Monday, August 23, 2010

Austria Day Three { Part Eins (one) }

On day three in Austria, half way through our trip, it was the last day that we had our itty bitty teeny tiny european car.

Ok, so it really wasn't that tiny- it was like a small SUV actually, kinda like a Honda CRV or something- they knew us American's like leg room (or we are FATTER than Austrians.. not sure which one?!)
so we took a ride through Weinerwald.

(Wein=Vienna, Wald=woods)

So you COULD call it "Vienna Woods" but we much preferred to refer to it in it's native tongue:


I mean, it was just funner, ya know?  Funner?
Yeah... funner.  And SO mature.  :)

It was so amazing to me how SMALL all of the "new" stuff in Austria was (the rooms, bathrooms, cars, dinnerware, food portions, etc) and how GINORMOUS all of the "old" stuff was.

Day Three was a Sunday and we had the opportunity to go to
Abbey Heiligenkreuz
and listen to the monks sing their Gregorian chant that morning.

There is nothing in my brain with which to associate the word, "Heiligenkreuz," so I, admittedly, just had to look it up to remember the name of where we went.  Guess German just isn't my thing... unless it's close to milk or spit.

Photography and videography weren't allowed during the performance, but I got this picture beforehand.  The monks came out and stood in the little wooden bays to do their chants.  We couldn't understand a word they were saying, but it was really neat listening to them chant in their actual sanctuary.


Here's a video from YouTube that explains how these monks won a contest for Universal Music and ended up releasing a CD called "Chant- Music for Paradise."  The chants we heard were showcased on the CD.  It also shows more of the Abbey, which was quite old, huge and beautiful.

On our way back through Weinerwald, we stopped at Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl, Austria.

This was a subterranean lake.

Stop and think about that word for a minute.

Sub (under)
terrain (land/ground)
lake (lake)

an underground lake.

How, you ask, do you get a LAKE, under the ground?
Well, I'm glad you're interested.

See, back in 1912 they were mining Gypsum (a fertilizer) and during a routine blast, 20 million liters of water gushed into the mine, causing a huge catastrophe, closing the mine and creating an underground lake.

Click here to

Here's the map that shows where they went.
Note the word: "they"
Please take a minute and stare at this to get your bearings...

mine map

AND so that you will understand why I opted OUT of this particular adventure.

I did NOT want to be a gazillion feet
under  a rock mountain
on water
beneath the ground.
(way too many prepositions for this girl)

NO thanks.

Here's a synopsis of the tour.  I sent Benjamin suited up with my camera and that was enough for me.
Interesting fact from the synopsis:
"During World War 2 the Germans requisitioned the mine and pumped all the water out, they then set up an underground factory to produce the fuselage of the world’s first jet plane, the HE 162. At one time they had over 2000 prisoners of war working in cold damp conditions producing these aircraft, the British tried to target the mine but succeeded only in blocking the entrance for a time. The Germans themselves tried to destroy the mine when they abandoned it near the end of the war."
Very cool.  Very cool indeed.  To see PICTURES of... not necessarily to experience in real life.
For me, anyway.  Claustrophobia and all...

crystal clear water

Here's a real life video tour complete with commentary from narrator Benjamin, and end-of-life instructions from Lula.

See the little cafe to the right with the red chairs?
That's where I was while the rest of the gang was in the mine (the black HOLE under the word seegrotte).

The largest subterranean lake in Europe , the Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl

And what was I doing?

I was sip-sip-siping on a delish, authenic, european, can't even describe it, vanilla latte.

And as I sipped the last sip out of the cup, I thought,

"I wish I could capture this moment!"


I could!

I marched myself up to the little guy behind the counter and asked,

"May I buy this cup and saucer?"

And he looked at me and in broken english said,

"You would like to purchase?!"

Now, these cups weren't exactly "for sale."
It's not like they had a display of these babies set up on a shelf.
This was like, the china of the cafe.

So I said, "Yes, I would like to purchase.  This cup and this saucer..... OH and the little spoon too."

He laughed at me, shook his head and replied,

"Let me call my captain."

He got off the phone and said, "Seven Euro."
And I said, "SOLD!"
And I watched him wash my cup and spoon and hand it back to me.

Coolest Souvenir Ever.

So now, when I sit at home and drink my Tassimo Latte in the morning, it takes me back to the little cafe outside of the Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl, Austria.


vienna mug

More Vienna Day Three to come tomorrow, but there's enough links in this one to keep you bloggies busy for a day.  But, I just realized, there isn't ONE picture of us, people. So here...
I'll leave you with this one until tomorrow...
Guess how we ended Day three???

jess and b with yummy gellato

a lot of really important things happened between the latte and the Gelatto, but there will be more about that tomorrow... these were monumental parts of the day :)

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