Wednesday, December 16, 2009

3. Danube River Cruise - Linz (12/16/09)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
It has become progressively colder as we travel farther west and higher in elevation.
Arrived in the city of Linz, Austria. We "parked" next to the Brucknerhaus, a 1973 concert hall named for Linz's famous son - Anton Bruckner, a composer who was a master at the organ.
Brucknerhaus
While some of the passengers opted to pay for an excursion to Salzburg, the rest of us took the included walking tour of Linz, the third largest city in Austria. A few steps from the boat, we stood under the Lentos Art Museum (2003) to be protected from the snow while the tour guide gave her talk.
Lentos Art Museum
Linz always was an industrial city, and was built up by the Nazis during World War II. Now Linz is considered the Silicon Valley of Middle Europe.
A block further, we entered the Hauptplatz, the main square, one of Europe's largest. The Holy Trinity Column (1723) stood in the center,
Trinity Column in the Main Square
a monument of gratitude for deliverance from 1) war, 2) a fire, and 3) the plague.
Inside City Hall, aerial photographs of the city were laid out on the floor.
City Hall floor
Our tour took us through narrow curving alleys. There was a large section of wealthy merchants' houses, of those who could afford to pay the taxes on many, many windows!
Former Black Eagle Pharmacy
At Christmas time, many of the shops have a Nativity scene in their display windows.
Shop window Nativity scene
Our next stop was the Thun Palace, famous as the place where Wolfgang Mozart composed the "Linz Symphony." In Vienna and Linz, there were many places claiming "Mozart slept here."
Thun Palace
The Landhaus (formerly a monastery, 1579) is comparable to a state capital building in the U.S. We took the shortcut through the Landhaus. (Note our guide speaking into the transmitter!)
Landhaus
We toured the "old city," but still saw modern elements, like these sheep.
Sheep sculptures
Our tour also took us into the Alter Dom (Old Cathedral, 1678) which was full of pink marble columns and white statues. Anton Bruckner was the organist here.
After the guided tour, we had some free time. We first found a post office to buy stamps to send postcards home. We wanted to see another Christmas market in the Parish Church Square, but it wasn't open yet.
Harry Potter is everywhere!
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
We decided to go to a coffeehouse (also a bakery).
Imperial Bakery
It's snowing!
video
One can sit and relax, read the paper, or a book...
Kent peruses a book in German
Coffee, and our hot chocolate, was served on an individual tray with a glass of water.
Hot chocolate service
We tried a couple local specialties, the Linzerauge (Linzer eye, cookie with raspberry jam),
Linzerauge
 and a slice of Linzertorte,
Linzertorte
(Linzer cake, similar to spice cake with red currant jam mixed in under a lattice pastry crust and sprinkled with sliced hazelnuts). Yum!
We browsed through the Christmas market in the main square, although Brynne went birding.
Brynne in the main square
This is what she found:
Crow
We found wooden ducks made from rooted tree trunks.
Wood ducks
On our return to the boat for lunch, we saw the "Crystal Ship" which had an arch filled with Swarovski crystals.
"Crystal Ship"
This is what it looked like at night.
Lighted "Crystal Ship"
After lunch, we went out on our own again, to see the Neuer Dom (New Cathedral, 1862-1924), the largest cathedral in Austria.
New Cathedral
It is known for its stained glass windows, both old
Old stained glass windows
and new.
New stained glass window
The cathedral had a large Nativity scene in the crypt.
Cathedral Nativity scene
Next door to the church, there was something not quite right with the building - the wavy and leaning walls.
Wavy-walled building, the Hotel am Domplatz
Brynne and Yuriko returned to the boat, and Kent and Tamiko went to the Lentos Art Museum, with its contemporary art and special exhibit featuring art and sound. We also sampled sausages and sauerkraut at the Christmas market.
Hauptplatz and the Christmas Market at night.
Main Square at night
The new Museum of the Future (2009) across the river had a changing light display.
Museum of the Future
Tonight we finished the puzzle!
Brynne and Kent finish the puzzle
The evening entertainment was two women presenting the "Music of Austria" (opera and "The Sound of Music").
Next: 4. Passau.

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