Tue - Sep 17
This was a perfect day for poor weather. Cloudy, drizzly, and cold. But we dressed for it and went off for a day of cultural sights.
First up, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, or as Rick Steves refers to it, the Kunsthistorywhateveritis Museum. We expected to spend some of the morning there, but this museum was just overflowing with great art. Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rubens, Vermeer, Durer, Bosch and the largest collection of Bruegel in the world (16th C answer to Norman Rockwell) and we loved all of his paintings.
The rooms are big, and one of the surprises was the sofa like seating in the room so that you could sit and lean back comfortably as you eyed the art. Some of the pieces were immense, some just large.
The museum opened at ten and we left a little after 12:30pm. We just lost track of the time.
So we stopped for a lunch break, mainly salads and soup and at 2pm headed over to the Opera for a tour. Their English tour starts at 2pm, and the line to buy tickets was out into the street. Umbrellas open for all. Inside we got tickets for our tour (they do different ones in 5 languages and even give discounts for us seniors). We sort of lucked out because even though we couldn't do a backstage tour we were able to see them setting the stage up for tonight's performance of Othello (they already had the outside seats set up for those stalwarts who would watch it on the TV screen outside).
If you've ever gone to a live opera you know that Supertitles are the thing, a display on an LED board that sits over the stage that shows an English translation of what the singers are saying. The problem is that if you are close in you have to crane your neck up, and if too far back then you may need binoculars. The Vienna opera instead places a small LED screen, about 12" across and 2" vertically, on the seat back in front of you and it's movable and can be tilted to your view.
The tour ended about 3:15pm and we headed over to the Albertina, the tip of the Hofburg Palace and then the Balcony of Empress Maria Theresa's daughter Maria Christina, who lived at this end of the palace. Among other things they had a great exhibition of Monet & Picasso works, and a few Chagall's, and other impressionists and post impressionists, in very large salons with great views and explanations of each in both German and English.
At 4:30pm we stopped at Cafe Schwarzenberg for our daily coffee break, a recommendation from a business contact who lived in Vienna. This cafe is a a very traditional Vienna cafe and has been around since 1861.
As we left for the hotel the sun came blazing out and the sky started showing lots of blue. Typical weather after your day is done. We can only hope it follows through tomorrow.
We got back to the hotel about 6pm, and decided not to go out for dinner. Instead we took advantage of the Hilton's Executive Lounge evening snacks. Roasted chicken pieces, Tagliatelli, breads, cheeses, liquor and wine. We then rolled back to the room to blog, watch some TV, and sleep. One beautiful sight, before we left the room, was just happening to look out and see the brightest rainbow arching across the sky over Vienna.
By the way, for those of you who watch Law & Order UK on the BBC channel, we were watching some British game show and who's the emcee but the chief detective on the series.
If you haven't noticed yet our days are simple to plan. Awake, eat, tour something, eat, tour again, eat, maybe another tour, rest, eat, sleep. Repeat.
So, tomorrow is our last full day, and maybe a few hours Thursday morning before we head to the airport. These past 17 days have flown.
For now, Auf Weidersehen