Haus des Meeres

42. Visit the aquarium

Last weekend, Mink, Adrian and I went to the Haus des Meeres for some science-y fun. The aquarium is housed in a converted bunker left over from WWWII, a concrete hulk of a building that looms menacingly in comparison to the charming buildings surrounding it. Written in huge letters on the top of the building, in both English and German, is the saying (more or less), “Shattered into pieces (in the still of the night)”.

There were about a million kids in there with their parents, which was to be expected on a cloudy, chilly Saturday afternoon, but I think the three of us were having more fun than any of them. We saw the usual array of tropical fish, giant snakes and lizards, and there was also a “Krokodil Haus” that had birds, tiny monkeys with wise old man faces, and one rather lackadaisical crocodile. Highlights of the aquarium were the sharks (of course), the seahorses, and the stingrays – I love the way they glide over the surface of the sand!

The octopus was also awesome, since it was dancing around like crazy and it reminded me of the Kraken, which I try to reference in my everyday life as often as possible. Tennyson would have been a fan.

Comin' to strangle y'all!

My favourite sea creature, though, was the turtle – it was swimming about in a giant, multi-floor tank and was simply beautiful. It reminded me of the turtle with the Aussie accent in Finding Nemo (found him!), which only made it more charming. I’m pretty sure the turtle made this face at me through the glass:

Duuuuude.

By the time we’d reached the top of the bunker, we were an impressive seven floors up. We went outside to see the panoramic view of the city, which was truly spectacular from this height. It was considerably colder and cloudier than this sun-splashed photo, but beautiful nonetheless:

Wien!

The Haus des Meeres happens to be right next to the History of Torture Museum, which has a rather nondescript entrance as it used to be an air-raid shelter. The morbid museum is maintained by Amnesty International and documents the grisly methods of torture over the centuries. The sign on the door translates to, “Museum of Medieval Legal History. The History of Torture.” Not sure if I’m ever going to need to know what “torture” is in German, but it’s always fun to improve one’s vocabulary in this rather haphazard manner. (What’s that? Taking German lessons would be way more practical and efficient, you say? I apparently possess neither of these traits.)

The History of Torture is our next cultural adventure!

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