Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Well, there it is. After 4 surprisingly long days of studies, finals are finally over. The flu-like symptoms didn't help much. How'd they go?

German: Basically, I think I aced it. That means I probably didn't and will be rudely surprised
Fine Arts: Confidently filled out every question (just like the midterm), hopefully I won't be derailed by questionable grading methods (just like the midterm)
Religion: Had some trouble with the "random facts about the church in Denmark in 1871" section but it went well otherwise...
History: Easy, baby! If you spend enough time reciting the history of Austria in your head all you have to do is write it down. Hurrah for short term memory!

Quite a relief, now we can relax and try to enjoy our last few days in Vienna. It's nice here. Sadly, I was talking to a Viennese kid earlier and he was flabbergasted that I liked it here and reiterated over an over how much better America is than Vienna. Sad! He lives in one of the coolest cities in the world and doesn't even care. I hope I never take America for granted like that, lousy food or not.

I'm so excited to get back to dollars. You have no idea. Food at a restaurant for only 10-12 bucks? Amazing! So cheap! Movies for less than 15 dollars? Great! I'll watch two! Exchange rates are lousy when you're at the wrong end. It was all fun and games in Thailand buying dinner for $1.25 but now things are serious.

mmm....Vanilla Kipferl are tasty....

If anyone has any tasty European chocolate orders you'd better put them in now. As in now. I'm leaving soon. Who knows, maybe Santa will be nice to ya!

Did I tell you about Frankfurt? It was great!!! We spent almost all our time at the temple but did get to go into town once. They had a lego store!!! Whoohooo! I immediately reverted to a 9 year old.

The temple there has a guesthouse (like a hostel) and a cafeteria so we were pretty much self-contained there for the 2.5 days of the trip. Oh, and the two 9 hour bus rides? WAAAY too much fun. Sleeping on a bus leads to temporary insanity, it turns out:

While in Frankfurt, we went to an activity that involved gingerbread houses. While people made beautiful chateaus, replicated historical landmarks and so forth, I designed...

Gummy bear hell

27 individual methods of death and dismemberment!!!

Notice the lovely cubist design. Notice the suffering. Notice the European snobbishnish. You bet I've learned something about art!

Oh, and at the stake center in Frankfurt they had drinking fountains. Understand, that was the first fountain I'd seen in Europe since the old mosque in Granada. In August. AMAZING

Went to Cafe Sperl yesterday. Cafes here are SO cool. I am going to desperately miss them. Are there any good European style cafes in Provo? SLC? I need to find one to fritter my time away in and become a true turn-of-the-century existentialist. hmmm...I'll need to take up smoking and wear black clothes too...maybe I'll settle for hot chocolate and a hoodie. Martin, our destiny as useless philosophers calls!

Tasty treat of the week comes from a Frankfurt market:

Ok, gotta go. Wien calls!

P.S. On a slightly more menacing note, the gummies have started to revolt against my tyrannical rule...

...silly gummies...

This is WAR!!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More smatterings from Vienna

Today was pretty crazy, we got up early and went to hear the Vienna Boys’ Choir sing for Mass at the Hofburg Capelle. We were only able to stand in the doorway, which was a bummer, but they were quite good. We were watching them on a TV screen and even though they are world-class singers they’re still just little boys. They fidget, pick at their shoes and almost fall asleep. Funny little fellas!

I went to church in my German ward (for the last time) and had a temple interview with the bishop afterwards that was in German! Fortunately, I’ve had enough of those that I know the questions pretty well. Anyhow, to make a long story short, we’re going to the Frankfurt temple this weekend. I’ll tell you how it went when I get back (it may take a while, finals are next week. Bleh!)

We went to Wagner’s Kirche Am Steinhof, a Jugenstil church here in Vienna. It’s a modern architecture church, very different and cool.

We couldn’t get in on Thursday but we saw there was a concert there on Sunday. So we went back today and saw the concert. It was awesome! Organ, choral and violin concert.

Earlier in the week we went to the central cemetery. Graves there include Amerling, Schubert, Schonberg, Brahms, Beethoven (!) and Strauss. How crazy! They also have a Jugendstil church called the Dr.-Karl-Lueger kirche with a beautiful interior. Check out the inside of this dome!

Went to the Albertina museum this week which featured a exhibit on Impressionism called “From Monet to Picasso”. Loved it! My favorites were the paintings in the “Pointillist” style. Here are a few examples:



The Monet stuff was also beautiful. I especially like his gardens.

Speaking of museums, we also went to Belvedere palace a learned about 20th century art. I’m not a fan of Gustav Klimt. Not at all. I liked some of the expressionist stuff I saw and I loved a piece by Max Oppenheimer called “The Philharmonic”:

Anyhow, I’ve finally found some painting styles that I really like…

A small group of us went to Baden, a small town near Vienna, on Saturday. Baden means “baths” and it is aptly named. There are loads of natural heated baths in the town. We went to one called Romerthelle and it was great! 4 different pools of different temperatures and most of them had fountains and jets, etc. The large cooler pool also had underwater music and a reflective roof that you could look at and watch yourself swim around if you were on your back. It was like a video game as I maneuvered myself around, staring at the ceiling, trying to bonk into my friends’ heads while they weren’t paying attention. Hahahahaha! I was quite successful.

Oh! Cafes! We went to some great cafes this week! First was Café central, a old school, famous café in Vienna. We had dinner there and some cake. It is very stately, expensive and nice. It’s the kind of place that you can just sit all day and read, talk and listen to the piano player. They have free newspapers from all over the world that you can read and they’ll never kick you out. Perfect for itinerant philosophers!

We also went to Café Hawelka, a very different experience. A dark, extremely smoky place with tiny tables and tons of people. They serve fresh jam filled buns after 10 PM which we sampled. We also had dark hot chocolate which made the whole experience seem all the more gritty and fantastic.

As you can see, it was a brilliant week. Another one coming as I pack it all in before the end!