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Archive for the ‘Touring’ Category

The beauty of the international academic lifestyle is not in the distance from friends and family. It is not in the intellectual stimulation and the chance to hobnob with the best and the brightest in one’s field (although this is surely not a downside). The beauty is in the chance to travel. Last year brought me Detroit, Marrakech, Houston and Atlanta (one of these is not like the other…). More recently? A European Association for Population Studies meeting in Vienna, Austria. As a demographer, I couldn’t help but notice that the average age of the out-and-about population was 65… but wow, what a beautiful city! Perhaps the most fascinating thing about it was that this place used to be the center of an empire! And now, they are left with so many magnificent buildings… and so few national and municipal offices to place in them. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find that the Ministry of Silly Hats had some fabulous office behind one of the high-ceilinged, elegant façades!

At any rate… the meeting was fantastic, and professionally enriching and promising. The company proved to be the perfect combination of engaging and “rocking out.” And I was able to stick around for some nice touring after the meetings.

I offer you a (semi-) grand tour of the place and my people:

Stephansdom, the religious center of the city.
Stephansdom

Hundertwassehaus, a mid-century example of imaginatively artistic public housing. Take note, Scandinavia!
Hundertwassehaus

“Pizza, Pasta, Schnitzel”– Only in Vienna!
"Pizza, Pasta, Schnitzel"-- Only in Vienna

I could never have believed that good food and drink could have been so inexpensive in Europe! From the 3€ half liters of wheat beer to the 6€ schnitzel to the 1.80€ wines… a frugal-man/woman’s paradise!
The happiest man in Wien

While impressive, in some cases the scenery paled in comparison to the glow of young love (Arieke and Maarten, engaged to be married in 2011!).
Hofburg, A&M

And of course my feminist cockles were warmed by the frequent reminders of the one, the only: Maria Theresa! The only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg.
Maria Theresa

But lest you (post-) modernists despair, Vienna does well to cater to the modern art aficionado as well. We saw a fantastic exhibit by the controversial Otto Muehl. What a risk to exhibit his work! I would have loved to be there at the opening to hear the apology letter read.
Museum Moderner Kunst & Kunsthalle

And in the spirit of radical artists, we also strolled by the Vienna Secession Building. Wiener Secession

On a sidenote, kick me for not taking photos of the Soviet monument (the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee) on the Schwarzenbergplatz. Idiot idiot idiot. Well thank the internet for being such a good archive of photos. It certainly got my history nerve to itching.

Well, getting back to the grandeur of the empire

…and back to the typically touristic photo genre. Upper Belvedere, W & J

And no trip to Vienna would be complete without a visit to the Opera House.
Wiener Staatsoper

But I must admit… I missed it! I know, scandal!
Staatsoper Tour

Unfortunately, my flight home clashed with the State Opera House tour.
Staatsoper Tour, Backstage

So I ran off to the airport, while my friends toured the famous building. Back- and fore-stage! Staatsoper Tour

Staatsoper Tour
But I have sworn, hand-to-god, that I will make it back! Not just for a tour, but for an opera! A real life opera! And there are certainly some winners in the upcoming season… Indeed there are some chances yet.

Cheers, from Vienna!

(Ps- Please enjoy a few more photos on Flickr.)

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