Schnitzel, Schiele, Song
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 21 of 48 › view all entries
It's now my second and last night in Vienna, though I'll spend most of tomorrow here before I leave for Prague. I'm planning to wake up early to see the Vienna Boys Choir sing at mass, then head over to Schönnbrunn Palace and also try to climb the tower of Stephansdom. For the choir, you have to get there before 8 am for a good chance of seeing them sing at 9:15.
I arrived last night from Munich and settled into a 4-bunk dorm at the Wombat's Lounge Hostel in Vienna. The Wombats hostels are some of the nicest I've seen, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to book them for both Munich and Vienna. After a dinner of schnitzel and potato vegetable soup, I attended an extremely touristy but pleasant-all-the-same performance by a small Viennese orchestra. They played highlights mostly by Mozart and Strauss and had a soprano and tenor who sang excerpts from popular operas. The host of the show was super annoying though talented, and I don't know how to describe him as anything other than a ham. The man in front of me was funny because he would nod off and start snoring any time he put down his camera, which wasn't too often. Otherwise he was taking pictures or recording non-stop - maybe just to stay awake : )
If I had the opportunity I would have loved to see the actual Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, but tickets are usually sold out early, and I didn't have the chance to try for the standing room tickets tonight. Vienna is really amazing. Streets are named things like Schubertring or Beethovenplatz because they actually lived here, and there are Mozart themed things everywhere. Tonight I visited a museum called the Haus der Musik which had parts dedicated to all the Viennese musical luminaries and explores the science behind music through these neat interactive displays. My mom would have loved it. You get to find the highest frequency you can personally hear, pretend-direct the philharmonic (which was really silly but fun to wave the baton around) and see what it sounds like to be in the womb. Parts of the museum were really creepy because it's dark inside and the surround sound noises reminded me of an extremely loud horror movie soundtrack.
Besides composers and musicians, Vienna was also home to a ridiculous number of artists and philosophers. Earlier I saw Kafka's favorite place to eat and visited the famous Cafe Hawelka. Lenin, Trotsky and Freud used to play chess together at another cafe down the street. Insane.
I hadn't been to an art museum in a while, so was also excited to visit the Museumquartier, which houses three museums of modern and contemporary art. I spent most of the day there, though I went early with the intention of going elsewhere in the afternoon. The Leopold Museum has the world's largest collection of Egon Schiele's work, which was incredible (but still small! I guess because he died at 28 so didn't get the chance to create a huge collection). I like his drawings much more than his paintings but could spend hours on his stuff alone.
In the MOMAK, I spent most of my time on the lower floors where they focused on 1950s/60s movements like Viennese Actionism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and Mail Art (none of which I'd ever heard of before). While definitely not pretty, the displays are super fascinating and some of them quite funny. There was this one guy named Ben Vautier from Nice who would sign his name and sometimes short phrases on everything and sell it as art, and sometimes he would even put himself on display and attempt to sell his gestures. His handwriting was super neat and childlike, and it made me laugh. I also liked the telegrams that this one dude On Kawara used to send to his friends, which simply read "I AM STILL ALIVE ON KAWARA". I bet I would've found a lot of the artists annoying if I knew them in real life though. On the upper floors they had some really neat exhibits like Yves Klein's fire paintings and choice works by Kandinsky and Magritte and Kupka.
In the Kunstalle wien museum they had a special exhibit called Elastic Taboos, which focused on works by contemporary artists from the Korean diaspora. It's funny. Even as an Asian American studies major, I don't notice the absence of Asian faces in most contemporary exhibitions until I actually see some - and then it's always as a 'special exhibit'. I'm curious to visit some of the modern/contemporary art museums in Asia to see whose works they display. On a somewhat related note, I saw an Asian-looking mannequin in the window of H&M today and held a secret little celebration with myself hehee.
At dinner tonight, I sat next to a couple on a first date. They'd met on FriendFinder.com, and I believe the man was talking to me to show the woman how friendly and outgoing he is. I think they were also sort of using me as a buffer. He was trying to say stuff to her through me, like he'd pretend to be telling me how going on a first date when you're old is different than going on a first date when you're young, because you really look for things that will matter in the long run, like if you'll have a future with the person blahblahblah etc, and then he'd sort of glance at her and at some point reached over and touched her cheek. It was really funny, and I excused myself as soon as possible so they could be alone. Who knows? I may have seen the beginning of a lasting love connection =D haha
Okay anyway I better get to sleep so I don't miss the choir. I missed my original train reservation from Munich to Vienna because I overslept. Good thing there are a billion trains a day that run that route. I caught one the next hour. The end.