Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vienna Recap

As promised, tonight shall be blog heavy.  First, I must recap Vienna.  Then, I move on to my favorite place I’ve gone on this trip thus far: Venice!  Before I get started, I just wanted to put out a gentle suggestion that a picture or two of my Max wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Let me start by saying that Vienna has probably been my least favorite trip thus far, and I totally admit that this is probably mostly my fault.  First, it was raining and cold, and I was miserable in shorts and flip flops.  Second, all my clocks are still on USA time, so when I sprinted across town to the bus stop at what I thought was barely in time turned out to be two hours early.  So I had like an hour and a half wasted and I was too cold and miserable to leave again only to come back to the stop, so I just kinda sat there by myself, sipping an over-priced beer.

I had such high hopes at the start of the trip.  We stopped here at the summer Hapsburg palace (built as a response to my favorite palace – Versailles) for coffee and restroom break.  I decided that when we were done with lectures, I just wanted to spend the rest of the day here.  (We didn’t get to go inside or explore when we stopped, so I wanted to come back and tour.)

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However, by the time the lectures were done, I asked the professors how to get back to the summer palace via subways/bus, but they said I wouldn’t have time to go and get back before the bus left.  So I didn’t get to go inside.

The coolest part of Vienna is that it was my favorite venue and content/presentation of the lectures we’ve had thus far.  We started here, at the Austrian Supreme Court, like THE Supreme Court.  I haven’t even ever gotten to go inside the US Supreme Court, but we got a private tour with a really cool Austrian Supreme Court Justice (his focus is on civil cases and mediation, thus the connection to ADR.)   He was such a cool guy and I really enjoyed his lecture, not to mention the BEAUTIFUL courthouse.  He comes here to Linz on Wednesday (I think) to lecture again – really excited about it!

The main hall of the Supreme Court:

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The rooftop balcony with Justice Neumayr!

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Group shot with the Justice:

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The front of the Supreme Court:

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After that lecture, we went to VIAC (The Vienna International Arbitration Center) for another lecture, which content-wise was also really interesting.  Far more interesting was this AMAZING spread of food and deserts for us (yes that’s cavier!) along with the color full of beer (and water I think – but no one noticed the water.)

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The rest of the day (two hours or so) was supposed to be free time.  I already explained my horrible time-telling, poor-choice-of-attire story, so I won’t repeat myself.  I’ll just give you some of my favorite pictures:

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Some pretty flowers in one of the gardens of something.

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These horses are like Forrest and Bubba, “I'm gonna lean up against you, you just lean right back against me. This way, we don't have to sleep with our heads in the mud. You know why we a good partnership, Forrest? 'Cause we be watchin' out for one another. Like brothers and stuff.”

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Don’t know what this is but I liked my picture.

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Professor Lanier showing us something.

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How did these get here?  They are everywhere every time I turn around!  I swear I only go inside because it’s raining.  It just rains a lot here.  Actually, the only thing I bought in Vienna was a book.  I’ve been looking for it ever since I got here, so when I saw a bunch of book stores on the main shopping strip in the city, I thought I might have some luck.  I went in 5 different stores in Vienna before I found it (thus making me think I was about to miss the bus home) but success.  The book is called “The Piano Teacher” and it’s by the author of “Women as Lovers,” one of the books on my “favorite books” shelf.  Elfriede Jelinek is the author and she’s an Austrian who grew up in Vienna, so how cool is it that I found the book in English in her own home town??  She has SEVERE agoraphobia and like never leaves her house.  She accepted the nobel prize for literature via a video message and she’s too scared to even get on a plane.  I LOVED “Women as Lovers” so I’m excited to read another book from her!

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One of the biggest disappoints in Vienna for me was St. Stephen’s Dome (church).  It was the first time I went in a church and wanted to start turning tables over yelling “Money-changer!” like Jesus did at the Temple.  It was bad.  Everyone was talking real loud and there was no respect whatsoever.  And, there was a laser-show.  Yup, you read correctly, laser-show.  I have video:

I actually said a prayer when I left asking God for forgiveness for not defending the sacredness of his holy Church.  I was embarrassed by the fiasco.

And that was my day in Vienna.

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