Sunday, September 30, 2012

Train from Vienna to Ljubljana Slovenia

Anyone who knows me knows I love to travel.  Any time I'm asked what I would really like to have as a gift, my answer is always the same:  A ticket.  It doesn't matter where the ticket takes me, I find something to love about the place.  

However, I have learned many of friends and family don't share my fascination with the unknown.  They are a bit harder to please.  Therefore, I don't usually recommend anything.  I'm quick to share my positive feelings, but I rarely say, "You would love this place."  

When those words come from me, you can be assured the experience is so special no one could find fault.  One such experience is the train ride from Vienna Austria to Ljubljana Slovenia.  Go ahead and spend the bucks for a first class ticket.  You will appreciate the big windows to help you take in all the beauty.  

Here are the best of my photos without further comment.

One introduction . . . I do not know this man's name.  He is an employee of the railroad, but I don't know what he does.  He was traveling with his family to visit his parents in a village just north of the Slovenian border.  He was the friendliest person you could hope to meet, a wealth of information about the railroad and its history, and he graciously gave me his seat as we rode through the mountains because it had a better view of the majestic peaks and deep valleys.  

All in all, he made the trip even more special!  My thanks!

The Kunsthistoriches

So mammoth, the building looks for all the world like it should be a re-purposed castle, but it was actually built to serve as a place to display some of the Hapsburg treasures.  

Here are some of my favorites in no particular order . . . 

Looking down on the dining room after it closed

Appreciating art is thirsty work

Miles of medals, coins, and small portraits.  I'm talking m i l e s!

A small sample of the ancient treasures from Egypt.

Just two of the beautiful fountains outside

A preview of coming attractions.  Oh, how I'd like to go back.

Ed Ruscha is another whole story, but I loved this quote:  "The ancients stole all our great ideas."  It's the best excuse for underachievement I've ever heard!

St. Stephen's Cathedral - Vienna

First a link to tell the complete story of this beautiful church.  St. Stephen's Cathedral with its tall tower is very much the landmark around which the rest of the city revolves.  Built on an ancient cemetery and the remains of two previous churches, it has survived wars, weather, looting and fire.  Its preservation and repair have been ongoing since its original construction in the 12th century.

The tower combined with the highly ornate roof have it made it one of Vienna's most recognizable buildings.  

Inside, the building is a gallery of marble sculpture, paintings, and wooden carvings.

I'm sure I am not the only one who counts the pulpit as a favorite piece.  It stands in the the nave instead of at the front of the church. 

Long attributed to Anton Pilgram, new evidence points to Niclaes Gerhaert van Leyden as a more likely carver.   Beneath the stairs is a small portrait. The chisel in the subject's hand, and the stonemason's signature mark on the shield above the window indicate that it is most likely a self-portrait of the sculptor. The locals call this portrait Fenstergucker:  gucker, German for gawking; fenster, German for window. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the pulpit are the relief portraits of the four original doctors of the church.  Each of them is portrayed in one of four different temperaments and in one of the four different stages of life. 


Another favorite, the tomb of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.  

The baptismal font

The massive pillars are all covered in carvings.  This one is a  beautiful Madonna sheltering figures representing all walks of life. 

I don't have a clue who he is supposed to be, but he's pretty wonderful.

The organ

The main altar.

A side chapel

One of many, many carvings gracing a pillar - a work that took countless hours of loving, tedious labor by a creative genius whose name is unknown and whose  work is so high above the floor it is seldom noticed.  Without my camera I would have never known it was anything more than a blob of marble.