Monday, July 1, 2013

fashionably late Vienna post

Now that I am officially settled into my comfortable existence at Cambridge, I have returned from my brief blogging hiatus. This post is on my experience in Vienna, which was mostly wonderful, though slightly less wonderful than Prague or Budapest, and slightly more wonderful than Bratislava. I was there for about six days, all of which were filled with art and delicious food (and love, and apple strudel.)

The above is my favorite painting by Klimt, which was on display at the Leopold Museum. The star of the show though, really, was Egon Schiele. Schiele was a contemporary of Klimt... and in my opinion, the superior artist. Google him. He is excellent. The Leopold Museum in general was actually really fantastic--they were doing an exhibition on clouds and were showing Warhol's Silver Clouds in one room, which is a glorious time if you enjoy comfortable seating, pleasant conversation and helium-filled plastic silver film pillows.

During the same day, we also went to the Haus der Musik (The Music House/Museum), which had some very interesting interactive exhibits on the history of music and the study of sound. It absolutely made me wish that I hadn't dropped AP Music Theory... and that I had a greater knowledge of classical music. One of these days, I will be a composer.

I photographed this bird at the Naschmarkt, which proved to be another highlight of Vienna. While the market's usual focus is on food, it hosts one of the best flea markets that I have ever attended on Saturday mornings. I bought a small Edra typewriter ribbon box for a couple of euros at it, and it has a very happy lizard on the lid, and it is probably one of my favorite investments. It had a small ivory carving of a girl sitting in the woods nestled inside of it (by mistake,) but this is an excellent omen.

As for the food, I did get to try a few Viennese specialties. I found a restaurant that makes vegan schnitzel, which was a fascinating (and delectable) experience, and I tried a number of different apple and custard strudels (however, my loyalty to American manifestations of pie remains strong.) Figlmuller proved to be a very neat restaurant, and had the best potato salad that I have ever eaten. I drank Almdudler, which is a great herbal soda, and tried Sacher Torte, which was a remarkably anticlimactic chocolate cake.

I photographed this excellent face-and-snake plaster sculpture thing during the free Vienna walking tour. I successfully completed walking tours in Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest during this trip (and intend on doing several in Cambridge... and perhaps even one in Rome.)  Victory for history! And art, obviously, because this facade was/is great. St. Stephen's Cathedral was another architectural marvel in Vienna, and yet another was the first mental institution, which we also visited (in contrast to the cathedral, the institution was dilapidated and creepy and cylindrical in shape.)

Wandering around north of the river in Vienna was mostly not worthwhile, with the exception of this posh crocodile couple.

Certainly one of the best decisions during my time in Vienna was going to the state opera house. Julian and I waited in line for four hours for our four euro standing room tickets to see Capriccio (and then stood for another three hours to actually watch it,) but it was absolutely worth it. Our view was epic, and even though the final aria/conclusion of Capriccio is lousy (nice try, Strauss, maybe next time), the show on the whole was definitely entertaining. Fun fact: Music in Vienna is amazing. Even the street musicians are spectacular. Hooray for music! Next up on the blog: Bratislava, Slovakia!

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