Travel Journal (Day 14)
July 31, 2013

Travel Journal (Day 14)

Well, Vienna is H-O-T. Actually, abnormally so. On Saturday, the 27th, it was in the 90’s all day. And, of course, we had our walking tour. But Sunday is supposed to be in the 100s, so I guess it is good we picked the less hot day?

Anyway, the tour revealed info about Vienna and Austria as a whole. We saw St. Stephan’s Cathedral and saw pictures of it after World War II. It was demolished, yet was rebuilt because it is important to the Viennese. Many people and nations donated to the rebuilding of St. Stephen’s. It is a beautiful church well worth the visit.

We also learned about the Hapsburg (also spelled Habsburg) Lip, which was a result of inbreeding. The Hapsburgs could only marry within their social class, so eventually that meant they were marrying cousins and such, as is often the case with royalty. One result was a deformed lower lip that in some cases was nearly nonexistent. To see this lip, click here for some Google images. Technically, this is called prognathism. In one statue in Vienna, one of the Hapsburg emperors is depicted with just this lip. The statue is a tribute to the heavens in thanks for the city surviving the plague.

Speaking of the Hapsburgs, we also learned of Princess Elizabeth, allegedly the most beautiful princess of her time. She had a 45-centimeter waste line (which is about 17 inches for those of us who do standard measurement). The legend goes that she had her bottom two ribs removed just so she could cinch her corset even smaller. Princess Elizabeth was said to faint multiple times a day; not because she was tender, but because she simply did not get enough oxygen. The things some women do for beauty!?! Oh, and she had her hair brushed (yep, you read that right…she did not do the brushing.) for two hours a day. Two hours! I would be so bored. The life of royalty is not the life for me.

While on our tour, we were able to see the world famous Lipizzaner horses. This breed is known for their white coat. They are born brown, black, or grey, but as they mature turn white, usually by age five or so. They are trained for dressage and equestrian feats today, but were originally for the military and royalty. I loved watching the horses. Such graceful and strong animals.

Finally, we went to Vienna’s Naschmarket, my favorite place in all of Vienna. As the Vienna Tourism webpage explains, “On the Naschmarkt, a colorful crowd buys fruit, vegetables and various delicacies from every country from dawn till dusk. Increasing numbers of trendy “in” places are also finding somewhere to set up in the more than 120 market stands, and even offer free WLAN.”

Our group bought some delicious cheeses, olives, cured meats (for the carnivores), fruit, pickles, and bread and set up at a little wine place to enjoy our meal with some wine or beer. It was heavenly. All l could think about was how lucky we all were to be experiencing such bliss in Vienna. Truly, it was a wonderful time, even in spite of the heat.

For dinner, we ventured into the wine country on the outskirts of Vienna to eat and enjoy some fresh wine at one of the Heurigers. We had plates of meats, cheeses, spreads, bread, and pickled veggies. Totally great!

So, though Vienna was super hot, we managed to enjoy ourselves this day. Tomorrow, Sunday, might be a different story since it will be about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 38 Celsius. We will find some way to cope, I am sure of it.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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