Day 18 – Vienna

Today, we got up and enjoyed an English-style breakfast at our hotel. It was nothing rave-worthy, but it sufficed to get us going. We then took the bus – which, disappointingly and despite the tour guide announcement the day before that “Austrian time” is not “Hawaii time” and that the bus won’t wait for stragglers – departed late as it was waiting for late comers. Ay-ya!

Hotel breakfast! 

We finally took off on a blitzkrieg of sightseeing tour, with commands being delivered every two seconds “look left hand side”, “look right hand side”, “look straight ahead,” and facts pouring in at an impossible rate. It was a wonder that our heads were still attached to our necks by the time we parked at the Staatsoper (the Vienna Opera)!

More stretched than our necks were the tour-goers' bladders. Featured here is the 3rd Urinary Battalion, charging a Viennese restroom. 

Bowe deserts the battalion. 

Once on the ground, we explored the Innerstadt (the inner city center). We had some free time to go off on our own and so we decided to go up to St. Stephen’s cathedral. For a modest admission price, we climbed one of the cathedral steeples, from where we could take in panoramic views of the city. After putzing around a little more, Karol, Keane, Michał, and Naomi met up for coffee and toast at a local cafe, where we sampled espressos, lattes, sausages, and beet lemonade!  

Putting our best everything forward on this trip! 

We then headed back to meet up with the bus, and Michał miscalculated how far the restrooms were from the pick up point! Thankfully, Naomi gladly – and with the ease of a gazelle – jogged the entire way back from the restroom, only to find out the bus, again, was bound to wait a long while for other latecomers!

Naomi could not help but smile during her jog back to the bus. 

In the meantime, these guys could not get enough of the wieners! 

From the Staatsoper, we debarked to our rehearsal with orchestra at the Bergkirche – where Haydn was buried – in the town of Eisenstadt, about an hour away from Vienna.

Sunflower fields on our way to Eisenstadt.

The church had wonderful acoustics – surprisingly so for a relatively small space (it did, however, have a very tall dome). The local orchestra sounded fantastic but clearly was very humble –  the quality and attitude of the players made it very clear that the performance standards are much different to what we are used to in Hawaii and the US in general and that music is an art taken very seriously in Austria – we could only imagine what the professional ensembles in Vienna would sound like and how competitive they must be.

It was a bit crowded in the church's choir loft! 

Carlyn's score looked a little different from the others. 

Back to hotel, we went to the Admiral, a local sports bar with some sort of betting machines and games of chance, where we watched another World Cup game – this time between France and Argentina.

Inspired by the match, Karol, Michał, Naomi, Keane, and Bowe decided to watch Portugal face off Uruguay at 8:00 pm, while Sarah, Pat, Carlyn, and Lena went to see Falstaff at the opera.

At the opera. 

Bowe, wearing a Portugal shirt, lead us to the lively Brickmakers Pub & Kitchen. Unfortunately, despite a showing of Ronaldo’s thighs that would soon become an internet sensation, the Portuguese team lost and Bowe joined the growing group of those of us who had to hang up their shirts.

This image sums up the game. 

After the game, we headed home and called it a day!