’12 Sep: Vienna, Austria
Happy Birthday to My Little Sister!
It’s been all about eating out with friends for days. Not much better than that – friends and food.
Tomorrow is our Un-Birthday Party for the girls, and then Sunday, Bon Voyage!
Aug 27-03 Budapest (leave lax on the 26th)
Sep 04-05 Sopron, Hungary
Sep 06-15 Vienna (+Salsburg and/or Bratislava)
Sep 16-18 Brno, Czech Republic
Sep 19-25 Prague
Sep 26-04 Wroclaw, Poland to Dresden
Oct 05-06 Hanover/Stadthagen
Oct 07-16 Berlin
Our apartment building and oh &^%!! nooooo, construction. I’m sooooo Not Pleased.
I’ve been fussing with the landlord about not letting me know this was going on and asking for an alternative. In my heart of hearts I know moving is not going to happen. I’m not going to give up the time to search (and it does take time) and the landlord doesn’t have anything to offer.
She assures me that it should be over ‘in a few days’. Not Pleased!
I left the apartment at noon today to pick up a few things and make my way by subway and train out to the airport to meet my little sister.
I got there in good time .. but .. no sister! You can imagine the agitato! I could tell the ladies at the information counter were doing their best to help but they couldn’t reach Air France – no answer!
When it became absolutely 100% sure that she was not on her flight I started off to the check-in area to find an Air France agent when an email came in: ‘Missed connection in Paris, arriving at 7pm.’ Let’s hear it for smartphones and The Internet! And free, open WiFi in airports!!
(International calling is a whole ‘nuther ball-of-wax. It’s not reasonably going to happen with 99% of Verizon phones unless you’re connected to the internet, and then you can email so why bother. Hey Verizon, add gsm to your phones!)
We got home by taxi about 8:30 and all is well.
Our first stop – the Naschmarkt, shoulder to shoulder packed with places to eat, places to buy food, and places to buy…stuff. I caught this shot during a short break in the river of people.
Once we found the flea market section Windy would have been in shopper’s heaven were it not for the crowds that made it hard to even make it to the counters…
…I took these off the internet.
We got to see the original of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Beethoven Frieze’, the same piece that the Getty did a replica of for their recent show of Klimt’s drawings.
It was FABulous. At the Getty they had put all the panels as they are here, high by the ceiling and you just looked up (way up). In this building they have provided a tall room-filling platform so your face is just a couple of feet away from the images.
On the one hand at the Getty you had a better feeling for the placement as the artist designed it to be seen, but on the other hand it was very cool to see all the details close up.
At the Academy of Fine Arts, which really is an academy, we followed the neon arrows along a winding route to their exhibition space.
They have an extensive collection of Old Masters on view. Also it was ‘fun’ to see a large Hieronymus Bosch piece, ‘Last Judgment’.
A story always noted when speaking of the Academy is that they twice turned down Hitler’s application to study here citing a lack of talent.
We had to get up early – we were going to CHURCH. Windy had found a flyer at our church, Mariahiff, yesterday saying that today there would be a concert of Haydn’s Paukenmesse (the Kettledrum Mass).
So we got here and yes they were ready for the Harvest Festival but no they were not ready for a concert. Ooops, wrong church!
So after consultation with the priest we sped off to the correct location, St Josef’s.
We were Thrilled. The music was spectacular, awesome, astounding.
We couldn’t see much because the choir and the orchestra sat in the loft at the back of the church while the congregation sits facing ahead. How many were up there? If felt like hundreds.
And more Klimt. It’s all Klimt all the time around here being the 150th anniversary of his birth. Every venue is featuring whatever of his that they’ve got.
Gustav, his brother Ernst, and Frantz Matsch did the ceiling murals above the two grand staircases and amazingly these ceilings survived the almost total destruction of the theater during WWII.
Happy Birthday Dear Sister, Happy Birthday to YOU!
My dear little sister wasn’t happy with her hair on her birthday. She wasn’t happy with her hair yesterday either but yesterday was Sunday and there was nothing to be done about it.
Today however, and especially because it was her birthday, we went out to buy an implement she could use to fix her hair so she would be happy. Mission accomplished.
We had travelled to a bit of a grotty neighborhood but they had a magnificent old church, the Pfarre St Othmar, built where an original chapel stood .. “Consecrated in 1673, but burned down in 1683 during the second Turkish siege.”
This church was finished in 1873. I’m surprised it’s so late what with all the gargoyles and such.
Windy had picked up a brochure for an art exhibit that she thought looked particularly good and since we had scheduling conflicts regarding opening hours of various other activities we decided to go to this gallery on this day. Not what we had intended for her birthday but good fun anyway.
The place is called Kunst Haus Wein, Museum Hundertwasser and holds a vast collection of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s work. He designed the museum’s buildings too.
Followed by a stop-off at the Soviet War Memorial. This monument was built in 1945 to commemorate the 17,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle for Vienna during World War II.
Also called the Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army, the inscription, in Russian, reads “Monument to the soldiers of the Soviet Army, which for the liberation of Austria from fascism have fallen….”
This is interesting: “Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the memorial in 2007 to lay flowers and specifically give thanks to Austria for not demolishing it.”
…home of the Lipizzan stallions and their balletic performances.
We saw a training session and it was interesting although not as interesting as it could have been because it seemed the horses were very much at the beginning of the training process. Still, we were glad we went.
They requested (over and over) no photos and these pictures are more interesting anyway.
That is RiGHT. WE went to an OPERA at the legendary Vienna State Opera House. Yes we did. And the ‘seats’ (being a place to stand and lean on a rail) were so incredibly good, and the usher was our own private guide to all things opera. One of her friends was there too and she was delightful as well.
Our guide from earlier in the day told us it was an important tradition in Vienna to make the arts available to everyone .. apparently including tourists because we were standing just behind the 200 euro seats and we paid 4.
The opera we saw was Arabella by Richard Strauss. Not a blockbuster for sure but the singers were very good as was the orchestra and the experience was to beat the band. Windy was particularly happy because Arabella is a love story and they all lived happily ever after.
(internet picture with the arrow already inserted)
We left the palace in time to get home before the rain came down hard. We were opening the front door when it started.
Our plan was to come home, fix some dinner, and then go out to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. We’d been saving a visit to this area waiting for the free organ concert on Wednesdays. By the time we got there it was dark with the clouds, wet, and getting cold so no tourista touring for us.
We had come out for the free organ concert which was not going to happen. Bummer, it just wasn’t on this week. And the only way to get past the entry space was to go to mass.
So we did, we went to our second mass in German and we did get to hear some organ music. Hearing the mass in German hardly mattered anyway since it makes about as much sense to me as when I hear it in English.
It was raining even harder when we left so we just went home.
For today we paid good money and got a guided tour through the Wachau Valley to the Monastery of Melk, also known as Melk Abbey. The name of the tour: Romantic Danube Valley.
This is our guide, a scary, nationalistic, full-of-himself know-it-all. Yes you do want your guide to know it all but not so much in that ‘all the rest of all you all are SO very very wrong (and morally corrupt)’ sort of way.
We then joined a Danube cruise boat for our ride to Melk.
What we see: “Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192, when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I Lionheart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria after their dispute during the Third Crusade.”
There were many lovely views of wine towns and historic villages.
A child of one of those merchants managed to survive the war and in the early 2000s began the job of identifying those lost. The memorial was unveiled in 2008.
The only article I could find on this place was in German so I’m relying on google-translate for the story. Google-translate does though sometimes get the pronouns ‘confusing’.
This is a section of historic Vienna. Please notice the streets – the streets simply don’t meet at right angles, and if a street is more than three blocks long it certainly changes its name. But we did just fine and totally got the subway system down.
The next morning Windy was off early. I did laundry, caught up on my bookkeeping, caught up on pictures, read, organized my things, ate all the leftovers, tidied up the apartment, and went to bed early.
And the next day it’s off to Brno in the Czech Republic.