Friday, October 31, 2008

10.28.2008 Belvedere

Prince Eugene would have 1,300 people working on glorious garden at a time. Back then, it was seen as a great achievement to take something natural and control it. This geometric shape demonstrates man's absolute control over nature.

close up!

This is just a taste of Carl Moll. His work is so vivid and lifelike. "Dusk" is just as--if not more--amazing than this.

"The Kiss." This is everyyyyywhere around Vienna. Gustav Klimt is reknown--and this fame is well-deserved!

bahhhh. Monét. Are you seeing this? This style of painting was not initially embraced because of the vagueness in the brushstrokes; you can see the full picture from far away, but close up it's just a big mess. I stood in front of this for minutes, up close, then far away, up close, far away... Brilliant. Astounding. Talent.

This is the Belvedere; close-up is the lower level, Prince Eugene's actual residence; back yonder is the upper level. Both are used for exhibitions today. The walk down from the upper lever to the lower is beautiful in the gardens. A great day!

Today for art class we made our way to the lovely Belvedere. This was Prince Eugene's summer house (city living was dirty, hot, and full of flies during summertime); under his instruction in the military, the Habsburg Dyansty reached as far south as it ever would. The lower level of the Belvedere is flat and representative of a tent--the way those in the military were accustomed to living. The upper level is more diplomatic, it is impressive with many levels and elaborate interior. This building suitable for social events. Nowadays, both levels are one beauuuuutiful museum.

Our professor--Heinz Kröll, a very intellectual and educated man--had us compare three family paintings. We critiqued and analyzed those paintings, which was very interesting, but my favorite part was being freed to roam about. When my eyeballs fell upon "Pathway in Monét's Garden and Giverny" by Claude Monét, things literally went quiet for a moment. Ha, that painting is STUNNING! I was also stirred by Carl Moll's "Dusk." I could not find a copy to put on here, sorry; it is glorious though. The light and shading is breathtaking! Also, "Pond" by Wilhelm Bernatzik-amazing, no copy available. I've never been way into paintings, and I've seen a lot here, but these ones just warmed my heart and lightened my step. Gustav Kimt is the highlight of the Belvedere, his famous "The Kiss" is plastered all over the city. All of his work is inspiring in its uniqueness. These men are so talented. They provided great, (mostly) wholesome entertainment for interested persons. So, who here has seen this stuff?

Monday, October 27, 2008

10.22-10.25.2008 Prague

on Charles Bridge, a pretty sweet shot if I do say so myself. You can see swick buildings in the background, street vendors, tourists...captures the moment quite accurately.

Again, Charles Bridge. This time the view is the Moldau in stead of the daily vista. Grandma, you would've been so proud--I was one of the only people who knew of Bedřich Smétana. And I'll have you know I literally listened to the Moldau as I meandered across the bridge...

A saucy hat I found at H&M. People would seriously buy this though, whereas tc was kidding.

i just thought these were absolutely lovely. period.

no words really. This is just a booth similar to the ones which guards guard (?) near the front.

One night a group of us sidetracked from Charles Bridge onto a boat dock to chillax. This view is just pretty and it is available to you void of the sheer chill I endured to get it.

This dude was an expelliarmus water crystal glass musician. Many people go to the crowded bridge to play instruments or whatev for a few extra crowns. (Ps, can I say that crowns are not my currency of choice. So confusing!)
Are you seeing this? Look how sweet!

Ah, sunshine in my soul.

This cathedral was enormous and absoultely incredible.

Look at this façade. WOW!

Foggy fog fog fog!

Creepster... I never thought a cemetary like this actually existed. We were told the bodies were stacked in the ground twelve high.

Ha! Illegal photo for you, Will! The minscule design on the wall is actually handwritten names of deceased Jewish souls. It was poignant.

One of the Jewish synagogs we saw.

...and another...

...and another... This one is called the Old New Jewish Synagogue.

Hello hello hello familia!

I have a disgruntling feeling that this post will be poorly written. Ha, the words aren’t super free-flowing today.

Prague was cool! We took a Zug (train) four hours to the Czech Republic; tc was very fortunate no guards searched the train because she forgot her passport. Silly. Ha. We stayed at a hostel called A Plus, for some reason I thought that was the funniest name for a Hostel.. especially in the Czech Republic—A Plus? We had a tour Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the same dude: Vladmir. He was a kooky guy, pretty funny, smoker voice. By combining smoking and speaking Czech you’ll be left with a rough sum to pierce the eardrums. Mosdef not my best thing to hear for hours upon hours three days straight...

Vladmir showed us around the town, told us the history, you name it. The first day was pretty simp and basic. The second day we toured a procession of Jewish Synagogues. They were all interesting, slightly similar though. One stood out in particular though; it had white walls with thousands upon thousands of names written thereon—names of Jewish people who had been killed. Pictures weren’t allowed, but I stole one. It’s not great because I was so nervous to be breaking the rules, but I just had to. For you, Will. Have you been there ever?

My best tour was mosdef the final day. We took the Straβenbahn (streetcar, public transportation) up to the hill to visit the Prague Castle. It was UNBELIEVABLE! The fog was absolutely enshrouding the edifice; only the spires were visible for a time. We toured many parts of divisions of this Catholic Cathedral, and—despite the bitter cold—I had quite an enjoyable time. Even my pictures appear majestic; imagine it amplified times 126 times to envision reality.

When we weren’t touring we were being awesome. I’d say a bit of USA-sickness kicked in; towards the end of the trip a few of us recalled that during the duration of our three days there we had been… a) to TGI Fridays, b) to McDonald’s (for McFlurries only mind you), and c) bowling. Ha. Quite American, but wow, it was all enjoyable.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


ahh. the altar.

i included a night-time photo as well because i find it gorgeous.

Today for our art class, we went to Karls Kirche. I have been outside of it numerous times, but never inside. Prior to entering, our professor gave us a detailed summary of its history--which was very interesting. Then we entered, and my. I mean in no way to sound boastful, but I have seen a few churches, monasteries,... and few have impressed me as Karls Kirche did. It is glorious! The entire interior has the appearance of beautiful marble, and though it's not real marble I still find it breathtaking. There is plated gold all over, including around the amazing altar depicting God's all-seeing eye among the sun rays. The frescoes adorning the walls are stunning, there are no words! In those days, 50 was considered elderly, yet the artist responsible for these frescoes was over 70 years old at the time of his creation within. The work is strenuous, time consuming, and just..beyond description. Only a small square of a fresco can be done at a time; plaster must be applied and then painted on--this ensures the absorption of paint, and thus no peeling with the progression of time. It is lasting, timeless. I'm sure all of you have been inside many times. Lovely. We proceeded to climbed up into the lantern for a closer look at the artwork, and also a spectacular view of the city. I wish my description was a bit more legitimate! Just know it was a great time for me or else I wouldn't give it its own posting. Tschüss!

Monday, October 20, 2008

10.18.2008 this past week

these stupid pictures downloaded out of order. oh well. this is the armory room of Kreuzenstein. There's a whole room of these spheres. Just imagine Nicholas Cage in there grabbing one as he dashes through...

ha, here's the hardcore band man. "Why oh why?" is all I heard him say

Cute cute Jillian and me in the boat at Seegrote.

3 Musketeers! You know it!

the group
gorgeous camille: our creation
Burg Kreuzenstein
the view from Kreuzenstein

We don’t waste any time around here. Our week since Italy has been comparably full and wonderful! Every day is great here in Vienna, I swear. Gol, I love it.

Monday—at FHE we had pumpkin soup (grandparents, you would’ve diiiiiiiiiiiiied over it! I don’t even love pumpkin anything, but I was wanting seconds and fourths), and crepes—all for €1.50. After our lesson, we divided into groups and ours won the contest of making a clothing item with a garbage bag, rope, and toilet paper. Check it out. A few thing: FHE here is ridiculous. There is a wonderful couple, the Gills—from Salt Lake—who have been called to head this outreach center. We have lessons on Monday and Wednesday; they are generous and always inviting us to participate in fun things. Ps, I told you what we ate for dinner because that was out of the ordinary and sehr billig (cheap!), and I loved it. Yeah?

Wednesday—Kreuzenstein. Woo! We took a train to this rad castle for a tour. It is super close and quite enjoyable. I am sad to say they have all started to feel the same—though they are majestic and incredible. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for the opportunity. I’d say the highlight of this place is that Nicholas Cage is coming to film a movie there in a few weeks… totally sweet…mosdef thought of Treebor.

Friday—one of the girls in the group had a friend invite her to play in a little concert. There were four musicians playing folk; it was a friendly competition, and some of us went to support. Emilee was phenomenal, and everyone voted for her. I’m making it sound like it was a huge concert, it was miniature though. 15 people tops, including eight of us supporting Em. But it was rad! There was one boy whose lyrics were juvenile and iffy, and he sang a song about Seoul... “oh Seoul…rolling hills, hookers in the streets… oh Seoul.” Ha. Thought of Colb, though.

Saturday—went to Seegrote (Zay-grow-ta). This is an off the chain underground lake. So sweet! It’s natural mineral water 60 meters underground, and my, it is lovely! You may not care about that, but you will care about this: The Three Musketeers was filmed here. Ha! The one with the actor named…._______... Jack from 24? Anyone, anyone? I remember Kaylynn and I used to watch that movie a lot. Sweet though, huh?

This coming week we’re headed to Prague. I’ll take a wild guess and say it’ll be splendid. Isn’t it always just? Hope all is well in OOtah. Love.

Monday, October 13, 2008


gelato is good.

I’d like to say a few randoms:

  • When I say “we” very rarely do I mean the whole group. We are so large a number that, as we travel, we seldom participate in anything as a whole. I have been a little surprised to have the option of wandering about in small groups. But everyone is very responsible and we have had no major problems!

  • Yesterday we were all crammed on a bus boat on our way to the bell tower on the unknown island. We were in an intense discussion on the sunny starboard, and didn’t realize it was our stop. When we did, we hurried up and everyone got off, but the gate woman held me back and closed it. I’m not going to lie, Venice confuses me like few other places. All day I’d been with people who just took care of the directional stuff, and here I was with no map and no idea about anything, really. Now please don’t be worried, I promise this doesn’t happen often, and I’m okay, but for a moment I was quite unnerved. But I spoke heavenward and couldn’t help but laugh at the hilarity of my poor luck—of course this happened to me! Ha ha ha. Anyways, it of course worked out, and I was very grateful, it was just a funny story.

  • I’ve decided my downfall is shopping for Will and Kurtis. What on earth do men even like? My brain produces nothing but static as I ponder this topic! Kristen, you’re a difficult decision as well; charms may be a dying art…I’ve asked many and looked abroad with no godsend. I’ll continue the pursuit though. Any ideas on manly gifts?


glass blowing babe. he was quite skilled.
view from the bell tower in Venice.
We were taking a tour in the main town square and all I can concentrate on is this ridiculously awesome picture of Jaws.. knowing my family loves James Bond and how the new one is coming out soon.. anyways. Sweet pic yeah?

THought of you will! Calamari anyone?
View of Burano from the boat..

Venice was grand. We arrived early Thursday evening, and were there all of Friday and part of Saturday. As previously mentioned, the weather was glorious. Last summer, I wasn’t terribly fond of Venice, but this time was much better because we were able to become acquainted with the islands. Yes, islands. We got bus (boat) passes which took us all over. Within the duration of our visit we went to Murano, Burano, and another one I forgot. Murano is the classic glass blowing island. I saw another glass blowing demonstration—this one being much sweeter, see pictures—and we traipsed about a bit. Burano was frankly an accident. We were trying to go to Murano…but you know they sound somewhat similar…anyway, we got off at this perfect island with brightly colored houses, few tourists, and great souvenirs. This was doubtless the highlight of my days. The final island we visited—the name I cannot remember—had a bell tower we were able to climb for a splendid panorama. It was all encompassing and possibly better than the one in Florence. We saw and did a lot during the duration of our stay in Italy, and then we had a seven hour train ride back to Wien. May I just say that I adore train rides; both time and the scenery fly past with rushing colors as music sweetly serenades from the iPod headphones…


view from the inside of the dome in Florence.
climbing the stairs to (Mordor) the top of the dome...
SPLENDID VISTA! (i tried to insert a video clip, but it didn't work...sorry sorry)
this glorious church in Sienna that was unfortunately closed. But look at the outside! A trip well worth it just for the facade I'd say!
quite a good picture (I thought) of a street in Sienna. We were there early, as the sun was rising.
Popular town square in Sienna. Lovely.
Different angle. They used to have people stand in the middle of this, and they'd have races around the observers.
Some passing scenery on our way to Florence..... ahhhh Italy!

We were in Florence for a day and a half, and on that second half, a few of us bussed it out to Sienna. Beautiful, no? Has anyone been there? I’m sure. It was gorgeous and quaint and just…Italian. It’s about an hour by bus from Florence, and honestly, the bus ride alone was worth it. Green rolling lovely hills…it’s so Tuscan and lovely. There is this cathedral/church that is absolutely majestic. I’ve seen a lot of famous churches, cathedrals, monasteries…this one was mosdef fantastic, and we didn’t even get to go inside—it was closed. We walked and talked and chillaxed in this sweet town square. Sienna was a great excursion. Once back to Florence, we hiked a famous dome (the stairs were windy and miniature and narrow; this again reminded me of the stairs to Mordor) for an illusory vista. After I picked my jaw off the ground and climbed down, we got some (more) Gelato, walked about, and shopped a bit before training it to Venedig (Venice).