Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday night and Ania is staring at me with quizzical eyes

I got uncharachteristically frightened today as we took an elevator up through the mezzanine of Karlskirche - one of Vienna's finest Baroque cathedrals. They are currently restoring all the frescoes on the inside of the dome, and there is scaffolding lining it and the choir. They're letting people go all the way up, which is pretty neat, execpt... it was not super sturdy feeling, and there was a 10 person limit posted, and there were probably 25 people on the thing. I had a tiny moment of terror as my lizard brain decided that this was patently unsafe and we were all about to topple about 20 meters to the floor of the cathedral. Of course nothing happened, but I don't usually have such fear of heights. It was pretty funny in hindsight, but there was this moment of abject terror as I saw my life ending in a pile of twisted metal and 400 year old plaster. Alas, the perils of travel. At the very least, maybe our fall could have been broken by the "United Buddy Bears" exhibit that was outside the cathedral on Karlsplatz. They lined the reflecting pool, and represented most of the countries in the world. Some like the Irish one were obvious, and others, like the one from Poland, were not so obvious, but equally interesting. I don't know for certain. but we got the impression that the bears were a traveling exhibit - so you never know - you might find them somewhere close to you in a few years.

Eating in Vienna is always an exciting experience. I had my first schitzel today - at the Siebenstern brewpub, which incidentally brews what Kent and I have surmised to be the finest dark beer anywhere. It was a fine meal - we ate in the biergarten - the garlic cream soup was divine - and the beer was teriffic. Company wasn't bad either ;-)

Ania is impressed with the scale of the architecture in Vienna. Being the heart of the Hapsburg empire for so long, the buildings have a grandness that you don't find many other places. Things here happened on a grand scale, and it is impressive. When you walk through the Hofberg palace complex (where we had a nice picnic lunch), the scale of the thing is a little tough to grasp, especially the first time through.

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