my dear beethoven, and the clean streets of vienna

Vienna Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 8 › view all entries

What an amazing difference between the trains in Italy and Austria.  Our train to Vienna had real sheets, and down pillows, whereas in Italy we had felt blankets and pillows the size of our heads, stuffed with cotton balls.  Vienna was so pristine, open, clean, in contrast to the cities we had left behind in Italy. 

Close to the station lay the castle Belvedere, which had become an incredibly rich museum of paintings from greats such as Gustav Klimt, Van Gogh, and Monet.  We frolicked in the gardens, which were guarded by the sacred sphinxes.  I happen to remember sitting on the park bench, languidly smoking a cigarette, reflecting with jesse how far we had come, how much we had seen, in such a small amount of time.

  We knew we would get up right then and head to the central cemetery, where Beethoven, Strauss, and many other famous composers were buried. 

My heart was overwhelmed.  my beautiful Beethoven, I could kneel on your grave and weep.  For someone that left such amazing gifts behind, his grave was quite simple.  A marble obelisque embossed with what looked like a golden harp.  I expected angels strumming harps.  We picked daisies and settled them on his grave, sent a little prayer of thanks, to his immortality, and to the incredible music he created.   The world knows him, yet he died a poor man, with most mysterious secret..."my angel, my all, my very self...my thoughts go out to you, my immortal beloved. Now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us.  I can live only wholly with you, or not at all..."

 

The central cemetery had buriedgreat composers, royalty, the merchants, the tradesmen.  One particular grave struck me.  A statue of a woman, leaning back against the grave stone, hands folded.  I thought back to the Pieta, how the ancient European wisdom accepts death with solemnity and relief.  Her mouth almost looks as though she has exhaled a breath of exhaustion.  her chest rich and full, rippling folds of her dress.  I admire the strong arms, the almost demure tilt of the head - yet the eyes are questioning with slight wonderment.  It is not even the moments that move you at times, but the small wonders of human grief.

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Vienna
photo by: EmyG