Vienna. Nothing clever, just Vienna
Big city. Beautiful city. A lot like Paris. Or maybe Paris is like Vienna. Marie Antoinette was one of the 16 children of Marie Theresa, the Hapsburg queen so which way did the influence flow? I should have studied harder in college.
The ship tour takes you on a bus ride to see all the huge buildings, then you walk through the town center and see some of them again. I don’t take photos of them because you can get better pictures on google. Big buildings with lots of gold and bronze all tend to blur together on a tour like this anyway. We went through where the famous horses live, and saw their stables.
Okay, I have one building photo. The roof of St. Stephans Cathedral, in the town square, is interesting.
And here’s a shot of the interior of the cathedral–actually 5 shots, blended together. I’m trying to learn to do this better, hope it works out here:
After the tour, we went back to the Albertina museum, where they had a major exhibition of the work of Joan Miro, the brilliant Spanish surrealist. We took the audioguides, as always, and were both fascinated and educated.
Great art comes out of the artist’s life and experiences. Miro lived in a time of political upheaval in his native Spain as well as massive change in the concept of art with the introduction of abstract expressionism, surrealism and cubism. This exhibition covered his entire life and you could witness European history and the evolution of modern art on his canvases.
Exiting the Miro show, we went to see the other large exhibition of the museum, Monet to Picasso, the collection of a very prescient European couple. One thing I noticed is the creative way the show was hung–usually you have white or slightly off-white walls, but here the curator painted the walls a deep purple or blue:
I always take the audio guide because there is so much to learn, but sometimes they are just spouting artsy bullshit. On this next painting, The Blue Cow, by Natalia Gontsharowa, the commentor spoke about the “muted color palette”. If this palette were any less muted it would catch on fire:
After the museum, we crossed the street to the Cafe Mozart for lunch al fresco. We had the classic Viennese waiter in a tuxedo, speaking rapidly in a variety of languages to the motley group of customers, doing 6 things at once and doing them all well.
Gail had goulash with a dumpling–but not like any dumpling I ever saw before:
Jack and Carol then went walking, while Gail and I went to another museum, the Leopold. We saw works by Egon Schiele and Georg Klimt, but on the whole were not awed by anything.
I can’t resist cute kids. This little guy has nothing to do with anything, I just liked him.
Here’s what is awesome: coming out of this last museum, we wanted to go back to the ship. We were on a very busy street with no place for a taxi stand, and I didn’t see any taxis cruising. So I picked up my phone, opened the app for Uber, and 6 minutes later a late model Range Rover drove up. The driver, in a black suit, asked if I was Chris, and we headed back to the ship. The car featured bottled water, both still and sparkling, and wi-fi! Better wi-fi than I get on the ship, too. He drove us right up to the gangplank, opened the doors and said thank you. The bill comes automatically in your email, charged to your credit card (on file with Uber) No tipping. I have seen the future, and it works.
There are a goodly number of fiacres, or horse drawn carriages, working the tourist trade here. I enquired about getting one to take us on a short ride and the prices were horrendous. We walked.
But I did notice something odd. All the horses have their ears in little sweaters.
I don’t understand this at all. It certainly wasn’t cold. I didn’t see swarms of insects. I don’t think they are like blinders. They did come in a variety of colors, which might mean something to the locals. Google didn’t help, but maybe I didn’t ask the right question. Any ideas?
And that’s the story of Vienna. We sailed late because it is only 40 miles down river to Bratslave, Slovakia, our next stop. Check back tomorrow for more.