Vienna Waits for You

The best way from Vienna to Salzburg is by train; it’s convenient and you see a bit of the Austrian countryside.

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Though photography through the window of a moving train can be a challenge, I managed to snap a few.

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As the trip progressed and the city faded in the distance, I was reminded of the song “Vienna” by Billy Joel.

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“Slow down, you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you.”

And the alps.

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Billy Joel continues.

“And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?”

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Venus of Willendorf

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(Venus of Willendorf on display at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria)

The Venus of Willendorf is a 4.4-inch figurine made around 28,000 years ago, a famous example of “Venus figurines” from the Old Stone Age (Upper Paleolithic). (Archeologists associate this period with the earliest appearance of modern humans — this is where “Paleo diet” comes from, also called caveman diet or hunter-gatherer diet).

The “oldest undisputed example of a depiction of a human being yet discovered” is the Venus of Hohle Fels dating as far back as 40,000 years ago.

These figurines, no more than a few inches high, are carved from stone, ivory, or molded from clay. Many depict women with exaggerated sexual features, faceless heads and missing arms and legs. Their use and meaning are naturally subject to much speculation and nobody will probably ever know.

The exact purpose of the carvings aside, it is worth noting that they show such detail and craftsmanship. It is mind-boggling that such artifacts of great creativity and symbolism already existed in the Stone Age, a manifestation of culture at the dawn of human history.

The Venus of Willendorf, like other Venus figurines, is unusual. But maybe we can also take pride that our species is truly unusual too.


Unusual

The Hills Are Alive Around Salzburg, Austria

“The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears.
– The Sound Of Music

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One of the most popular movies of all time is The Sound of Music. Though it was made more than 50 years ago, its message of hope in a time of war, expressed through music, has stood the test of time.

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(Lake Leopoldskron and Leopoldskron Palace)

The film was shot around Salzburg, Austria, and whether one likes to sing along to the soundtrack or not, everyone can agree that the beauty of the place is something that adds to its charm.

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(St. Gilgen)

The city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is itself beautiful, but seeing the Lake District and the Alps around it was an even more heartwarming experience.

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(Lake Mondsee)

Like the film, it made me see a world where music can fill the soul, where one can be reminded of the beauty in this world.

But we don’t have to go as far as Austria. As the song goes:
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings
  When I’m feeling sad
  I simply remember my favorite things
  And then I don’t feel so bad.”
– My Favorite Things

We can always find a quiet corner in our everyday world, where we can hum a cheerful melody in our head.

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