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December 8th, 2005


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08:28 am - Walking With Fire: An Eastern Indo-European Conference (Part IV)

"Reading Departure Signs in Some Big Airport, Wondering Why We Ever Go Home"


This review only really covers the important things, so not everything covered in other entries will be covered in this one, because some things are a) for those who were there and b) simply unimportant.

Entries from this trip:
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6
A quick overview of the entire trip


11/25/05: Fourth Day: Vienna

We rolled out of bed on the 25th early. Early early early, because Vienna is damn far away. It's over 300 klicks from Salzberg, and we were an hour and a half south of there. It came to a bit over a four hour drive to get there, and another 4 hour drive to get back. But let me tell you: it was worth it.

We talked a bit about how fitting it would be if we found fred_smith wandering around the streets of Vienna that day, and I kept an eye out for him all day.

We got into Vienna around 10:30, and drove around for about a half hour trying to find our first stop, the cemetery where a bunch of famous dead people were buried. We were amused to catch numerous glimpses of a billboard for an advertising agency that really looked like Eris, and I concluded this was why we drove around that part of town for so long. With both m3ch and I being Eagle Scouts, it does beg the question: how many Eagle Scouts does it take to find a cemetery using German maps and roadsigns? Obviously, more than two.

But we did find the cemetery, finally. We hit up the nice people in the information room, and then set out to find the dead guys we wanted to see.

Just outside, raherakt snapped this picture:


Three M's in a cemetery


I do believe it's the only picture from the entire week that has raherakt and I in close proximity. . . minus, of course, some other photography, which I'll get to later.

The most important order of business for most of us was finding the graves of various composers. Those into classical music (and Austrian pop stars who are one-hit wonders Stateside) will certainly recognize some of these names. Some of the Graves, though, were just interesting. We'll cover the interesting graves first:


I liked the shipwreck on this one



A pious grave



The bird at the top landed on this big grave
just before I snapped the picture


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This guy gets a front yard! | This is not the composer



I really like this one, with the cock and the oroboros


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That's a mosaic, not painting | I just like Hugo's stone


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This was a nifty tombstone, what with death and the woman entwined.
Probably not PG-rated.


I thought that this was a great tomb, and looking at it, it suddenly felt like Skip (who couldn't make it) was standing right there with us!

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I really like the door.
And doesn't that dwarf look a bit like Skip?


There were, of course, numerous statues all around. I seem to have only snapped one, though:


A weeping statue


We came up to the graves of the musicians, though, which are nearly all (with the exception of Salieri, poor guy) in the same garden. Salieri (whom you know if you're really into Mozart or P. D. Q. Bach) is all lonely near the front wall of the cemetery!


Salieri's grave


On the bright side, of course, Mozart was buried in a mass paupers' grave, while Salieri was buried in an actual cemetery. Who's laughing now, Mozart?

Here are some of the slightly more prominent composers you may recognize as not only being popular, but very dead:


Brahms' grave



Strauss' grave



Schubert's grave


Probably the most popular grave, though, that everyone (into classical music or not) will recognize, though, was Beethoven:


Beethoven's grave


We wandered about a bit, gazing at graves and picking out some pretty famous names.


The crew among the Musicians' Graves


Of course, the reason we're here is pretty simple: We wanted to see Falco's grave!


Falco!
Let it be known that I bring my friends the important things
(Here's a link for those who are completely lost)


Honestly, upon seeing the grave, my comment to m3ch was, "Who the hell is this guy?" Don't worry, gentle reader: I have been schooled but well.

The cemetery also had a weird set of things in the center, in particular a small labyrinth that was pretty crappily made (and I know a thing or two about labyrinths) and signs that told us that there was some sort of connection between these things to five elements.

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The labyrinth that goes nowhere | The men confused about a German sign


Personally, I just thought it was all bad art.

After that, we left the cemetery and headed downtown Vienna.

Our first stop downtown was the main cathedral. I recognized it immediately, as I'd studied the Siege of Vienna extensively in my military history classes, as it's one of the most important battles in western history.

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Entering the Cathedral plaza | The Cathedral's steeple (and ads)


I admit to a bit of disappointment with the reconstruction going on with the steeple. I mean, who wants to see scaffolding and billboards on such a beautiful structure? But I was delighted to find the cannonball stuck in the wall. Here's a closeup, see if you can spot it:


Cannonball!


The cannonball apparently lodged in there during the Siege, and they just never bothered to take it out.

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some gargoyles | My favourite pic


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One of the front towers | An inscription inside (with skulls)


We wandered around inside for a bit (I, apparently, wandered around longer than most people wanted to spend, as I was trying to read Latin inscriptions, after having pretty good success in the cemetery), and then headed out.

There's a nifty church plan in the cobblestones outside the cathedral, and I was going to ask m3ch about it, but he beat me to it, explaining that there was a smaller, older church under the street that the plan outlined. This excited me, and then he went on to say that we could see it from the metro station below the ground! So we all trucked into the metro station and stared into this window for about 20 minutes, looking at an old church that was buried under the street.


The church in the Metro station


Following this, we wandered through the main shopping district in Vienna's Old Town, and came across this interesting sight:

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Plague pillar | A Dedication


The pillar is a sort of celebration of the plague that hit the city. In a weird, twisted way, it stands as a monument to both God's judgment and mercy. On the one hand, they thank God for the plague ("We miserable sinners deserved it"), and on the other, they give thanks that God took it away ("Thank you for lifting the plague from our city"). The reasons for it's erection are really neat, in the same sick, twisted sort of way that the pillar itself is really neat.

I especially like the little angel who is attacking the dying woman with the torch. Classic.

We stopped and listened to a bunch of street performers, made some jokes about playing "Where's Joe?" (similar to "Where's Waldo?" but involving finding our friend who had flown into Vienna instead of Salzberg, and who we hadn't heard from in days). We played that game a lot, actually.

I think it was right around the pillar that m3ch pointed ahead. "Mike, I think that's where you want to go," he said. Man, he was right.

I really wanted to see the Spanish Riding School while I was in Vienna, because getting a picture or two there was about all I could afford to do for Tina, and it was important to me. I jogged ahead, and came out smack in the back of Hofburg Palace.

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The back entrance to Hofburg Palace


I spent so much time looking up at the palace that I didn't even notice the roman archeological dig at my feet (in fact, I became so obsessed with the various statues around the palace, as you'll see shortly, that I entirely forgot to take a picture of it). My eyes were drawn to the two sides next, representations of shipwrecks that I grabbed some good pictures of:

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left side | right side


Then I noticed what guarded the entrance: Heracles, each one a representation of a different labour.

I got pictures of eight of the labours. I couldn't find the other four, but here are the ones I got:


The Nemean Lion



The Lernean Hydra



The Cretan Bull



The Belt of Hippolyte



The Apples of Hesperides



Cerberus


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Anyone know these two? I don't.


I was utterly in awe of these statues, and spent a lot of time seeking the other four, but never found them. I even asked at the gift shop for the Spanish Riding School, which (apparently) is nothing more than a set of words written on the wall:


The Spanish Riding School


Apparently, the Spanish Riding School's winter quarters are here, as is the Lipizzaner museum. But I didn't see any actual horses, and by this time, the place was closed.

While searching for the statues and the School, though, I came across this courtyard:


A side entrance to the Palace


I caught up with my friends again on the other side of Hofburg, where they flipped me off for being so damn late. I smiled and we headed to a café to get something warm.

We sat down, and I looked over the menu. For some reason, nothing seemed appetizing, nothing seemed worth my money. As the rest of the crew started to talk over what they wanted to order and ooh and aww over various dishes, I felt it was time for me to exit. I told 'em I'd be out front, and headed for the cold outdoors again. I wrote in my journal then:
Nov. 25, 2005
Indulgence


I'm not sure why I'm standing in the cold, Vienna air tonight It just sort of. . . happened.

The rest of the crew is enjoying desert and coffee, mostly chocolate or full of interesting and plentiful decadence.

I have an appreciation for the occasional indulgence. This is up from my previous, severe limitation on such things. I started, most likely, at Wellspring, when Erien showed me the kind of joy that should be taken in food.

To some extent, I picked that up immediately. But I still am not so much into it. I like the occasional indulgence, but I truly believe that to indulge more than occasionally is. . . not irresponsible, but perhaps undignified.

Perhaps the central issue is Moderation, or maybe it really is dignity. Who knows? I'm not sure it matters, but I found myself suddenly realizing that indulgence is, at its very root, dangerous.

I do not shy from that danger, but I do seek to keep trouble on the horizon.

And so, on this cold Vienna night, I choose not to indulge.

I was joined a short while later by the crew, and then we headed across the street to the Market. I wasn't in a funk or anything like that. I just wanted some time apart, and the few minutes was more than enough.

We ended (or so we thought) the night at the Christmas Market, an ideal place for all manner of wonderful things, and I must admit that it was a great night, and the cold air did me a lot of good. I find myself missing a lot of things about Vienna, and I was only there about 10 hours.


The Vienna Christmas Market


We spent a good deal of time there, until about 7, at which point we figured it was about time to leave. We packed ourselves up and headed back to the car.

We came back across the back-side of Hofburg Palace, and while m3ch and ceolnamara moved on to sit down just ahead, everyone else stopped into St. Michael's Church. We were amazed.

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Michael and Lucifer


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Michael and Lucifer


I apologize for the interior pictures. It was dark, and there were worshippers, so I didn't want to try my flash at the altar. I grabbed these pics quickly. At the top, you can see the eye in the pyramid, God. Below, you will see the angels casting the rebellious third into hell. Below that is the altar.


The all-seeing eye of God



The fall



The altar


That church, honestly, was my favourite of the entire trip. I'd love to go back, just to see it one more time. I was still spending some time in it, and let druid_medb and ralmathon know that m3ch was up ahead, and they should wait with him.

Well, somehow they missed him (they didn't pass but 20 feet in front of him, and he missed them, too), and they got, well, a bit lost. This caused a small amount of panic, as we were in a foreign city and you can't exactly ask the information desk to page your friends. But, rather than scatter to the four winds and try to find them, we made sure that someone stayed where we'd last seen them.

raherakt and I went running through the shopping district to see if we could find them, leaving m3ch to wait. Then we sent m3ch off while we waited and prayed to St.'s Jude, Christopher, and Barbara (the last being a personal favourite) that they'd show up.

About an hour after we'd lost them, they came back, not much worse for wear. About 20 minutes later, we finally had m3ch back as well, and we headed back to the car as a group.

On our way out, I caught the following window, and snapped a picture for my friend, Brian:


A communist t-shirt


Most of us crashed well before we got home. It was a mighty long ride.



Next Entry:


11/26/05: Fifth Day: Workshops and Pictures

11/27/05: Sixth Day: Some Departures, Cleanup

Entries from this trip:
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6
A quick overview of the entire trip

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "USS Zydecoldsmobile", -JB

(17 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:mmefrufru
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Okay....you're going to have to backtrack with me again...I posted a pick of one of the tapestries so you know what I'm talking about. :)

I love cemeteries. I wish I was a sculptor of tombstones.
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
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This is a great cemetary. Huge, really. We didn't even get back to the old section.

Backtracked to answer.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
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Beautiful, thanks for posting all those pictures. Lovely, cold Vienna. :)
But I still don't see where your TacoBell proposal fits into all of this, and I tell you I was mightily dissappointed for there not to be a ravishing Spanish lady in the riding school. Better luck next time!
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I'm not the one who was proposed to in a Taco Bell.

I'm not entirely sure I believe in ravishing Spanish ladies. Sure, sailors sing about 'em, but I've never met someone from Spain.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not entirely sure I believe in Spain. . .
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC)
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You're dodging the point!

And as for SPanish ladies, well, you should meet my mommy, then. ;)
Actually, this stemmed from a venture to the Kentucky Horse Park when I was little, and they let you take your picture on the back of a beautiful horse. A beautiful Spanish woman with a huge red rose on her hair called me over, lifted me up onto her horse, and now somewhere in the vaults of my family's past there is a picture of her and me on a black stallion next her. She was my hero. :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I don't believe I am :)

You have many heroes. Mine all seem to be less than stellar at the moment, but their heroism is intensified by thier lack of luster.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 8th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
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This is what I was teasing you about earlier. :P

As for heroes... yep. I have lots of them. Sometimes they remain constant, sometimes they don't stay my heroes. But respect and admiration remains. I guess I just respect and admire a lot of people, especially ones that I know... and sometimes they are just so ridiculous and silly that they could not be ANYTHING if not my hero. I am easy to amaze, it would seem. :)

Some people think this cheapens thing, but I don't see how. I mean, the more friends I get, the richer my heart gets and the more capacity for love I discover. It doesn't "de-value" the friends I had first. Same thing with heroes, I imagine. The more heroes you get, the more inspiring and exciting traits you are able to find in others. :)

Maybe you should add a few new exciting heroes, just for the sake of balancing it out?

[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
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I dunno. I like my heroes to look real. I'm not really in need of heroes who are indestructible. . . Or even better than average.

I admire people with problems far more than I admire people without them.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
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What?! Are you implying that exciting and inspiring people aren't real? That fantastical, ridiculous, impossible people are not just as real as the next?

No, no, of course not. You know that's not true.

As for people with problems, it all depends on how they handle them. People who generate problems just so they can have something to overcome and show off their toughness with get no respect from me. Angsty, emo people who make no attempt to change things get no respect. People who imagine problems just so they can characterize themselves as survivors get none, either.

I DO vastly prefer tough, survivor-type people who have really had a powerful taste of life, but it annoys me when people start thinking that people who are carefree can't be heroes because "they don't know what it's like" and "They have never really lived." This implies that being happy and carefree is NOT life, and that only suffering defines us.

This, as we know, is bullshit: it takes a HUGE deal of courage to remain happy and unjaded with all life throws at us.

And who's to say that ever-cheerful hero of mine has not had her own share of troubles in her day?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Let me tell you, some of the most exciting and inspiring people in my life have never existed. Or, at least, they don't exist to anyone else.

And who's to say that ever-cheerful hero of mine has not had her own share of troubles in her day?

You'd be surprised at how many people would say just that :) Hell, I was never exactly "ever-cheerful" and numerous people knew my journal was hiding some deep, dark secrets.

"Anyone happier than me is hiding something."
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From:singingwren
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Let me tell you, some of the most exciting and inspiring people in my life have never existed.

*giggles* I know EXACTLY what you mean. That make me smile. :)

As for people saying the latter part... well... good? Or no... BAD. I think? Haha, confused. I wasn't sure if you meant lots of people say they DO have problems, or lots of people jealousy assume they have NEVER had problems and thus are one dimensional. I guess either one is bad, since in the first case it's like what you said -- they HAVE to be secretly fucked up, because there's no way they can be that happy otherwise.

I've never really encountered that last problem personally, or at least not to my face. I tend to get a lot more of the first... "Oh, YOU aren't depressed, what do YOU know? Life is so EASY for you, you've NEVER had problems, what the hell do YOU know of suffering?" I have indeed had a delightful life and when I'm not being angsty (a la lately) things are pretty damn good, but it kind of makes me sad that people assume my optimism is nothing more than result of ignorance, laziness, and luck.

It's the same "you can't be happier than me" phenomenon working in reverse -- people always want to prove that they are MORE depressed and that THEIR personal angst is far more justifiable.

Silly world, no?

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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Every so often, my imaginary heroes (people like Paperman and Bama and Mars) show up here. So do some even more fictional ones. But I don't name the more fictional ones as "fictional". Too many fictional friends will send you to a place with clean, white, long-sleeved coats and rubber walls. Watch "A Beautiful Mind" and you'll see what I mean :)

To kinda see what I'm talking about, read through a previous entry of mine and see what I mean. There's an interesting undercurrent of, "Dude, things really can't be that good. You're totally hiding."
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Ads on churches in Europe

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Certainly they are. Then again (as someone who may one day have to raise money for renovations on a religious building), the money's gotta come from somewhere :)
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Ads on churches in Europe

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Quite :)
From:ceolnamara
Date:December 8th, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
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Were they gone for an hour? My time at the church seemed to go much quicker. Probably because I was entranced.
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, about that. Of course, time for me went much slower, given how long I was out in the cold waiting :) But for evidence, consider the amount of snow: there was enough time for the storm to start gently, crecendo into a huge freakin' snowstorm, and then taper off.

But yeah, it was around an hour. I may, though, also be factoring in how long it took m3ch to find his way back, too, though.
From:ceolnamara
Date:December 8th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
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In general, it didn't seem like a long time ... I was pretty surprised by the snow, but was more concerned with the practicalities of getting back than the beauty of the snow.

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