First Day in Vienna art, but not wine
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
June 11th, 2009 – by: sarahelaine
In the morning, we visited the enormous Leopold Museum in the Museum Quarter, which ended up taking a lot longer than we thought it would. For a start, what looks relatively large even from the outside has two levels of basement. Leopold was an early collector of the works of Egon Schiele, who wasn't an artist I was familiar with, but having gone around the large retrospective of his work on the ground floor, he is now up with my favourites.
The Leopold was also hosting a large exhibition about Jugendstyle, which turned out to be the proper name for Art Nouveau. This was a genre I had always totally dismissed, because I was only familiar with the rather languid women in the advertising posters and the rose jewelry sold in Every Single Gift SHop in the Whole of Scotland; Renie Mackintosh stuff is firmly in the pretty-but-dull part of my mental filing syste. But Jugendstyle goes well beyond this; there were beautifully composed portraits and landscapes too, and although there was jewelry, the benefit of not having seen it on every neck in Scotland meant it was still interesting.
First, we made our first unsuccessful attempt to see St Stephen's cathedral, but there was a mass on. I don't like sightseeing during mass - it always seems very disrespectful - so we wandered back off withthe thought that we would see it tomorrow, and found an icecream cafe. Proper Italian Icecream served in a bright pink cafe was a great idea; I had some sort of blackforest cake inspired sundae with lashings of cream and cherry brandy. As my feet were a bit sore and I was tired, I was a little grumpy about Allie's offer to show me some of the cool architecture on offer in Vienna, but I allowed myself to be persuaded, and i was extremely glad I did.
We got on a subway train, and went out along the Danube until I was at a complete loss where Allie was taking me. Almost at the very end of the line, we got off in a dull sort of suburb, and I was still at a loss until we left the station and saw...
The municipal heating plant and incinerator! Well, in most cities, this would not be a trip you would make. But in Vienna, the incinerator plant has been decorated by a mad artist called Hunderwasser. It looks like a palace designed by Doctor Seuss and decorated by Gaudi, assuming he had access to psychadelic drugs. It's incredible. And there is a forest on teh roof of the incinerator. It's enough to make you think you had been dreaming, and well worth the trip out. Pausing to admire some vanadlism on a political poster, we got on a tram back into the city.
The tram took us past the city to the Hunderwasser Haus on the other edge of the city, which is also very very cool. It is a private appartment block so you can only see the outside, but it's still worth a trip out.
After that we went to the Prater gardens to ride the big wheel, which was lovely. It must have been an incredible piece of engineering when it was built, because it is still very impressive today, missing half of its carriages and still towering over the gardens. It's a shame the exchange rate made it so expensive, but it's still worthwhile. We walked back into the city centre and caught another metro to a favourite restaurant of Allie's, The 7 Stern brau (I'll check the spelling later).
Essentially a microbrewery, the 7 Stern Brau does an excellent range of beers and the food was great.
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