Wednesday, August 12, 2009


What a difference a few months make. I just passed a field of sunflowers (on the train) and gone was the bright yellow color of the fields that I saw earlier on my trip. The bright flowers are now heavy and bent over, hiding thier brilliant yellow hue. Well, if they aren't nice to look at, at least they will be good to eat. Mmmm.

Well now to recap Vienna.

What a beautiful city. It's packed with more white and off buildings, palaces and museums, shopping and eateries than I've seen in a while. Once you enter the old city area it's just one building after another filled with architectural delights, from baroque to art noveau to pop art, it's all there in one form or another. And while the color scheme of the buildings arn't teribly exciting (I would generalize it as vanilla), the architecture makes up for it. This is so different from the towns in Italy, filled with square plain buildings but decorated in brightly constrasting colors. This white gives the city a very clean appearance throughout the old city. I spent a good chunk of time just wondering the stone streets, and I've done a lot more walking as of late beacuse I decided to walk everywhere if possible instead of taking the transit. I figured it would give me more of a chance to really see the cities. This is very different from London when I started (and took the metro to get everywhere).

Vienna is packed full of musuems and palaces. It would take months to see it all I feel. As is, I only got around to 4 musuems in the 3 nights I was there. On the day I arrived I visited a museum with one of the largests collections in be world (it had something like 50,000 pieces, all of the masters, etc.). The problem is that they only have a small space available for showing the artwork, so you only see a very small chunk of it (they switch it up every few months). And thus I only saw a small chunk of what they had (a little dissapointing if you ask me). The next two museums where excellent. Day two I visited one of the palaces, which housed a large art collection, including two rooms of Klimt's artwork (the big draw for me). This museum was much more of what I was looking for, and took up a good chunk of the day. And yesterday I visited the Kunsthistoricas (I think that's how it's spelled), which blew me away. It had two and a half rooms of Rubens, a room of Rembrants, tons of other masters, and most importantly several works by Caravagio. It was almost overwheming, and I think I spent at least 4 hours there. It was one of the best art museums that I've been to so far. In seeing these three art museums, I just barely scratched the surface. They have a whole museum district with a bevy of museums in one little area. There were museums in each of the palaces spread across the city. And of course on top of all the art spread throughout the city, there is music events going on all over the place, all the time. I kind of wished I had arrived a day earlier as I could have caught the Vienna boys choir. But alas, I guess I will just have to come back as there is just so much to see.

I also visited a music museum, which sounded kind of cool in the guides. The problem was that most the equipment in there, to learn about and play with sound, was several years (5-10) out of date. Or at least that's what it felt like. It was aimed at a younger age group as well, but did have an informative composer section. Oh well, you hit some good, some not so great, and some middle of the line museums.

Other than hitting those museums, it was the usual business of wondering aimlessly about and running into churches and interesting buildings. The main catherdral was quite interesting, and there were many more packed within the city center, so it was hard not to run into them. I managed to catch a few organ rehearsals, which helped me to stop, sit, relax and listen for a while. The streets where filled with plenty of musical acts, and I caught the big screen version of Carmina Burana. Thus my visit to Vienna was aptly filled with music and art.

There were also were very large shopping streets, one of which I walked down every day to get to the old town. I did notice something that I haven't in other cities, the number of supermarkets seems to actually be proportional to the number of people living in the city. I'm always surprised by how few there seem to be. Often I'll have to walk a good distance from my hostel to find a real supermarket, not a corner store.

Out from the moutain range, the land is now empty and flat as I head towards Prague, another city I've been excited to see (ok I'm excited to see every city, just more so for this one). I've gone and done what I tried not to do when I started, which is book all the rest of my hostels ahead of time. But I only have a limited amount of time left, less than two weeks in fact, and thus I have some set dates where I need to be in places. It is a good feeling to know where I'll be sleeping when I arrive in a city, but it takes away some of the fun of just arriving and seeing what happens.

Well that all to now, next update from Prague.



I am sooooooo glad you got to see some of those museums in Vienna. Was it 'just fine' to see the Klimt's up close?
Now in Prague, you should definitely see more of the Northern Renaissance, in the art work, that I was telling you about. That crystalline character of the painting, contributing immensely to the narrative. Look for Bruegel's paintings. They are delightful. He always has a pivotal area in the composition.

ooo i love Klimt's style. and Rembrandt's light. Caravaggio is so dramatic and always eye-catching.

I'd be just as disappointed by a meuseum that housed so much and showed so little. I can think of a few reasons why they might do that but it still feels unkind.

so did you wander any palaces?