Wednesday March 28 Ė Vienna


Our last performance day. Michelle and Suzi just got back this morning from Venice, so we had to regroup a bit and plan the day. They slept pretty well on the overnight train, so we were in good shape.

In the late morning, I went out exploring as usual. Headed towards Beethovenplatz, which is in walking distance. On the way a German-speaking man, clearly a tourist, asked me for directions to the U-bahn; he didnít speak any English, so I had to tell him in my faulty German. Iím pleased to report that I was successful! Being here several weeks does help, I guess.

Anyway, on to Beethovenplatz, with a grand statues of him, 9 putti (cupid-like creatures) at his feet representing the nine symphonies. A small but pleasant park square surrounds him. From there I went on to Stadtpark, which is a fairly large (several city blocks) city park. The Wien river runs along one edge, but itís all conrolled with concrete channels, so not particularly photogenic. The park itself was lovely. Spring is arriving, and there were quite a few flowers in bloom Ė lots of daffodils, a few early tulips, bright yellow forsythia bushes, some trees in flower, etc. The paths curve in and out through the park, so you never know quite where youíll end up next. Scattered about are statues to important people, especially composers; Johann Strauss, Schubert, Bruckner, etc. And thereís a nice big pond near the middle of the park, with the inevitable mallard ducks in it. So that was a very pleasant walk. There were quite a few people there, either walking or just sitting on a bench somewhere enjoying the day. The weather was great, sunny and not cold.

After I left Stadtpark, I grabbed the subway to go over to the Rathaus, the Ďnewí Town Hall. Wow, what a massive place it is! Built in the late 19th century, but in Gothic style, and HUGE! Many stories tall (I didnít count them) and covering two big city blocks. I wasnít expecting it to be so big. Then facing it across a big street is the Hofburg Theater, another beautiful big building. There was some other fancy building with gold-topped columns and winged horses and such which I didnít identify, and looking down the street I could see Votivekircheís spires on prominent display. So yet another impressive area! As Iíve said before, there are new wonders around every corner here.

After the Rathaus (not open to tourists) I had to head back to get ready for our afternoon concert. Stopped on the way through Resselpark (Karlsplatz) to seek out the Brahms statue, since this seemed to be my statue day, and also took a closer look at the beautiful old U-bahn stations from the 1890s Ė one is now a cafť, the other I think is used sporadically for art exhibits. Beautiful design.

Our last concert turned out to be a bit of an adventure. We were meeting Nancy at the U-bahn stop nearest the place, but didnít have the address. Well, Nancy didnít arrive! We waited for a while, but realized that we were going to miss our own performance if we didnít find the place ourselves! This was in a retirement community, not a recital hall. Asked at the nearest Tabak (tobacco shop, which also sells stamps and other odds and ends) but they didnít really know, they suggested a direction to try which we did, but that turned out to be just regular apartment buildings. Nancy still wasnít at the meeting point, so I asked an elderly lady who was walking by, and she knew of the place and was able to tell me (in German, directions not street names) where it was. And we found it! That was quite a relief. It was a very nice place, with a lot of active seniors, a good stage and good piano. I was just trying to face up to doing all the speaking to our audience in German, when Nancy arrived. Her subway train had broken down, everyone had to get out and find their own way. She was in an unfamiliar part of the city, and had a terrible time. Poor thing. We were very relieved to see her, mostly because we were worried about her (sheís never late!) but also because that meant I wouldnít have to do the talking! And besides, we wanted to be together for this last time.

The program went fine. Nice cake afterwards. Suzi and Michelle came back to my apartment with me to unload Siziís camera onto my computer again, and then we met my long-lost friend Damien and his wife for dinner. They took us to Augustinerkeller, a fun cellar-restaurant under the Albertina Museum (near the Opera House). The food was great, the atmosphere very cheerful, good accordion player, and we really enjoyed meeting Damienís wife Edith, an Austrian who was an English teacher. Sheís lived all her life in the same apartment here in Vienna Ė grew up there, survived Occupation there, they lived there with her parents after their marriage, raised 5 girls, and are still living there now. I canít imagine that kind of consistency, but it works for her!

So, that was a very pleasant end to the day.

Love to all,

Carlyn

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