The UC Blue Ash British Summer Study Abroad group has been in Europe for over a week now and many of the students and faculty on the trip have been faithfully blogging their progress. You can enjoy their trip along with them by reading the British Summer Study Abroad blog: http://2013britishsummerstudyabroad.wordpress.com/ . Excerpted below are a several recent entries:
May 5, 2013
Here is our group of scholars at the summer palace Schoenbrunn. Here we took the Grand Tour and learned about the perils of being part of a royal family. We toured the warren of rococo and baroque rooms and listened to tales of the Emperor who took his job so seriously that he slept on an army camp cot as he was always on duty for the Empire. We heard stories of beautiful and tragic Empress who was less enthusiastic about her job, but whose mythical beauty lives on today in a gift shop almost wholly dedicated to her image.
May 8, 2013
Hofburg, Cathedral, and Farewell Vienna
Here we are at the Hofburg, the seat of power in Vienna. We visited the Sisi Museum and learned about the fascinating soap opera that was the Imperial family. Such Drama! We toured the Imperial apartments that were decked in expensive red damask, gilded with gold ornaments, and furnished in high style while also listening to an audio tour that told us how frugally and simply Franz Josef and Elizabeth lived. After all those sumptuous rooms of living apartments, we visited the Silver Rooms where there were acres of silver ware and china that sustained the royal household. That provided a very practical view of how much work it was to maintain such a household with all the washing, polishing, fetching and carrying all that equipment required.
Following the expression of Imperial power, we visited the expression of church power: St. Steven’s Cathedral. Someone decided to put colored film up over the cathedral windows that lent an unfortunate disco glow to the cathedral.
May 10, 2013
Kutna Hora and Konopišti
Today we had a full day of touring in the countryside around Prague. Since it was raining, we were happy to ride in the bus. First we visited an ossuary in Kutna Hora, where a nearly blind monk dedicated a large portion of his lifted arrange the bones of thousands into respectful and aesthetically pleasing formations. Some of us didn’t find it so pleasing, but others thought it was really cool.
On the way back to the bus, a couple people went into St Barbara’s Cathedral, a gothic cathedral with an unusual roof. Following a quick lunch, we drove to Konopišti, the hunting lodge/home of Ferdinand d’Este von Hapsburg, where over 30,000 mounted, taxidermist animals are on display along with thousands of weapons and imperial armor. A gothic day!
For the most up to date stories of the 2013 British Summer Study Abroad trip, visit: http://2013britishsummerstudyabroad.wordpress.com/