Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vienna Bucket List

It just hit me--its now March, meaning there are only 4 months of the Fulbright Fellowship left and half my time in Vienna is officially over!! Where did all the time go?!
Since time is flying, I have decided I need to start DOING more things here in Vienna. Yes, of course my utmost priority is to work on the dissertation, but its torture to be here in this amazing city and feel confined and restricted to the library. So, I have been making more of an effort to get out and here's a quick recap of my last week. Despite all the stress--I ended up having a lot of fun and was able to find a counterbalance to all the work with my dissertation and job search.

On Sunday night, I joined Molly, Georg and Ann to attend the Oscar Event at the Gartenbaukino. For the past several years, the movie theater--which is known for showing lots of 'art house' films--has been broadcasting the Oscars live from L.A. Given the time difference, this means that the red carpet coverage doesn't even begin until sometime after midnight and the whole event goes until ca. 6:00 am. Being the film lover that I am, I jumped at the chance, and was able to
enjoy some of the perks that went along with the night. For example, if you chose to dress up in 'evening attire' you get a glass of free champagne (an offer we couldn't pass up--see left). And if you attended the film directly before the broadcast began (which, in our case, was "My Week With Marilyn"), then you are guaranteed a seat for the Oscar show. It was incredible to see how many people came out for the event! The theater was jam-packed with mostly twenty-somethings ready to stay up all night to see who would take home the shiny, gold statues. At around 3 am, they began passing out breakfast snacks--complete with a ham and cheese sandwich, apple and croissant! Free coffee was available for those who wanted it... but I opted out, knowing that I would eventually be going home and getting some shut-eye. At around 3:30 am I threw in the towel and took a cab home, but my friends Molly and Georg stayed until the very end! Props to them!!
On Wednesday--Leap day!--Ann and I decided to go to the "Wiener Eistraum" before it ended this weekend. The "Eistraum" (literally translated, Ice-Dream) is a winter wonderland set up in front of the Vienna town hall. There are two rather large ice-rinks and then a bunch of winding and twisted paths through the park located in front of the town hall.
When you skate on the paths, it feels like you are skating through the woods--so cool. The entire thing is lit up at night and there were tons of people still skating when we showed up at 9:30 to catch the "last minute deal" which only cost us 5 Euros, rentals included. The warmer temperatures during the day had caused the ice to melt some... but it was still really neat to skate a few rounds before they shut down for the night.

Finally, on Thursday, Katie, Ben, Jeff and I went to the opera to see "Carmen." We stood in line for a few hours to get standing section tickets, and managed to get in one of the front rows. The set design was incredible, as was the performance. But unfortunately, the State Opera does not adhere to "maximum capacity" laws--and jam-packed our standing section so full that people were blocking the entire staircase. It was so full, hot and stuffy that, during the third act (and after about 2.5 hours of standing), my friend Katie actually passed out! It caused for a bit of panic and shock for all of us involved, but luckily she was fine!!! We managed to get her through the masses of people crowding our section and took her to the foyer. There was a doctor 'on call' at the opera, who came rushing along with his little black suitcase, which he proceeded to open, pull out some mysterious drops, and add them to a glass of water that he promptly gave to Katie, instructing her to drink up. All the while, the "Toreador" song was playing in the background! It was very bizarre, especially now, looking back--but as I said, the main thing is that she is ok!! :)

I've also finally made it to the "Theater in der Josefstadt", where I saw a modern take on Schnitzler's Traumnovelle (if anyone has seen "Eyes Wide Shut"--the film is based off this piece). During one of the scenes of the performance, however, one character (a prostitute nonetheless) begins undressing... at that very moment, I got this terrible cough attack, which I was trying my hardest to suppress (I didn't want to be subjected to tsk-ing and annoyed glares of the people I was sharing the box seats with)... but the harder I tried NOT to cough, the worse the tickle got... and all the while, the woman continues to undress on stage. Yep, folks, she got butt-@$$ naked. That's theater in Europe for you. I like to think I am rather well-seasoned and pretty liberal when it comes to things like that... but I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to see a fully naked woman standing on stage. It didn't seem to phase anyone else and when I later told some friends about that, one answered, "Yes, that's the Theater in der Josefstadt for you..." They are playing "Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald" this month, which I would like to go see--and perhaps this time I will be a bit better prepared! :)

So, that's the week in a recap--I have been toying with the idea of making a "Vienna Bucket List" to make sure I do everything I want to do. Luckily I will have lots of visitors this spring, so hopefully we can do some of these things together. :)

Here's a start:
1) Visit Schönbrunn (!? crazy, I know, I just haven't made it out there yet...I had been there about 10 years ago, but its definitely time to return)
2) Schloß Belvedere
3) The Klimt exhibit at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
4) Have brunch at the Naschmarkt
5) Eat/Drink at a Heurigen
6) Go to the Volkstheater and the Volksoper
7) See the Lipizzaner horses perform at the Spanische Hofreitschule
8) Access Ingeborg Bachmann's manuscripts at the Nationalbibliothek
9) Take a walk around the Donauinsel
10) Go to the Prater when the rides are actually open...

Any further suggestions?


  1. We can help you with some of these.... ;) Want to go to Donauinsel and feed the swans when it gets a bit warmer?

    Great blog!

  2. There are a bunch of Heurigen's out here in the Leising area, and I believe we are planning on going next Sunday when my cousin is here (I know your friend will be visiting as well, but maybe we could all go check one out together). Also The Easter Market opens at Schoenbrunn March 24th, so we should try to go then ;)