Our second stop on our journey to Vienna was the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Needless to say, it was a rather sobering experience. We had a phenomenal tour guide though who tried to help us view the situation of the time period and the emotions of all parties involved. It was interesting to think from the perspective of the townspeople, the guards, and the prisoners. There were times during the tour when I was physically ill and it hurt me to know such horrific things could happen in such a beautiful place. It is definitely an experience I will not forget.
For our first day in Vienna we started out at the palace. We walked around the beautiful gardens and had a lot of fun taking pictures and enjoying the sunshine. After some time there we headed to downtown Vienna.
We ended up touring the Vienna Opera House and then deciding to attend the opera that was being performed that night. We quickly purchased tickets, ran back to the hotel and changed into our best attire, ate bratwurst from a street vendor, and went to the opera. It seriously was such a cool experience that I was at an opera in Vienna. I could not get rid of the butterflies! In fact, I didn’t want to get rid of them because it was a revival from the European apathy I had been feeling the last few days. I had just been overwhelmed with seeing so many spectacular things that I had forgotten the feeling I had started the trip with – pure giddiness about being here. Anyway, the opera was wonderful!
We only stayed through the first intermission because we had plans to go to the concert at the palace. It was Ascension Day, a national holiday in Europe, so the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was playing a concert on the hill behind the palace. It was literally the coolest thing! We sat on the hill behind the Orchestra where we had the most beautiful view of the city, the palace, and the tens of thousands of people who were in attendance. I absolutely loved it! They finished the night off with fireworks and I thought I was in heaven.
Day two in Vienna started out with two business visits. The first visit was to Joseph Brodmann piano. It was incredible to see such beautiful pianos and listen to such precise speakers. I also loved learning about dealing with extremely wealthy customers. Our second visit was to the United Nations. It was interesting to learn more about the processes they use to accomplish their goals. The rest of our day was spent walking around Vienna, eating kebabs at an open air market, visiting the St. Stephan’s Cathedral, and having two gelatos.
I absolutely loved Vienna! It surprised me how much I actually liked it, but I would definitely come back. I’ll have to time it though so I come back on Ascension Day. That was too cool and I’d love to experience it again!