Weekend 1, part 1

I came across this restoration project:

I was wondering what the buildings were made out of, and this revealed a brick construction coated in a thick layer of plaster/concrete which can be shaped into what you see on the right.

Concert room where we had our orienataion

The next day, the majority of the program participants arrived in Vienna. Unfortunately for these jet-lagged travelers had a 3 hour orientation scheduled just for them. The orientors tried to combat the sluggishness with espresso, but alas the sleepiness was too overwhelming. Heads drooped as powerpoint slides scrolled. The powerful pull of sleep conquered all.

Afterwards, we were shipped out in taxis to our apartments. I am living with two other dudes I did not know before the program in the 9th district, which is just to the north of downtown.

The tower on the horizon is St. Stephens

The next morning, after another round of orientation, we went on a short walking tour of downtown, led by a seasoned IES alumnus. She led us around the southern part of downtown, Karlsplatz, around the National Opera House. The Opera is a peculiar looking building. The Kaiser at the time of its completion criticized it for looking like a train station. The architects were devastated to the point that one of them fled the country, and the other threw himself off the roof of the Opera, his masterpiece.

Next we found the once private garden of the Hapsburg family. The English style garden is an oasis of natural growth and variability surrounded on all sides by the imposing facades of the Hapsburg Palace.

A monument to Mozart

Now we boarded a bus that took us to the Belvedere Palace. We strolled around the summer palace, which is a whopping 2000 ft to the south of the Belvedere Winter Palace.

Next we stopped by an apartment complex designed and built by Austrian artist-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He was a passionate believer that humans needed to be connected to nature, and that the straight line and orthogonal angle were oppressive designs.

We reboarded the bus which headed for the hills. The tallest hill within the city limits has a stunning view of the entire city.

Finally everybody in the program met at a biergarten/vineyard for the welcoming dinner. (Very good) Wienerschnitzel and other fried things were served. Afterwards, the professors told us to “find our own way back home” which may have been a test to get us to become acquainted with using multiple forms of public transportation in one trip.

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