Tag Archives: Vienna

Euro18: Monday in Vienna

Monday was a fallow day.

And then I returned to my flat to find out what Trump pulled in Helsinki.  And the world is afire.

On the streets of Vienna today:

Two views of the east end of Stephensdom:

And a sudden downpour on Kärtnerstrasse, the main shopping street:

While she insists on walking the dog, poor thing:


Euro18: observations

I journal daily (sometimes almost hourly) when I travel abroad.

And reviewing my travel journals is a delightful way to recall experiences, feelings, observations from my travels over the last 24+ years to four different continents.

This excursion has brought me some new observations, so reminders, and some stories. I’ve shared a couple of the latter already.  (And also.)

Here are some observations . . . .

My flat in Vienna has no garbage disposal.  I’m having to recall what to do with dinner dandruff!

A very kind Swedish kid was watching videos all the way from Newark to Stockholm.  He draped his hoodie across the side of his seat to that his video screen would not interfere with my fitful attempts at sleep.

How easily people switch between languages in Europe!  So many people are multi-lingual!

In Stockholm, whilst watching FIFA World Cup soccer in the executive lounge at the Hilton: the lounge attendant keeps walking into the room, watching a minute of the game, throwing up his hands in disgust at failed goal approaches, and walking out with a sigh.

My schoolboy German is coming along, and apparently people think I’m local at times, so successful is the accent.  But I’m finding English to be more prevalent than I remember from ten years ago.

The EU is fraying.  Voices of illiberalism are gaining strength. Flames of fear are being fanned by right-wing demagogues who then propose they are the solution to the problem they maintain is present, even though emperical evidence does not support their claims.  Even the young Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, is calling for hardening of the open borders that have been a key element of the European experiment.

Policies of mistrust — panic, even — are replacing what has always been a rational, consensus-driven, lead-from-the-middle governing philosophy.

Angela Merkel almost lost her government this month.  The Italians can’t pull anything together.  Hungary is under the thumb of a right-wing heavy.  Poland is verging on civil war.  And America?  My god . . . .

Cold cucumber soup is a delight!

Americans can be real shits when traveling abroad.  (I suppose people from other countries can be as well.)  Witness, in Florence last weekend:

“Is there a ladies nearby.”  New Jersey accent.  Repeated three times, at louder decibels. Met with a blank look from the Italian.  Finally, “Oh god, I just need a toilet.” And there was the word that made sense.

Why don’t people learn to try different words?  When I talk to people for whom English is not the first language, and I get a blank look, I always try to find another way of expressing the idea.  This seems so basic!

And American and Japanese teenagers and college students: stop tapping on your damn smartphones, and start looking up while you walk!  By the way, children, I learned years ago to look up above street level.  In many cities, some of the greatest glories abound on the façades of the buildings!

My impression is that Italians are not as considerate as their northern neighbors.  Not once did I see anyone at all –and certainly not the oblivious youngsters — give up a seat for a person with a cane, or an older person.  Even tram seats marked as for the elderly or handicapped were taken instead by able-bodied folks, usually youngsters.  In Vienna, half the tram jumps up to offer their seat.  Even in NYC!  But not in Italy, or at least not in Florence.

School email never ends.

I guess I just don’t get conceptual art.  The Klimt Beethovenfries was glorious, but the current contemporary installation was lost on me as I visited the Secession on Saturday.


Euro18: crown jewels

Since I have a jahreskarte to several Vienna museums, I went back on Friday to the Imperial Treasury Vienna.

The treasury, which is Austria’s version of the Jewel House at the Tower of London, features a stunning array of ecclesiastical objects, most of which are so overly ornate as to be wearisome.

But the secular treasury is a stunner!

Coronation robes.  The Habsburg hereditary crown.  Insignias of secular orders.  Objects d’art.  Uniforms galore.

The crown of the Holy Roman Empire was kept in Nuremberg for centuries, but has resided in Vienna since the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in the early 1800s (save for a brief sojourn back to Nuremberg under the Nazis).

I spent the €2.50 for the audio guide and wandered and listened and snapped photos for two hours. And the treasury is air-conditioned, which is a plus!

Emerald unction vessel, with 2680 carat emerald! Prague, 1641.

Detail, crown of Stefan Bocskay. Turkey, 1605.

Great cross of the military order of Maria-Therese, 1765.

Great cross of the military order of Maria-Therese, 1765.

Holy Roman Empire imperial crown, finished in the early 1000s. Worn only at the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor. Of German origan, ca. 980. Gold, cloisonné, precious jewels, pearls.

Detail, crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

Detail, Habsburg imperial crown. Prague, 1602.

Orb made in the first quarter of the 17th century to be used at coronations.

Ceremonial garb of one of the orders of merit. I can’t recall which one.

Austrian imperial coronation robe.

Ceremonial crib for the son of Napoleon. Paris, 1811.

Hungarian opal, ca. 1600.

Detail, Habsburg hereditary crown. Prague, 1602. The pearls are killer, but the enamel work on this is stunning.

Euro18: Theatermuseum

The former Palais Lobkowitz is home to one of the state museums, the Theatermuseum.  This place is a melange — theatre artifacts, a library, paintings by Rubens and Van Dyke and Bosch and Cranach the Elder and Titian and the like.

I especially enjoyed this painting ca. 1525 by Joos van Cleve, from Amsterdam.  He titled it “The Holy Family,” but an impish Jesus is pinching Mary’s breast (or maybe he’s just wanting milk), and Joseph looks like an inspiration for “American Gothic” 400 years later.

The collection is deep with Rubens. And the Hieronymous Bosch triptych is truly disturbing.

The Lobkowitz royalty were patrons of Beethoven.  He conducted the premiere of his 4th Symphony in this very hall:

I walked on floors today where Beethoven walked.

Euro18: another tourist day

My days have developed a bit of a routine in the last week.  After breakfast of eggs and fruit and some bread (the latter purchased down the street), I spend a couple of hours on school email and projects.  And then I set out for whatever is on my agenda.

Friday was another tourist day.

In order:

  • post office
  • Naschmarkt
  • Theatermuseum
  • temporary Parlament building tour
  • audio tour of the Treasury
  • a bit of time at Cafe Klimt
  • walk home, but not before buying an Austrian cookbook (sort of the local equivalent of The Joy of Cooking)
  • dinner at the flat
  • FaceTime with the office staff in Webster Groves

One of things that I love to do in other cities and countries is go to their local outdoor markets.  The food-tasting and people-watching and photo-grabbing are always primo!

From the Naschmarkt on Friday:


Euro18: work days

Wednesday and Thursday have been fairly heavy work days here in Vienna, with meetings and conversations that are proving productive!

Since I was in the neighborhood, I did sneak in a visit to the Freud Museum on Thursday.  How surreal to realize that I was standing on the same stairs walked by Freud and Carl Jung and so many others, and that I was in the room where Freud conducted his psychoanalysis, and in the office where he wrote so many of his books.

Freud’s entryway:

In the entry hall, his hat and casual cap and walking stick. Wow.

This was a delightful visit!

Lunch was gyoza at a kiosk at the Rathaus; dinner, lasagna and a salad at La Norma in the city centre.

And this photo from the street around the corner of my flat, AKA, my neighborhood:


Euro18: what happened?

I am sitting on the #71 tram, very near to the front of the first car.  Behind me are three full cars, filled with soft chatter. I am watching the world go by, and not engaging with anyone on the tram.

We pull up to the tram stop, and I hear noises of people shuffling off the tram.  This is typical.

And then suddenly, there is silence.

The tram doors are closed, and the tram is moving, but there is not an iota of chatter. So I turn around, and see, for the first time in my life, a nearly empty tram:

The #71 had pulled up to a major subway stop, and all but two of us on the tram had alighted to take the subway!

For a moment, though, I wondered what had happened . . . .