Saturday, August 19, 2017

2 days in Vienna

This week I went to Vienna, Austria, with my friend Jevgenia. Here are some photos of our trip.
We met with Jevgenia´s friend who is an opera singer, who drove us up on the hill to look over the city of Vienna. We drank hot chocolate and tried to get rid of wasps flying around our drinks. 

The view from the cafe - Danube river or Doonau in Estonian.

Here is the view. Lots of heurigers on the hill sides - wine restaurants/ taverns where locals love to spend their time. 

Then after our breakfast drinks we went to the famous Schönbrunn castle, the summer residence of the Austrian royals. We had to wait an hour or so in line (but you can get the tickets online if you are a smart traveler). Because our entrance time was later and we had to wait 3 hours (every person gets a personal entrance time so that the palace would not get too crowded) we just headed to the gardens and spent all of the time there... it is just huge. They even have a zoo in there. We ran out of time to visit the zoo. And it cost extra. 

This is the side of the castle, even though it looks like the front of some castles. No, just the side.

This is the back of the castle.

The back of the castle with all the flower and grass areas.

 Here is a photo that shows the the gardens of the castle - all the way up on the hill. (photo:

Two little girls were dancing around and it was adorable. This is the view of the castle and the city from up the hill.

The orangery: 

Also I went in and payed extra to see the royal carriages. Here is one of their rides:

My favorite was this kid carriage. Yep. Awesome.

They had some royal outfits on display and here is a dress that queen Elisabeth (Sissy) wore. Her waist was very tiny. She was obsessed with her looks, worked out a ton every day. A very interesting woman. She supposedly dieted all the time. But it is a little eerie to look at that dress from every angle and think it was actually a person.

Here is Sissy, Elisabeth of Bavaria, the woman with the famous tiny waist:

The main hall of the palace (frenchbuzzblog).

This is Hofburg, the regular in-city palace of the royals:

There was an exhibition of the royal silver etc. It was huge. So much of it. Here is one room:

One room for candlesticks and plates for sweets:

The royals liked Japanese stuff, like the plates. These photos are for Jill.

Hofburg palace seen from the shopping street. That street has all the expensive brand clothing stores.

On Monday evening we also did some walking after dinner.
Evening in Vienna:

The national library in the evening:

A famous church in the old town. They park tons of horse carriages there and therefore it is very stinky. But you can get a ride.

Our second day started with an excursion to Vienna woods. It cost about 55 euros or so.
First we went to Meyerling monastery. This where Sissy´s son killed himself and his 17-year-old girlfriend (although he was married). He had been looking someone to do that together for some time and finally find a girl who was willing. He was the only son, an heir, and that probably had an effect too, what ever was expected of him. So they built a monastery on the same spot where it happened. And tried to cover everything up.

Our next stop was another monastery from medieval times (parts of it). It is 880 years old and has been an active monastery all that time. These are choir seats here. The monks sing in Latin from huge song books.

A prayer room. What better to make you feel close to God than kneeling on cold, hard floors.

Here is an actual monk who lives there: 

Our third stop was Seegrotte or a sea cave. It used to be a mine, then it filled up with water. Water does not get out, it has to be pumped out to maintain a normal level. During II WW the Nazis used it as a plane making factory. They used war prisoners and concentration camp prisoners to build them. A Disney 1993 movie 3 Musketeers was filmed there. That boat is part of the film set.  

 I had been to Vienna before and also Linz and Salzburg but that was years ago when I was a teenager. I had a trip with my choir all around Austria. This time it was quick but sweet. I love Austria.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Odense Denmark

This week I went to the 2017 Nordic Organization of Political Science's Congress (NOPSA).  It was in Odense Denmark, my first time!  I had been through the Copenhagen airport but never been outside.  Denmark was a really nice place and the conference was great. 

 Odense was a really nice city, anyone who is thinking of going I highly recommend.  I would just wait 2 years and then go.  There is a massive construction site right in the city center. 

 The old town area was super nice with cute colorful little buildings

Odense is home to Hans Christian Andersen.  This is the home where he was born.  In the bank it extends into a large museum.  The city is obsessed with HC Andersen!  There was a HC Andersen hotel, church, park, and the list kept going.  He did write some pretty amazing stuff! 

 This was the town hall, the conference had an opening reception here.

 This was outside the old town and demonstrated what a lot of buildings looked like.  Lot's of brick, mostly red.  I loved it.  Estonia doesn't have much brick.

 Good to see that the old VW Beattle is still going strong.

 The conference was at Southern Denmark University. 

 I was in the work shop on foreign policy.  I presented a paper I am co-writing with a scholar from Denmark. I really liked the format of this conference, we were with the same people every day for 3 days.  Most conferences have thousands of people and it is harder to really get to know new people.  Lots of really good research going on!

 The university had these very long hallways, lots of cement.  They had this path in the middle and the IT people and other staff would use scooters to get places faster. 

 They fed us well and they had this interesting blob of rolls, just break off the one you want and call it good.

 The Copenhagen airport had a nice Lego store!  I didn't get anything but it was tempting.  Denmark is home to Legoland could be a fun place to try out at some point in the future.