Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Saturday August 18th, 19th, Monday 20th (Days 32 to 34) Vienna

Old Vienna is impressive in an overdone, cramped, symetrical sort of way, whereby, for example, huge stone statues are shown holding up doorways, celings, and other weighty structures. And once you've seen one, and marvelled at the stonemasonary, the abs and the well-developed quads, you've seen them all :-)

On Saturday, we took a tram to the Belverdere palace to get a bit of a culture 'fix'. The art exhibition there was excellent, especially the Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt collections (including "The Kiss"). A little irritated by there prevelance of some people to take pictures of the art, of have pictures taken of themselves in front of the art, rather than actually looking at it. Hey ho.

Bizarre event of the day: John and I were sat in the coffee shop afterwards (great apple strudel) doing the 'discussion of the art' thing that you do when all of a sudden a lady approaches the table. She looks a little sheepish and embarrassed, and asks if she could take my picture as I was a spot on likeness for a couple of Klimt's Secession works (and that this was a compliment - although John did suggest afterwards which works she may have been referring to, and he wasn't being nice!!). After blushing profusely, I agreed and then had to pretend she wasn't there while she snapped a shot or two....

The afternoon was spent meandering around the center of old Vienna avoiding the crowds. We lucked in when we found an awesome map shop near the Spanish Riding School (Freytag and Berndt; http://www.freytagberndt.com/) which had all the maps we needed to complete the routes in Austria and Germany, as well as information about cycling in France which is where we are heading next.

Sunday was another culture-filled day, with a trip to the Leopald Museaum to see more Schiele and Klimt, as well as some work by Paul Rotterdam, Adolf Hölzel and Kolo Moser. I won't go into too many details, but it was a sublime morning.

Exhausted, we staggreed from the gallery and lunched before plotting the rest of the afternoon. More wandering, and then I went for a run along the Donau Kanal, while John went on a search for art prints and posters. That evening, we had an entertaining watching a diablo artist 'juggling' - wow. He was extremely talented - I would have ended up knitting the strings, and making a general mess, but he managed to juggle 3 without dropping them, and remember which was going where at what time.

Monday, I went to the Spanish Riding School, while John headed out to the Albertina for another art injection. I relished immersing myself in a totally equine experience for a couple of hours, watching, reading, and generally absorbing. I, of course, purchased the DVD which I can use to torture John at a later date!! :-)

We 'picnicked' on the balcony overlooking the cathedral, and drank a toast to everyone with a bottle of bubbly. Off on our bikes again tomorrow, which will be excellent, although there is the promise of rain...

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