Thursday March 22, Vienna


A day without concerts is a day for sightseeing! And Iím happy to say the rain seems to have left us, at least for now. My first adventure of the morning was figuring out the cute little washing machine thatís right in my bathroom Ė with everything in German, and quite mechanics from American washers, it took a little experimenting to get it right. But it is definitely nice to have the machine right here in the apartment. Thatís an unusual luxury for a traveler!

My sightseeing day began with a visit to Haydnís last home, here in Vienna. He clearly was doing well in his career, because he bought a one-story house and had a second story added. There were several rooms of memorabilia, and his own piano; in a "Brahms room" there were articles of Brahmsí furniture, including a clavichord that had once belonged to Haydn, and later was owned by Brahms who apparently venerated Haydn. So that was all very interesting. And itís heartening to see that places like this and Schubertís house, though much smaller than the buildings around them, have been preserved so carefully through the years.

Haydnís house is just a couple of blocks off Viennaís main shopping artery, Mariahilfernstrasse, so I did a little shopping while I was there, mostly back at the game store. :-) Just small items this time, I promise! Then, being in a musical frame of mind, I set out to find Schubertís last home, not all that far from Haydnís house, though easier by U-bahn than to walk. I did find the house, and it is a museum, but with limited open hours which wonít coincide with my schedule. So Iíll have to save that for my next trip to Vienna! [Ditto Haydnís home at Eisenstadt, which doesnít open for the season until March 30, which is the day Iím flying to Barcelona. Theyíd open it a day early just for me, but with a 50 Euro (about $70) surcharge! Iíll wait. I saw his Vienna house this trip.]

Wandered through the Naschtmarkt, the restaurant and outdoor food market strip that runs for many blocks Ė fun just to see all the things that are being offered! Then I decided to finish out the day at the Kunsthistoriche Museum Ė the Museum of Fine Arts. As usual here in Vienna, a magnificent building (twin to the Natural History museum across the plaza). And a magnificent art collection as well. Wonderful rooms of Titians (though not a single redhead!), Tintorettos, Raphaels, Breugels, Rembrandts, etc. All fairly early stuff, nothing more modern than Reubens. I was especially taken with the Breugels and also Flemish painter Lucas van Valkenborch http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/v/valkenbo/index.html , especially his series of paintings depicting various seasons. I always seem drawn to paintings of winter scenes, and his Winter Landscape was no exception.

Then there was the antiquities collection Ė Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc. Very extensive, and beautifully presented. I loved the Art Deco-Egyptian motifs in the Egyptian rooms Ė such a wonderful marriage of styles. And we mustnít forget the famous faience hippo! It really is pretty cool. http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/detail.aspx?id=4966

For once I hit something on the right day Ė Thursday the museum stays open late, so I was able to explore there until after 7 PM. Then dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street from my apartment, and back here to rest my weary feet!

Love to all,

Carlyn

Last updated 12/07. Copyright 2007 by Richard C. Morenus. Questions? Send email to richard.c@morenus.org