Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wien as the natives call it

Today is a red letter day for Caron because one of her "must do's" was to visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. I thought that she may have got the name wrong, after all having a Spanish Riding School in the middle of Austria is like having the Vienna boys choir located just outside Durban. It just doesn't go; nevertheless, there is indeed a Spanish Riding School and it is the home to the Lippizaner horses and the only place one can see them in the world! Apart from about 10km from home that is but the Austrians are very stum about that little factoid!

We woke up and it was still pouring with rain so we had to go into hermit mode and do everything in the bell of the tent which is awkward. Caron is starting to make noises about buying another tent and she keeps pointing out one's that she likes. Most of them look vaguely like a house.

We walked off to the bus station and waited for the bus in the rain holding our umbrella's purchased in Venice almost a month ago above our heads. I must say that, in general, I hate using buses as public transportation in strange cities and especially when one can't speak the language. This is from experience where it is just too easy to either get on the wrong bus or having managed to get the right one, to miss one's stop. In this case my misgivings were misplaced and it would have been hard to miss the stop since it was the end of the line and pretty obvious that one had reached the tube station.

After a little bit of to and fro trying to find the tube platform, as distinct from the train platforms which all look the same, we took the next tube that was Wien bound but it stopped two stations on and everyone on the train got off so we, being good sheep, got off too. It turns out that there was a problem with the line and we had to get onto another bus to skip out a couple of stations before we could get back onto the underground. It's all very well organised once one knows what is going on but to a stranger it is very confusing!

First order of the day was to find the Spanish Riding School which we managed without any further adventures and booked ourselves in for the 15:00 guided tour of the actual grounds rather than a performance because besides being very expensive (upto about 100EUR per person), we are able to see equivalent performances at home.

With about 4 hours to kill and it still raining cats and dogs we went in search of a coffee house which we found just opposite the Albertina gallery. St. Tropez can breath a sigh of relief, they are no longer the most expensive coffee we've had. The Cafe Mozart now holds the record at 4.60 for a cup although I have to admit that it really was very good coffee!

The Albertina has two exhibitions on at the moment, one on Rembrandt and the Dutch painters of that period and then an exhibition of paintings from the impressionists on including Monets, Picasso's, Chagall, Klee, Klimt, Kadinsky, Matisse, Renoir. The Rembrandts that they had on show were quite stunning and I particularly like his self portrait and the three crosses which are both etchings (I think) as well as his self portrait which is an oil painting. There was also a painting by Michiel Musscher, of whom I have never heard, that was particularly good. I enjoyed some of the older modern art but as Caron says, where is the skill in some of the modern art and if the artist isn't speaking in a language that the audience can understand, what is the point?

When we emerged from a very interesting few hours it had stopped raining so we went for a walk around the gardens at the back of the Hofburg where I spotted this.

I think that this is meant to be protest art but I think that the artist has missed the point. The sign is not addressed to him only, it is meant for everyone so that everyone can appreciate the gardens. It would seem that boredom is setting in, of course he may just be having a joke at everyone's expense!

The 15:00 finally arrived and we filed in to see the stables, the tack room, the automated horse walking thingy and finally the hall where the performances are held. I think Caron really enjoyed it but it wasn't the most exciting thing for me. We weren't allowed photo's or to touch the horses but they look exactly like the one's at home.

Coming out of the Spanish Riding School we wandered around central Wien for a while before finding ourselves in Karlsplatz in front of Karlskirche which made us think of Carl so for the record, this is Carl's Church.

We negotiated our way around the public transport system and made it home to Klosterneuberg where we saw a stretch hummer. Yes, kitsch knows no boundaries! The rain has still stopped so I have a good time consuming glasses of wine along with cheeses before we had supper and retired for the evening.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

Hi there,
I am so enjoying your blog! Keep up the hard work! Can you believe it is 1 June today? Less than a month till you return. Believe it or not, we are missing you!Have a good day!