Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A is for Austria

B is for Baroque Architecture; and the Belvedere (once a Palace, now a spectacular art museum which houses many Klimts)
C is for all the Cafes mit Apfel Strudel und Sachertorte mmmm
D is for Deutsche Sprachen; and the Donau (which we Englische Lautsprecher call the Danube)
E is for Empress Elisabeth (known as Sisi, and quite a story she has; she was the 19th century's Princess Diana)
F is for Franz Josef I (hub of Sisi); also Franz Ferdinand
G is for the Graben (great place to shop, relax at a cafe, or ogle architecture)
H is for the Hofburgs, which had quite a dynasty going for 600-some years,
I is for the Imperial influence which lives on everywhere in Vienna despite the Habsburg ouster nearly 100 years ago
J is for Jugendstil, which was Vienna's answer to Art Nouveau
K is for Klimt, perhaps the most famous Kunstler (artist) of Vienna and a founder of Secessionism (art movement); also, the numerous Kunst museums including KHM (utterly astounding).
L is for Lipizzaners, those graceful stallions who perform ballet
M is for Maria Theresa, mother of Marie Antoinette; also let us not forget Mozart
N is for Napoleon, who had his foot on the neck of Austria for some years
O is for Opera
P is for the many palaces
Q is for the lovely Quartiers of Vienna
R is for Rococo; also the Romans who were in residence before all the others mentioned here!
S is for Strauss.  The Lipizzaners practice their ballet to Strauss (and Schubert, and Mozart, and Brahms...)
T is for Trams, the many trams which will whisk you to various parts of the city in no time flat
U is for U-Bahn (see Trams).  U-Bahn is underground, trams are street level (trams are also called S-bahn)
V is for Vindobona, the Roman settlement in Vienna.  The Romans trafficked the Danube heavily....
W is for Wagner (Otto, famous Jugendstil architect); also, the famous Waltz; and don't forget Wienerschnitzel!
X is for Xmas Markets
Z is for Zentralfriedhof, where 2.5 million Viennese are buried, including many household-name composers...  Z is also for Stefan Zweig, who wrote a good bio on Marie Antoinette (which I read in high school).

I couldn't really think of a good "Y" of Vienna.  Oh well.

By now I think you've figured out where I am this week.  Where is it on the map?  Well, it's roughly the same latitude as Paris and Munich (within less than one degree), and it's roughly the same longitude as Zagreb and Split in Croatia.  Pretty far east, in other words. 

What have I done this week?  Well, the above is a decent list - just about all of the above (for the historical figures, I've either visited their palace or saw a monument, etc).

I visited the Albertina which had a well executed Michelangelo exhibit (his drawings - to think they are 500+ years old in many cases) as well as a Picasso exhibit. 

I visited the Belvedere (palace) which houses many Klimts (but you won't see Klimt's Bloch-Bauers, they are in NYC now); there was also a temporary Rodin exhibit there.  Rodin was a contemporary of Klimt and in fact Klimt's The Kiss may have been inspired by Rodin's The Kiss. 

I saw an opera (Rigoletto by Verdi) at the Wiener Staatsoper (the big opera house).  I visited many Christkindlmarkts (Xmas Markets) which feature warm gluhwein to sip while wandering around the grounds and ogling the wares. 

I saw the Lipizzaners go through their paces at the Spanish Riding School (and do you know there are Roman ruins right in the imperial quad where the horses are stabled?). 

I visited the huge cemetery where 2.5 million Viennese are buried primarily to see the graves of the composers Beethoven, the Strausses, Brahms, Schubert (Mozart is not buried there).  While there I was delighted to find a church built by a pupil of Otto Wagner; it is in the Jugendstil style and check out the photo of the dome below - stunning. 

My favored cafe is Demel, which was founded in the late 1700s (1786, which was not long before Marie Antoinette, daughter of Austria, found her fate).  I will miss the pastries here. 

I have seen the Imperial apartments but not yet the Schatzkammer where the crown jewels are held.  The imperials are buried in a few different churches; by this I mean their bodies are in the Royal Crypt but their hearts are elsewhere and their entrails elsewhere yet. 

I visited a tiny little museum which shelters a Roman excavation and which had some interesting artifacts from the time period. 

I've been in a number of churches including the Stephansdom; I do want to climb its tower.  I have been lucky with weather so far (cold but no rain) and I hope that continues otherwise the climb may not be worth it. 

In starting to post photos of Vienna, I am finding there are not a plethora of Vienna travel blogs, or Vienna photo blogs, or blogs on Vienna, on the interweb!  At least not in English.  You cannot swing a stick without finding a blog about life in Paris, or photos of Paris, or what have you.  Not so Vienna.  That is a shame.  I wonder why?

Here are some photos of the past few days:


Jeanie said...

Y is for "yummie" little Vienna sausages! Duh.

Merisi said...

I am so glad that you enjoyed your visit to Vienna! :-)

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