After spending the majority of my semester out and about throughout Europe (I’ve traveled nearly every weekend since arriving in Vienna in August) I’ve decided that I’m spending the remainder of my 6 weeks abroad within Vienna. The amount of traveling I’ve done to other European cities has only solidified how incredible of a city Vienna is. Every time I return to Vienna from a weekend away, I fall in love with this city all over again. Its incredible art and architecture, its impeccable public transportation system, its cleanliness, its nightlife, and most importantly Vienna’s musical culture really define this city, in my mind, as the perfect city. Vienna is perfection.
With this extra downtime, in the last week I’ve basically been living at the Staatsoper (Vienna’s most famous opera house) and the Musikverein. I am currently in the process of completing Richard Wagner’s famous Ring Cycle- a 4 opera series that takes place over the course of 14 days, and in many ways, has parallels to the story of Lord of the Rings. I’ll save the rest of my ranting about the Ring Cycle for another blog entry, when I’ve successfully completed the last of the four operas. So far this semester I’ve seen 7 operas, and I’m far from being done. One of the things I’ve loved most about being in Vienna is the exceptionally cheap, yet world-class concerts. Operas cost 4 euro for standing room. AMAZING.
I also had the amazing opportunity to sit in on two rehearsal of the Vienna Phil. this week. Tickets for actual Vienna Philharmonic concerts are rather difficult to obtain- season ticket holders are allowed to keep their season ticket subscriptions for…essentially eternity. Not only do subscribers get to hold onto their subscriptions for life, but they’re allowed to pass these onto their kids when they die. This makes it pretty impossible to obtain seated tickets for the Vienna Phil, and standing room is not super easy to get a hold of either. The two rehearsals that I watched the Vienna Phil this week was the first time I was able to see them play in Vienna, which was really exciting!
This week we also experienced a great case of the Fohn winds, leading to some sunny, phenomenal weather. These winds come up from the Mediterranean every so often and raise temperatures by about 20 degrees. It allowed me to do some more exploring that I wouldn’t have been willing to do had it been colder. I finally visited Vienna’s famous and gorgeous Stadtpark, and a group of my friends and I went to a Heuriger, one of the many traditional Viennese wine-taverns that serve some of the best wine in Austria.
Also of note, the Viennese Christmas markets begin this Saturday. They’re the mot famous ones in Europe and from what I hear they’re pretty epic. I’m super pumped. Also, my parents are coming to visit this Saturday for a whole week! It’s pretty much perfect timing! 🙂