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Hello there!

Last night a good friend of ours invited us to join her and a colleague at the opening party for the Wiener Festwochen, Vienna’s music and performing arts festival that’s got something going on everyday for the next month!

Situated directly in front of Rathaus (or City Hall), the opening ceremony for the event included a special emphasis on the human voice, particularly collective singing, and included a range of styles from gospel or opera to classical symphony and choral arrangements. And, in each piece, the celebration of the human voice seemed heightened, and had we been sitting, would have left us on the edge of our seats.

As tradition has it, and perfectly so, the concert closed with the Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor: Choral, Op. 125.

Afterward, the party moved inside to the main festivities hall inside the Rathaus, where invitees met the musicians, singers and others who are part of the festival performances. The architecture inside the building is as ornately gothic as the outside of the building, but when decorated with modern lighting, the hall became a dreamy hallucination between the past and present.

We feel honored to have been invited, and are looking forward to checking out some of the performances.

● Also check out full coverage of the Opening of Vienna’s festival (in German).

Good afternoon friends!

We went a-walkin’ in the sun recently and came upon this magic moment. Throughout Karlsplatz park lively accordion waltz was audible — ringing through the air and bouncing from building to building — and pleasing passers-by.

This little one came running up to the accordionist and stopped, right in front of him, and stood there listening for quite some time. The moment seemed magical as the child’s eyes lit up with intrigue; you could see some of the first musical inspiration entering his mind.

And the accordionist was sure enough quite interesting, too!

Hope you are all having a nice week!

From our recent ski adventure in Innsbruck

“First of all, let us greet all our readers with a New Years’ Day and wish you all the best in this year of the Rabbit. People say, that the way you start a new year defines the way you’ll spend it all… We wish you to start the New Year being inspired, because inspiration is, actually, what motivates us to do good deeds and create really nice things. Besides, a rabbit is considered to be a quite sensitive and delicate creature, thus the year 2011 will be the time of all the creative souls, capable of fine perception of the world and transforming their delicate yet powerful emotions into real masterpieces of graphics, literature, music, and all the other art forms.” — via

Although Chinese New Year does now start until the beginning of February, I do like the message above so I am sharing it. Something to think about when starting the new year in this part of the world.

Happy Friday, and stay tuned for a weekend post!

Yesterday we went to the International Bazaar held by the local chapter of the United Nations Women’s Guild annually here in Vienna, Austria.

On the top floor of the bazaar there are booths from around the world, with handmade arts and crafts from each country or region of the world. Doesn’t that already sound lovely? But wait. When you head downstairs, you find yourself in a room twice the size, filled with stands serving food from each of the countries represented upstairs. Live music and tons of people to accompany, all with the same international background. How fun!

One our way back into the city, we caught the last of the sun falling behind the Vienna International Centre’s modern structures.

What a lovely weekend it has turned out to be. We had yesterday, Friday, off work, and ended up doing all our productive errands, so today we just ended up chilling around Naschmarkt and perusing strange items at the flea-market there.

On our way around the market, we noticed this lovely gathering of people eating – both in establishment and otherwise – and listening to jazz music from an unknown source. It was quite lovely, so we joined for a falafel wrap.

New amateur graffiti that caught my eye and made me smile. Perhaps “Meet here” would be an appropriate title.

One of our recent adventures while in Oregon was out to the Coast, to an extraordinary estuary called Whalen Island. We camped there for five days, nearly completely isolated from the scurrying societies we know too well. Here are some shots and descriptions:

the coast

The vastness of the Oregon sky with a low-tide beach at Whalen Island. During low tide, we crossed through the river out to the Pacific Ocean, where the water was, at the more shallow point, just above knee level. During some of the crossings, the girls had to be carried across as to avoid getting too soaked.

banjo & guitar

Music is always part of our adventures. Here, a banjo, guitar and good friends begin a long venture of music that lasted well into the night.

sunset

As the sun set, the tide was on its way back in. During high tide, the rivers surrounding the “island” become lake-like and much deeper. It isn’t until the middle of the night that low tide returns, and we were able to venture out into the water-soaked sand to look for phosphorescence, or the emission of light by bioluminescent plankton, in this case.

adventuringLong hikes down the beach and in the passing Coastal Mountain Range, brought a refreshing sense of self in relation to the nature that surrounds us all.

Sun, water, mist, wind and the sand beneath our feet, was part of our long days of venturing. The coastline seems never ending. Once back at the campsite after a long days trek, we would get the fire started and dinner was underway. Corn, tacos, guacamole one night, and salmon or sausages on others. We never got tired of it.

Every now and then we would head out to an ocean side restaurant for some delicious clam chowder. The trip made us realize how much we have to appreciate in life.