Sunday, September 30, 2012


So here we were in Vienna  
dwarfed by its art and architecture, daunted by its history, inspired by its music, and slightly worried that the spirit of Sigmund Freud might be lurking in the shadows, interpreting our dreams.

Like so many other European cities, Vienna is an art gallery.  People are doing business, raising families, pretending they are living their lives in a normal place, but the truth is they are conducting day-to-day life smack in the middle of an urban art gallery.  Here are some examples of what I saw as I walked the streets of Vienna.  The only admission price was the cost of the ticket to get there.

The architecture is story-book quality, and the gardens are places where fairies flit and princesses stroll.

With the luggage I already had, I was in no mood to shop, but streets like this were certainly inviting.
Even the store windows were pieces of art

The weather was too cool for outdoor dining.  Not a problem, we found an orangery and palm house extraordinaire built years ago for the amusement of one of the Hapsburg family.  It is now maintained for the use of tourists and the occasional Viennese resident as a beer pub and restaurant.  
We spent a most-enjoyable evening at the Rathauskeller.  The food was mediocre, and the folk-music and dance show was best described as cheesy, but sometimes if the company is good and the mood is just right, it doesn't take much to make a night unforgettable.
Music is all important in Vienna and as unlikely as it might seem that two kings could rule simultaneously, it would appear to be the case here.
Mozart, ruler of the world of classical music

and Strauss, master of the romantic 3/4 time.

We almost missed one of the best treats.  Vienna has declared 2012 the year of Gustav Klimt.  On the afternoon of our last day in Vienna, we visited the Belvedere Museum which houses the largest collection of Klimt in the world.  It was enchanting.  Unfortunately, photos were strictly prohibited as was standing too close to the paintings and drinking water.  The ratio of guards to visitors was almost 1:1 so taking a chance was out of the question.  I did get a photo of the formal garden as well as one of the more statuesque guards.  

Unphotographed, but unforgotten:

After dinner one evening, we walked to the opera house and joined several hundred others who were unable to buy tickets.  We watched the last act on a huge screen set up on the side of the building.  

The tram ride around the Ringstrasse.  

The puzzled look on the faces of several shopkeepers as I made my rounds looking for a souvenir apron to add to my collection.

The puzzled look on my face when my credit card was rejected the first time I tried to use it.  (Thankfully, that issue was resolved later that day.)

The repeated attempts we made to find the perfect apple strudel.  

Pension Suzanne and the lovely breakfast buffets we enjoyed each day.

More specific details and photos of St. Stephens church and the Kunsthistorches Museum will be available soon in a new posting.  Right now, Stanley is telling me we have to leave soon or we will miss our opportunity to enjoy the sun.  Cooler weather is threatening to end our beach time here in Rovinj.