Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oregon Arts Orchestra - Salzburg/Vienna July 11

After an early breakfast in the hotel, we rode the bus with our amazing bus-driver Martin to the town of Mondsee which has a beautiful church. That was where the wedding scene from "Sound of Music" was filmed although the actual wedding took place in Salzburg at the convent where Maria had wanted to become a nun. It's the only wedding ever to have been performed there. But Mondsee was more film-worthy and the convent wouldn't let Hollywood in.

Yes, there are 5 dead people in boxes at the front of the church. Our conductor suggested that that was where they put percussionists who messed up during concerts.

Kip and I stopped into a Spar (supermarket) to buy chocolate. We were a little late getting on the bus and got reprimanded. But not as much as a few other orchestra members who had decided to buy the traditional Austrian dress - dirndl (as shown in the picture of our guide at St Florian's above--all the guides wore them). They were about 3 minutes behind me and Kip and our illustrious leaders were a little upset. I kind of wished I'd gotten dresses for the girls, but they were expensive and the kids grow so very fast!

We drove some more and most of us fell asleep - we normally did during bus rides in spite of the tour guides talking or the beautiful countryside trying to keep us awake.

Our next stop was St Florian Monastery. It was a very large place with a lot of beautiful things. It has a central square with ornately decorated balconies surrounding it. They have frescoes painting on their ceilings. In the harsh northern winters they have to be completely sealed off from the weather. They were designed by an Italian who didn't think about snow and freezing temperatures.

Anton Bruckner is buried there under the cathedral so he can listen to the organ for eternity. Unfortunately, all we heard of the world-famous organ that day was the tuning and it wasn't entirely pleasant.

Some of the angels on the walls were a little creepy-looking--perhaps because I've watched too much Dr Who.

St Florian's has an excellent library with lots of impressive old books. To preserve them you can't use flash on your cameras. We learned that that's pretty much the norm in museums, at least on this tour.

From there we headed farther north to Vienna. Our hotel there was called the Hotel Pyramid Austria Trend. It had a multi-story glass pyramid beside the main hotel, offering a meeting area and dining area where we would have our breakfasts. We checked in and rushed up to our rooms with just enough time to change into something a little nicer before heading to dinner with Jutta. She is an excellent vocalist and philanthropist in Vienna and had invited us to her apartment in the heart of the political district for a dinner she prepared herself.

We were warned that she had 4 cats. I took a Benedryl before we left and ended up pretty wiped out, but I didn't have an allergy attack. Our percussion-friend Guy was quite happy with the cats. Jutta (YOU-ta) made a lovely meal for us, including some great GF options. ;)

The view from her apartment was amazing!

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