Vienna, third day
Posted by kernelbob on August 5, 2009
Today, I took a walking tour of old Vienna, watched the choir rehearse, tasted a Sacher-Torte, ate the worst meal of the trip so far, and listened to the choir perform in St. Stephan’s Cathedral.
The walking tour started next to St. Stephan’s and wandered gradually away. We saw no fewer than four houses where Mozart had lived and a smattering of houses where other composers had lived. We saw St. Stephan’s and three other churches, including Vienna’s first Lutheran church.
The rehearsal was fascinating. At the beginning, the harp and the organ were way out of tune with each other. The harpist protested that she’d tuned to A-442. Diane, the conductor, later estimated that the organ was somewhere around A-446 to 448. Which is quite sharp. The harpist retuned frantically for about ten minutes and then was back in action.
The pipe organ, aside from being sharp, was an awesome instrument. It had at least one 32 foot bank, and was probably 4 stories high. However, the choir members complained that they couldn’t hear it and couldn’t tell if they were in tune with it.
The cathedral was open for tourists while the choir rehearsed. They mostly stayed at the far end of the cathedral.
In the afternoon, we had a couple of hours of free time. So we went off to find an original Sacher-Torte from Sacher Café. Anne ordered the Torte, and thought it wasn’t that great. I thought it tasted like slightly stale chocolate cake, but the icing was interesting. Meanwhile, I ordered a Sacher Eisschocolade, “homemade vanilla ice cream doused with cold chocolate and topped with whipped cream”. It was quite tasty.
Then we went to Wienerwald, where the whole group had a barely edible chicken dinner. We, being vegetarians, had a barely edible potato patty. With fries. I’m glad that Tour America was able to make the trip affordable for so many choir members, but I wish we weren’t in crap hotels and crap restaurants. There, I said it. I was trying to be circumspect, but it’s true. Our hotels in Prague and Vienna suck.
Anne and I wandered around for a while, found a piece of the old city wall, and found a Ferrari dealer. Then we got our clothes (choir uniform for Anne, suit for me) and went to St. Stephan’s to get ready for the performance.
While we were waiting, a protest march went by. The first thing I saw was about ten police vans. Then a short parade came through, with protesters yelling in German. Someone who understands German said they were protesting police brutality.
The performance was wonderful. The audience really liked it. I have an audio file of most of it, and I hope to upload it sometime (after editing it).
So then we went back to the hotel and had some beer and I started posting to this ‘blog. We now have 8 GB of digital media from our trip, video, photos, and audio recordings. I copied everything onto two identical USB sticks. Anne will carry one while I carry the other.
Tomorrow, we leave at 8:45 for Budapest. I’d better get some sleep.