Tag Archives: #Euro18

Euro18: Imperial Carriage Museum

The Imperial Carriage Museum at Schloss Schönbrunn is part of the Kunsthistorische Museum.  It’s a very different experience from the Royal Mews in London.

Since one of my performance site visits on Wednesday was only one subway stop away from Schönbrunn, I went out to the palace to spend some time with the sleighs (!) and carriages.

Look at the detail on this mid-1800s funeral carriage:

And some random other photos:

Euro18: and home

I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.

Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.

At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:

  • Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
  • Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
  • Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
  • Air-conditioning everywhere.
  • Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
  • A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
  • Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
  • Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.

But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.

And DO I did.

The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.

Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.

What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.

What DID I do?

Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.

And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.

Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.

And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.

Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.

Euro18: the Imperial vault

The Habsburg rulers from many previous centuries are all buried in the same vault at the Capuchin Church in Vienna.

On Tuesday, I visited the site.  Empress Maria Theresa’s tomb is the most grand and glorious, of course.

Look closely for the spider web on her nose.

And compare the crown in the hand of death with the Holy Roman Empire crown:

I can’t tell if this is tears on her cheek, or warts.

And while not the last of the line, certainly the last of the great ones:

Euro18: leaving tomorrow

I leave on Thursday.  My flight from Vienna is at 0015 hours USA body time.  This will be a long day, but not the longest I’ve ever had.

My morning included work and tourism, and then a return to the flat to pack.

I said goodbye to Rienoβlsgasse 3 at about 3 p.m., and took a taxi to the Hilton, where I will spend my last night.  And then I checked my large bag — 21 kilos on the nose, so I had about 2.2 pounds to spare!

Thursday, well before dawn, I’ll walk across the street to the CAT and take the 5.37 a.m. train to the airport.  Copenhagen >> Newark >> Saint Louis is the itinerary, with STL expected around 4.30 p.m.

Lord, in your mercy, may the flights be on time!

My last look at the flat:

A selfie before departing (with three-day growth of beard):

And one last bag of paprika chips:

Euro18: the last Tuesday

Tuesday, July 24.

I arrived in Europe three weeks ago this morning.  And just a few minutes ago, I checked in for my return to USA on Thursday.

At coffee with J.P. this morning, we were talking about that inevitable sense we get when traveling on longer journeys — no matter the length of the trip, at some point two or three days prior to the end of the journey, the mind turns homeward and we are just ready to do.

So it is today.

I am also keenly aware that the only in-person non-work and non-transactional interchanges I’ve had with people in three weeks have been with J.P. and Sylvie.  This lack of communication, and the long stretches of silence, have worn on me a bit, as I now understand.

So I’m down to the last 36 hours, and making the most of it!

The Snow Globe Museum is a cute but brief little visit.  I added it to my itinerary after reading one of my guidebooks. Apparently snowglobes were invented here in Vienna, and the company is now under its fourth generation of family leadership. The museum shows old tools and equipment, and samples of some special snowglobes that were one-offs or limited runs.

Also Tuesday, the Schubert birth house, and the church where he wrote his first masses.

Schubert was one of more than a dozen children.  He was a prodigy indeed.  The house where he wrote “Erlkönig” was at some point recently a porn shop, but is no longer!

The church where it happened. Schubert composed his first three masses here, including the famous Deutsche Messe in G Dur.

Also from Tuesday:


.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=29125″ rel=”attachment wp-att-29125″> Typical café scene.

Johannes Honigschnabl. More on him in a later post.

Euro18: old Jewish cemetery

Zentral Friedhof.  Developed by the Viennese city government in the last third of the 19th century.  A land mass half the size of Zurich.  And a dead population larger than the current population of Vienna.

The old Jewish section of the cemetery was established in 1863, with more than 70K burials by the time Austria was occupied by the Third Reich.  Graves were desecrated on Kristallnacht. 

I’ve read various sources that note that the Jewish tradition does not decorate graves the way people in my faith tradition might do.  But the Jewish tradition does tend the graves to keep them tidy.

So on Sunday, I took a sobering walk through a cemetery where no one tends the graves. At all.

Viennese Jews were deported during World War II, and most did not return.  No one is left to tend these graves from the 1800s.

As you can easily see from the panoramic photo, the Jewish section (to the left) is not as tidy as the Protestant section on the other side of the road.

But here’s a lovely idea: watering cans for a deposit, just like grocery carts at Aldi!

By the way, the Wikipedia entry about Central Cemetery is fascinating read!

Euro18: energie

Well, after three weeks abroad, my energy is flagging and my stamina is waning.

Sunday was another big walking day, with more than 13K steps.

And the temperature Monday is just bloody hot. (The next two days are going to be worse.)

After skipping my Salzburg trip on Monday, and doing only two museum visits of shorter duration, I gave up. By 5 p.m. I was napping!

The morning on Monday was spent catching up on emails and writing four pages of a preliminary draft about the results of the curriculum work here in Vienna.  I should have museumed in the morning, then written in the afternoon!

But, truth be told, I am ready to go home.  My mind is starting to disengage, and my spirit is focused on wrapping up.


Euro18: Sunday in Vienna

I took a slower pace on Sunday and found myself watching people even more than usual.

Without being too creepy (and of course any time one writes that phrase, it’s because something creepy is taking place), here are some local color shots from Sunday–

A whole group of Japanese kids and mothers, the children all dressed this way, approached Cafe Schwarzenberg not long after I sat down for lunch. Only one small group actually sat down (the rest going across the street to McDonald’s), and that group was a mother with twin sons. The boys put me to shame, switching easily between German with the waiter, Japanese at the table, and then English after their food arrived when this kid turned to me and asked in faultless English “Would you please take our photo?”. This must be a school group from Japan? What you are not seeing clearly in the photo is the socks that match the dress shorts, and the black patent leather shoes.

I noticed a woman in traditional garb last week. On Sunday I almost missed this one cross the Ringstrasse at Schwarzenbergplatz. She had just thrown down a cigarette.

My lunch: the Steirischer Backhendelsalat is a hit with me.  Yummy yummy good.  And of course Esterhazytorte is my favorite Viennese pastry.  I love the presentation of coffee — in a little pot, with a pitcher of milk, and always a small glass of water!

On the tram to the cemetery, these two sat down in front of me. I surmised quickly that they are twins. They talked softly all the way to the same stop where I alighted, and they carried with them some greenery. The last I saw of them, they were buying flowers outside the cemetery gate. One wonders whose grave(s) they were planning to adorn. A parent? A sibling? Their former husbands?

Notice they are both in plaid, both wearing pearl earrings (although different styles), and both with the same hair rinse.

On the tram, we passed Tropico Markt, which sells”Orientalische” things like Bollywood films and cosmetics and various sauces.

Later, at gelato, this older man was by himself, enjoying his espresso and ice cream, fairly oblivious to the noise and confusion that reigns at Zanoni. At the next table, another solo man. And I was solo too. We were a trio of solo gelato for a few moments. One wonders if this Sunday excursion is a regular one for the man in the blue shirt and light grey twills?

The organ at the Jesuitenkirche, where I heard an outstanding recital of music by Jehan Alain, played by a 28-year-old organist of the church:


Siebensternbräu is a local institution. Alban Berg used to go there for a beer with a friend. J.P. and Sylvie and I enjoyed a beer and dinner on Sunday.

Euro18: Zentral Friedhof

Sunday, July 22.

Holy Eucharist at Christ Church, Vienna. Salad and dessert at Cafe Schwarzenberg.  Visit to Central Cemetery.  Walk in the city center.  Organ recital at the Jesuitenkirche.  Dinner at a bräu in Spittelberg.

Vienna is drizzly tonight.

I had visited the pantheon of composer graves at Zentral Friedhof in 2008, but today I journeyed there again, by tram, to pay respects.

Here are the minor people I found today:

Willi Boskovsky, conductor and violinist.
Lotte Lehmann, the singer.
Gyorgy Ligeti, the composer.
Zemlinsky, the composer.
Adler, the psychiatrist.
I just really liked this stone!

For the biggies, I sang a bit of their music at each of their gravesites, hoping to leave in the air a little of them for others to hear, and hoping that somehow my brief song-offering would be an appropriate “vielen dank” for each of them.

  • Beethoven: the opening motive of the Eroica Sympony
  • Schubert: “Ave Maria”
  • Brahms: “Mainacht” and “Wie bist du, meine Königen”
  • Strauss: the opening melody of the first waltz from Tales of the Vienna Woods
  • Wolf: “Verborgenheit”
  • von Suppe: part of the Poet and Peasant overture
  • Gluck: “Che faro senza Euridice”

And I must say that singing a bit of Beethoven at his grave sent me into a brief fit of weepiness.

Johann Strauss the Younger.
Strauss and Brahms used to have coffee together. Very different aesthetics. But they are also buried side by side.
Johannes Brahms.
Franz Schubert.
Franz von Suppe.
Arnold Schönberg.
Hugo Wolf.
Christoph Gluck.