Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Street Musicians

The Symphony at Musikverein

After shopping in the morning we headed to Vienna on the train around 3pm. The children's concert started at 7pm. Our plan was to ride the train into Vienna, look around the city for a while, have a cup of coffee and then head to the symphony. We were able to accomplish all of our goals but it was hectic. The children enjoyed the street musicians, the cafe and they LOVED the symphony. The kids were very tired on the train ride home and were eager to go to bed.

The kids loved this cafe. It is in the center of Vienna and has wonderful desserts. The music in the background is a gentleman on the piano. After finishing our snack we headed to the symphony. We past some street musicians on the way. The video gives you a feel for the city.

The Vienna Symphony was amazing. I'm attaching a video of the symphony playing Edward Grieg and Peer Gynt. Suite Nr.1, op.46. I took the video before I saw the no cameras sign. I was very discreet. ; )


We had the best time shopping this morning. Jutta took me into this fabulous toy store. Oh my! I wanted to buy everything. They had the most fantastic dolls. I was very close to buying one for me. It was very expensive 99 euros. I think that is about $167. She was really cute but I thought my red hiking boots would be a better investment. (She is worth every penny but I had to make a choice.) I did take a picture of her and will attach it.

We visited toy stores, book stores, shoe stores, yarn shops and dress shops. Amazing! Each time I was in a new store I did not want to leave and I don't even like shopping. We bought a few things at the toy store. Mary got a necklace and I got a puzzle. I told Mary I would share but that it was MINE. We didn't have any luck at the book store. I told Mary I would buy her a german children's book. We've been looking for one that we already have so that we can learn the words and know the story. We have seen The very hungry caterpillar everywhere but she does not want that one. She wants Where the Wild Things Are. We only saw that at one book store and they were closed for lunch when we got back. Hopefully, we will have better luck later in the week. I bought yarn! I had to buy yarn. I also bought a book for dolly sweaters. I figured that since I couldn't buy a new dolly - I would make my old dollies some new clothes.

I bought my boots. I did! I was unable to buy them in red! I was very sad at first but Mary found me the perfect hiking boots. They are purple. Yes - I bought purple hiking boots. They are the perfect color - more like plum than purple. I'm ecstatic. Mary loves them. I can't wait to get home and hike in the Allegheny mountains.

Plastic Bags, Crayfish and Styrofoam

We spent the morning shopping and taking pictures of interesting architectural details of homes in Moedling. Once again, the weather was beautiful. The kids enjoy the walk into town. The footpath follows along side a natural creek. As we walked, Jutta told us about the plight of the Austrian Crayfish. Apparently some time after world war II, the American Crayfish was introduced into the Austrian waterways. Jutta did not know the reason why our crayfish was introduced but nonetheless it was. The American Crayfish had a cancerous disease and infected all of the native Austrian crayfish. The Austrian Crayfish is endangered now. The American Crayfish survived the epidemic and now thrives in the Austrian creeks. It is an invasive species here in Austria. I thought that was funny.

My next interesting point of the day - shopping bags! Plastic bags like the bags from the supermarket or wal-mart are illegal. Yes - that is right - they are illegal. The bags from the market are paper. But what is really amazing is that if you don't bring your own bags or a traditional basket - they charge you 1 euro. Wow - that equals about $1.60 a bag at home. If you went to wal-mart and needed 10 bags and forgot yours that would cost you $16. I guess you would start to remember to take your reusable shopping bags out of the car.

3rd point - styrofoam is illegal in Austria. I have not seen a disposable cup, fork or plate since arriving on Sunday. In Austria, they wash dishes - what a concept! (No comments from home about washing dishes! I've been busy!)