Europe 2012: Day 68, Vienna


The Upper Belvedere Palace (Vienna, Austria)

Monday, August 13, 2012

 Woke at 8:30am.      The internet says the weather will be sunny and in the lower 80’s.  We will see, it sounds too good to be true after nearly three weeks of 90+ degree temperatures in Italy.

I work on my blog.   My DH checks on his emails and feeds.   Next, we decide to go to Cafe Mozart for breakfast.   The streets of Vienna are dotted with nice cafes and restaurants.   Vienna is wild about cafes and coffee!   They have raised the art of sitting around and drinking coffee to a new and wonderful art form!   I plan to enjoy a number of cafes our our stay here.

Cafe Mozart, my favorite cafe in Vennia!

The classic breakfast in Vienna — pastries and strong coffee! My DH ordered the Apple Strudel, I ordered the Marble cake and coffee. The pastries were excellent and the coffee service is so classy I giggled.

Today we have a simple task – enjoy the weather for a change!    We decide to visit the Belvedere Palace (or “Schloss Belvedere” for those of you who speak German) because it has gardens!

Here are a few pictures of our walk to the palace:

The Vienna Opera House — we must go there!

Our hotel is on this street.

Rent-a-bike.

A covered walkway.

Vienna has lots of white buildings with gold flourishes.

We arrived at the palace just before noon.  We followed the Vienna Ring,  a series of tram tracks and roads the circle the old part of Vienna where we are staying, to the Belvedere Palace.   This is the former residence of the Prince of Savoy (a highly decorated military general who called himself a “prince” even though he has no blood line to anyone royal).  This palace is actually two palaces, the second was built because the first was not big enough.  Today one palace (the “Upper”)  houses the Museum of Medieval Austrian Art and the Museum of Austrian Baroque; and a second (the “Lower”) contains the Austrian Gallery.   Between the two palaces is an impressive garden.  The gardens are nice but not as lush as the perfect French garden.   However, like the French garden, this one was huge (two football fields in length I would guess)!   As you may know by now, photographs are not allowed in the museum, but here are some pictures of the palaces and gardens.

The entry to the Belvedere Upper Palace (Vienna, Austria).

Entry to the Belvedere Gardens.

The entry of the Upper Belvedere Palace.

View of the garden from the balcony of the Upper Belvedere Palace.

In the garden — view of the Upper Belvedere Palace.

View of the Upper Belvedere Palace from the garden.

View of the Lower Belvedere Palace from the garden.

We did not leave the Belvedere until around 5pm – there is that much to see here!   I blame the excellent audio guide that describes all the significant paintings in glorious detail.   Also, this museum houses the original  “The Kiss”, a famous painting  by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908.   As a matter of fact, there is a whole wing of the museum dedicated to him.    Klimt was an interesting guy – he was 45 when he painted The Kiss and still living with his mother and two unmarried sisters.  He was a respectable Austrian artist with  a ferocious sexual appetite.

Another interesting artist featured here was Carl Schuch.   Carl liked to be known as a “colorist” and as such, he analyzed the characteristics of color and the effects of light on color .   He eventually went crazy doing so but he created some beautiful work none the less!  Click here to see some images of his paintings.

Enough art appreciation, back to our vacation….

We walked back to the hotel and rested up a bit.

At around 8pm, we went back to the Vienna City Hall to get some food at the Film Festival.  The evening before, we scouted out the food stands and I decided that tonight was the night of good old fashioned sausages, sauerkraut, and a beer!    The crowd was thick but we figured out how things worked – you stood in line and once you were at the food stall, you pointed at the sausage and sides you wanted.   Then I took my plate to the cashier who poured me a tall beer and I paid for the meal.    By this time, my DH found us a small table to stand at with two other German men enjoying a meal of Chinese noodles.   The sausage was excellent with the hot mustard and sauerkraut!   I also got the fried potatoes (also excellent) for my DH since he is not into pickled cabbage.  It brought back to me good memories of my childhood in Wisconsin where sausage and kraut are the classic summer foods.

I will have one of those dark sausages!

The film tonight was Mozart’s “Magic Flute”.  While at the hotel, I researched this opera.  It is based on a German folktale.  It is one of the few operas Mozart wrote for a German audience.  The story is weird – a great snake threatens to kill our hero who passed out from the fear of it.  The snake is killed by three witches who are in service of the “Queen of the Night”.   When our hero wakes up, he is led to believe that a crazy chicken merchant killed the snake.   The three witches punish the crazy chicken merchant for his lie by locking his mouth shut with a lock.  For some reason that is beyond me, the three witches give our cowardly hero a “magic flute” to protect him from harm.  Had enough?  We did.

A little night music in Vienna, Austria.

It was a great day in Vienna.   The culture is fantastic and we can connect to the internet almost anywhere!    My DH told me that he believes he really is more of a Northern European kind of guy.  Everything here is orderly, clean, and there have been few surprises in how things work here.   I love the whole  feel to the place, it reminds me of Wisconsin — and that is not a bad thing!

Quote of the day:   “So, he just called himself a ‘Prince’ and that was it?” — Anna to DH

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