Mittwoch, Juni 28, 2006

The end is in sight. It's hard to believe that my first year here in Austria is drawing to a close. I admit there were days when I didn't think it would ever end, but now that it's this close I look back and wonder where it went. It's kind of sad that it's over. Only big thing left on the horizon is a concert in the new cathedral in 2 weeks. Other than that I just have to tie up loose ends and pack and all that fun stuff. And then it's off to America for the summer.

Samstag, Juni 24, 2006

It's been a few days since I posted, so I thought I've show you a picture of where I've been sequestered away. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the church where our Orgelabend was supposed to be held fell though, so the St. Leopold church was gracious enough to let us use their organ with only a few days warning. They also let us practice as much as we wanted so long as a mass wasn't being held, so I spent many hours here getting used to the organ. As you can see, it's a very modern church, but I like the architecture and the acoustics are also very good.

Montag, Juni 19, 2006

Daisies at Dusk

Sonntag, Juni 18, 2006

Many things crossed my mind when I saw this statue, but I shall refrain from launching into a religious monologue and allow you to have your own thoughts.

Samstag, Juni 17, 2006

Tonight I went to a very wonderful concert that my teacher performed in. He and two colleagues performed concerti for three harpsichords, two by Bach and one by Mozart. It was standing room only, and since I had purchased a standing ticket, I was in fact standing in the back of the room. I used that to my advantage to take a couple pictures during applause, since cameras were not allowed. The Austrian television station was even there filming the event. The instruments were amazing and the hall, to quote Gustl, is "fantastic, isn't it?".

Freitag, Juni 16, 2006

Sun and Spire

Donnerstag, Juni 15, 2006

Inside Schloss Weinberg

Mittwoch, Juni 14, 2006

Today's excursion led us into the Muhlviertel to Schloss Weinberg, where there was an old music concert being held. It was an absolutely beautiful evening, and fun to visit a castle that even has a moat around it. I think it would be fun to live in a castle, especially if I had such a great music hall and authentic instruments!

Dienstag, Juni 13, 2006

Church from a wild wood

Montag, Juni 12, 2006

Postlingberg and wheat

Sonntag, Juni 11, 2006

As I walked through the hills north of Linz, I passed perhaps 20 people either out walking or working in their gardens. I couldn't help but think about the over 200,000 people down below me surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city and wonder what percentage of them have ever taken the time to step outside the city limits and gain a new perspective. Maybe it's too scary to give the mind a chance to wander and think about new things. Society today seems completely content to live in a shell. Regardless of whether I'm on public transportation, exercising by the river or just walking down the street, I constantly see people with earphones in listening to something other than their surroundings and their thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to music, but I think that there is also a place for listening and absorbing what is around you. Had I been intent upon being wrapped up in my own world I would have missed the song bird's melody and the hum of the bees in the clover and the old gentleman's quiet greeting from his garden, and it was those very things that refreshed me. So here's my challenge: put away the ipod for a day and see what you hear. You might find you'll never go back!

Samstag, Juni 10, 2006

I'll go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more
- Hammerstein II & Rodgers
Austria is full of tiny villages and every village has a church. When we arrived at Kirchdorf I just had to laugh because here was this very stately church and not 30 feet away was a barn and cows grazing. My teacher was telling me the other day that the reason Austria has so many holidays is because it has always been a farming country and farmers only stop for church, so the church created special religious holidays to help the farmers and their families have a day off.

Freitag, Juni 09, 2006

Where there are windows there are window boxes. I don't think I've ever been in a country where just about everyone has flowers in their windows. It it like going through a garden just walking down the street.

Donnerstag, Juni 08, 2006

Picturesque Passageway

Dienstag, Juni 06, 2006

Iris in the rain

Montag, Juni 05, 2006

Another rainy day didn't keep us from heading west into an area of upper Austria known as the Innviertel, named for being the quarter closest to the river Inn, which borders Germany. One of our stops was Stift Reichersberg. It's not as big or elaborate as some monasteries, but I found it very well kept and appealing. The church in the back has a fairly good organ where a friend of ours was playing a concert for a group of politicians spending the day at the stift. I was glad the rain stopped long enough to take some pictures outside.

Sonntag, Juni 04, 2006

The rain stopped long enough for us to have a beautiful sunset. But a red sky at night doesn't always mean that the next day will be nice and clear. Maybe that saying doesn't apply to Austria.

Freitag, Juni 02, 2006

"I just haven't been inspired" was my excuse to a friend for not posting lately. So this evening I decided that perhaps the first step towards inspiration is just getting up and going somewhere, anywhere, and seeing what happens. So that's what I did. Grabbed my camera and headed towards the river, and while I didn't get any pictures that are in danger of winning awards I did have a pleasant stroll along the river and enjoyed a nice sunset and the lights. And you know, I do feel much more inspired. Maybe Edison was on to something!

Donnerstag, Juni 01, 2006

A few days back I went with my teacher to check on progress of a house he is having restored. It's from 1830 and hasn't been touched since it was built. This mason was a very typical country worker, with a dialect so thick I almost couldn't understand anything he said, but he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy what he did. Here he is working on the new door sill. My teacher is trying to use as many old materials and keep everything as authentic as possible while adding modern conveniences like plumbing, electricity and heat. I can't wait to see the finished product!

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