Vienna: 18th February 2004
Really didn’t sleep at all well last night – tum was killing & felt hot and cold and just couldn’t seem to get comfy on the air bed. I am sure that I woke up when the others did but when I woke up properly there was no one else here. So I showered and stuff and lounged a bit before heading out. I thought I had best check the digital camera and see that it was working, but it wouldn’t let me take any photos – I could only look at ones that I had already taken. Not much bloody use!! So off I set, guide book in hand, to go and visit some galleries. The first port of call was Museumsquartier which opened in the summer of 2001. It is a complex of culture and I went to two of the museums in it the MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art) and the Leopold Museum.
The complex is a long thin pink sort of building and you go through that to get to the other two museums that I went to see. When you walk through and see this building it is really surreal.
It’s like you are on another planet – it just seems so out of place it’s unreal. It has firing holes in it like they used to have on castles and it looks like a graphite cube just placed there. The entrance is about 1/2 way up some stairs on the opposite side to the one that you can see in the picture. When you wk in it is very similar to the inside of the Tate Modern – dark and oppressive with loads of really thick glass everywhere and see thru lifts. I was greeted by a young Ozzie Osborne who spoke English like the Germans out of Allo Allo. I was asked to put my bag and coat away – not a problem at all, particularly as it was all free.
The top of the museum was a temporary exhibit called X Screen which was a combination of art and the cinema but in my eyes it was a pile of shite & I’m certain that I could earn far more money as a modern artist than I will ever do as a teacher. There was such a lot of crap in there, including a totally white chess set and two chairs by Yoko Ono. Amusing frankly but also bizzare! I kind of walked around with my eyes wide open – its hardly surprising really that hardly anyone was actually in the museum! It amused me that on the way out I heard and then saw a Brit having a to do with the guy on the door as he wouldn’t let her walk around with her handbag. For heavens sake, rules are rules just get on with it love. After coming out of ‘The Ark’ I then moved across the courtyard to the Leopold Museum.
You had to pay to put your coats in here but I didn’t mind – hey, I’m on holiday! I decided to get an audio guide seeing as I had only ever heard of one of these artists it would be good for me to learn a bit more about them – it would also help pass the time! This place was another random cube in the middle of no where but it really didn’t feel that surreal compared to the other one as it was lighter. The centre gave all the light as it was a room that went all the way to the very top of the building kind of like the Tate again, but this time the original! The paintings weren’t frankly so strange in here but they did start getting that way on the second floor which I almost ran around and saw a sample – or rather a taster of what was in the 3rd floor and decided to take a break from culture – mini overload happening here! I headed for the coffee house – or rather the cafe.
Didn’t spot a menu – I was getting quite hungry by now! I was glad that I didn’t ask for one when I did find one it was all in German and I couldn’t understand a word of it. I drank my coffee and had my glass of water and scarpered. I popped into the shop for a couple of postcards and got the book that the diary was originally written in too to stick all of the bits in. I found a classic postcard that I am going to send to Hugo which is a cow eating grass – but not your ordinary lawn variety! Thought that he would appreciate that much more than some pictures of Vienna!
The collection of paintings in the Leopold was a private collection of a man called Rudolph Leopold (and later his wife Elisabeth) undeniably there were some odd paintings in there but many of the artists I had not heard of before as they were all Austrian.
He had been building up the collection for a number of years – from when he was a very young man – I’m sure it’s worth a fortune. I had kind of been rated out by that time and so instead of going to the Museum of Fine Art I decided to make a trip to the Hofburg which is the large imperial palace with its grand sweeping crescent. It is a variety of architectural styles as sections were added over time. The Hapsburgs had based themselves here over 6 centuries from the first Emperor – Rudolph I in 1279 to the last in 1918 – Charles I. I spotted one of the Vienna Sightseeing Tours stopping here – I might get on one of those tomorrow so that I can make sure that I don’t miss out on any of the really important sights! I did a bit of reading of the jolly old guide book to see what was in the palace in case there was anything really worth seeing and decided to go to the Schatzkammer which is the Imperial Treasury. It contained secular and ecclesiastical treasures and the RE co-ordinater in me wanted to see the section of the True Cross, one of the nails of the crucifixion and one if the thorns that is supposed to have come from Christ’s crown.
There were several amazing pieces of royal treasures including a HUGE emerald in the world. Amazing crowns adorned with fabulous diamonds and other gem stones. Breathtaking but I bet that they would have been really heavy to wear.
There were loads if royal robes too and bishops cloaks which I kind of bypassed as I had seen the main attraction and frankly time was pressing on! Got a couple of post cards and a picture guide to Vienna – a cheaper version than the Golden Book but it looks just as good!
This is an agate bowl that is believed to have caught the first drops of Christ’s blood when he was on the cross. It is all made from one piece – although I hasten to add that I have no idea what agate is!! Some letters were meant to have miraculously appeared on the bowl that weren’t engraved or anything but I just couldn’t see them! Perhaps it was like those Magic Eye things when it depends how you look at it!!
Another amazing piece was this golden rose
The whole thing was made of gold but I can’t for the life of me remember who or why it was made?!! The top of the top rose came off so some smelly stuff could be put in there so that it smelt beautiful as well as looking it.
From here I then went on a little miander and thought of just having a stroll through some of the streets to get a bit of a feel of the place instead of just seeing the sights. Wherever I was I managed to end up somewhere near Motzarts House (which Sarah had told me was not worth the time of day) I thought that I might as well go and see it as I was in the area. My god she was right though – not that I doubted her. There was pretty much nothing there and it was not actually that easy to find. To try and entertainthier customers they had made little cover things to go over all of the labels for the random things that they could find that were oh so vaguelly connected to Motzart! At least I can say that I have been there though – hey!
It mildly amused me that it was called the Figaro House before I realised that he named the opera after his house and not the other way around! Quite sad really! I certainly wouldnt call an opera No 55 Faulkland Road – but then again I am not writing an opera so I dont need to worry about the naming of one! Motzarts House was really near Stephensdom – St. Stephen’s Cathedral which has the brightly coloured tiles on the roof. It was really quite gothic inside and incredibly dark. Some amazing stained glass though. Quite a freaky blue and red one sort of behind you when you walk towards the alter. There were loads of beggars outside which is typical for the church in a city – impinging on people’s good will I suppose. I had a coffee in the Museumsquaiter on the way home in one of the little coffee houses there – did it all through pointing and vacant looks! I promosed to take them both out for a meal to thank them for having me and so we did that this evening. They chose the venue – a Vienese style restaurant wherew I had some typical Vienese pasta sort of dish with oninos, ham and egg – it was quite nice really and then I had some chocolate pudding which Sarah had recommended – equally delicious but I just couldnt fit it all in. My ears went really funny during the meal and I couldnt hear a thing. I tried popping them but that just made the really hurt loads. After supper Sarah went home to do some more proof reading that she ahd to do by tomorrow and Tom and I headed back to the Irish pub which he had left me in yesterday, to watch the football as England were playing a friendly against Portugal. Kick off wasnty until 1015 and we missed about 25 mins of the first half but that was ok – frankly it was a shocking match ending in 1 all but the Portugese had a free kick which led to a goal but just beofre that the ref had spotted a very clear hand ball. It was good to watch though – even if it was a littel surreal! There were a couple of people in there that Tom knew from work and some of them had been in there since straight after work – they finish at 6! We got home at about 1245 and went straight to bed – blister ont he left foot really stinging! Got another blanket and so hopefully I will be warmer tonight and so have a better bights sleep.