Saturday, 23 March 2013

Close Your Eyes & Listen – This is Vienna

Austria is a country of music.

The hunt of the cemetery wonder begin the 2nd day in Vienna and the hostel had to print me an extended map of the city to show Zentralfriedhof location way south of the city about 10 miles by estimation from the city center. The reception staff was baffled when I asked about it and could only tell me it was a huge cemetery with nice gardens for walks and possibly of unique gravestone carvings of the 18th century style.

I decided on walking there instead of navigating the public transport. Busses tend to take a wrong turn with me and when you hope it would turn back to the right way it will go further away from your destination. Walking was also a good way to see the outskirts of the city and discovering the local’s lives beyond the tourist spots.

The walk was indeed boring with the usual livelihood you see all around the world. People went about their own businesses and barely glance at me although I was out of place. Office blocks and shop houses made up a big part of the walk to the outskirts and none too interesting.

It was routine here.

I did come across a weird poster along the way ….
Still looking translation for it ….


Center of The Cemetery
Vienna central cemetery is huge. Walking around, it was pleasant surprisingly with all the unique tombstones, wide roads, flower gardens, benches and families and elderly treating it like a park more than a cemetery. It was a unique experience for if this was back home people would avoid them at all cost.

Strolling around depending on how good your history lessons are you may find more than a few famous people buried there. I was on the lookout myself but as the sun slowly sets I had still not found anyone I recognize. To my horror I was lost in the huge cemetery and started looking for a way out.

On my way out I stumble upon the most beautiful tombstone arrangement I had ever seen. This was on a different level than the Kings and Queens burial ground. What I saw was famous musician gravestones in a semicircular fashion all beautifully ornate with carvings to each individual accomplishment.

Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, Franz, all famous classical musicians which even if you have not heard of before would probably have heard their work. In the center of the semi circle laid Mozart tombstone as a tribute since history says his body was buried in a mass grave. The place was also filled with flowers and candles being replace by the steady pilgrimage of fans which sets them apart from the other graves.

Around the semi circle are well known composer if not as famous. It gave an aura of immense awe and respect to these composers which shape a large part of music history.

If you ever get a chance …. skip beautiful Vienna for a day and pay tribute to the cemetery.

Johann Strauss

Concerto Vienna

If there was one thing I regret not doing in Vienna it was to attend a concerto. Music thrives in Austria and even more in Vienna. Top notch philharmonics is a given in this city and all year round there would be some sort of concerts running. Despite some people telling me it’s reasonably cheaper to see a world class concerto in Vienna compared to say South East Asia I could not afford that luxury.

Outdoor Live Feed
Consolation prize to my delight was a classical musical concerto that was playing in Wiener Musikverein and by luck i passed by when the play started inside the building. Outside in the bloody cold they set up a huge screen TV showing the live concerto and laid chairs for people to enjoy.

I grab a Kebab across the road and stood enjoying the atmosphere in the bloody cold for two hours before giving up and leaving. I later found out it was a 5 hours concerto. The heavy clothing and comfy self brought chairs and blankets I saw people outside the building now made sense.

They knew ...... and enjoyed the musical in the cold. 

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