Friday, April 17, 2015

Vienna Waits

"Whoever wants to know something about me
- as an artist which alone is significant -
they should look attentively at my pictures
and there seek to recognise
what I am and what I want."

Gustav Klimt

This past week, I was lucky enough to spend 2 1/2 days in Vienna, arriving on Tuesday afternoon and staying 'til dawn on Friday. Gerry was busy working, except for dinner one night, so I tried to see as much as I could, keeping in mind that I had "so much to do and and only / So many hours in a day"!
Click here for my tourist photos in the facebook album:

~ A Couple of Days in Vienna ~

Thanks to my brother Bruce for posting the link to this old favorite -- now with new meaning:

Vienna Waits For You
[Click for slideshow
& following]

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me,
Why are you still so afraid? (mmmmm)

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day (ay)

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)

Too bad, but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right (you're right)

You got your passion, you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true (oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two (oooh)
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through (oooh)
Why don't you realize... Vienna waits for you?

When will you realize... Vienna waits for you?

Music and lyrics by Billy Joel

Bearing witness at the art museums . . .
so much to choose from . . .
but I couldn't miss these classic treasures:

The Kiss
Gustav Klimt, 1862 - 1918

The Art of Painting
Jan Vermeer, 1632 - 1675

Sleeping Woman With Flowers
Marc Chagall, 1887 - 1985


Of the three museums I visited ~ Albertina, Belvedere, Kunsthistorisches ~ I enjoyed the Belvedere most and wish I had spent more time there. It consists of two Palaces, both filled with art, and I only took time to do one -- the Upper Belvedere, where the Klimts are. If it's a nice day, you can spend an hour walking around outside, taking photos, and enjoying the walk down to the Lower Belvedere (or vice versa, depending on which end you enter).

My problem was that after doing the Upper, I walked briskly through the garden and didn't stay to visit the Lower. I also noticed a really cute local color restaurant / pub near the Lower entrance / exit, called the Salm Brau, that I wish I could have gone back to later with Gerry, but we didn't have time.

All three museums are within walking distance of each other if you don't mind a long walk (though for the hardy, this may even seem like a short walk)!

Kunsthistorisches = #20
Albertina = #23
Belvedere = lower right corner

The Lower Belvedere and the Albertina are both open late on Wednesdays, so if you are in Vienna on a Wednesday and your day is full, you could save one of these locations until evening. A user friendly tip about the Albertina is that you can ride up the outdoor escalator to the foyer and have access to the very safe and tidy public restrooms in the basement before going thru the official entrance and purchasing your ticket. Needless to say, after discovering this, I availed myself of the facilities several times, whenever I found myself in the vicinity! The posters (see photos) of all the previous Albertina exhibits are displayed on the stairwell walls leading down to the restrooms (I think they might actually be there for students, but no one questioned).

Gerry and I did the Albertina on Wednesday evening -- it's a smaller museum, so I don't think we missed much. We peeked in at the restaurant, but it looked very modern, New York - style, which is nice, but seemed like something we could more easily find in the USA, so we wandered out onto the street and picked a touristy outdoor cafe instead.

This is also the best area for walking / wandering around randomly, if you like doing that -- starting at the Albertina / Opera House area and heading inward toward St. Stephen's Church & St. Peter's Church. The streets seem to have everything -- from tiny quaint shops to large world department stores, and buidlings from every decade / century, so you can get a real sense of the city. And even if you feel lost, you eventually end up back on the main ring road.

All the large public buildings are a bit further away, but the first ones you come to are the Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches) and Natural History Museum. So I walked that far, but no farther. I spent a couple of hours doing one floor of the Kunsthistorisches -- where the Vermeer was, and some Brueghels. There was so much more -- ancient artifacts and coins (kind of British - museum style) in the basement, but I just ran out of steam.

The Kunsthistorisches is open late on Thursday, so if your stay includes a Thursday night, you can visit this museum in the late afternoon and then stay on for dinner. The restaurant was very ornate and fabulous - looking, right in the center rotunda! This would have been my and Gerry's choice, except that the conference dinner was on Thursday night, so we weren't free. I also noticed that the Kunsthistorisches had nice big couches all around, in sunny spots, so if you allowed yourself to visit at a more leisurely pace, you could do one floor then sit and relax, then do another exhibit, then sit in a different spot, and so forth. That's what I would have done if I had not been rushing myself.

Our hotel was right near the Stadtpark, also a very pretty place just to walk around and take pictures. We weren't in Vienna long enough to look into musical events, but there seems to be one every night at the Stadtpark in the Kursalon (see photos). The Thursday night conference dinner was held in the Stadtpark at the Restaurant Steirereck. From the outside, where the back of the restaurant faces the park (in my photos) it looks very quaint. From the front & inside & on the menu it is very contemporary. Elegant and highly rated, but wouldn't have been my first choice for local color.

Still, no complaints! You can only do so much in 2 or 3 days, so have fun picking and choosing! Whatever you do will be great, and you'll surely return home thinking of all the things you'll do next time, if you ever make it back again!

Previous Travels
Berlin vs Philly