we have to pay for the tickets. Since the price was not that high as that of that green colored ticket, we started digging our bags for the money, an enormous tip for the happy food that we had in the cute Italian restaurant left is with some shortage feew cents. With the bus departure in 5 min, we had to search for an automat to take out some money and as if the day was not for us, not even one automat was in the vicinity, I stopped a lady hoping to ask where the automat was, but before I could ask she said I do not know anything and walked off in her awful golden dress, which would have been cute if she had replied me, then finally found an automat took some money paid the driver and off we went to the airport losing all the little happiness we felt after eating a wonderful lunch. Reached the airport, finished our security check and stopped in a souvenir shop to buy something to remind me of this now stupid trip, which ‘ll be a wonderful trip that we made and make me laugh at all the stupid adventures when I grow old.
After writing this blog I actually would like to visit this city again and make things straight between me and the city, Vienna I love u :)Ananthi Sankaran