Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Beethovengang

On our second full day in Vienna, we headed off to the neighbourhood of Heilegenstadt, where Beethoven lived for a period of time. Although he lived in a number of places in Vienna (around 40 in total, due in part to difficulty getting along with housekeepers), this one is notable for a couple of reasons. For one, it is in the country, and Beethoven often took long walks through the countryside for musical inspiration and relaxation. Thus, you can follow in Beethoven's footsteps by taking a very nice walk in what is, even today, a very bucolic setting. Second, it was while he was living here that Beethoven came to terms with his deafness. This was captured in a letter to his brothers known as the Heilegenstadt Testament, which he wrote in 1802, at age 26. In this letter, he bemoans the personal and social difficulties that his deafness has caused him, but declares that he still has a great deal to contribute to the world, and resolves to continue writing music.
Tim giving a dramatic reading of the Heilegenstadt Testament, as we gathered in Beethoven's backyard.
Sam hanging out in Beethoven's backyard. Sam had lots of fun picking flowers, and playing with Willem and Tessa.
A page of the Heilegenstadt Testament, on display in Beethoven's apartment.
Heading out on our musically-inspiring, relaxing walk.
A view of the path on the Beethovengang (Beethoven Walk).
The path followed a small stream.
Trees of some kind, that Beethoven might have looked at... Rob or Vic, maybe you can help us out with identifying the species?
Vineyard and hills. Some varieties of the vines were named after famous people, such as George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Sophia Loren and the Dalai Lama (yes, I'm aware that this is a very diverse group of people!)
After all that walking, it was time for lunch. We stopped in at a local heuriger, which is a type of restaurant/winery where they sell wine fresh from the vineyard.
A courtyard in the heuriger, where we had a very tasty lunch, topping it off -- after complex negotiations among Tim and Janice's family -- with entirely too much strudel.
Too much strudel!

Up next: A night at the Opera!

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