Vienna: 20th February 2004
Had a bit of a lie in this morning as Tom had taken the day off work so that he could spend some time with me which was great. After getting some stamps we headed off in the direction of the Secession Building trying to find a post box along the way which we managed to find just by it. I only went in to get the postcard as there were some massive buses outside which meant that taking a picture of the building was a bit of a nightmare. Klints Beethovens frieze is in there but I decided that I would much rather see The Kiss at Belvedere Castle as I know that one!
I managed to take a picture of Bella (the bear that travelled with the children and co on holidays and had its photo taken in random places) on a lamppost by the building and managed to fit the building in too – I had forgotten to take her out with me before now!
So we got on a tram and headed up to the Belvedere Castle which is the most amazing building as you can see from the picture above. Tom wasn’t going to come around the gallery with me as he had obviously done it before, but he did in the end as he wasnt allowed just into the cafe. I REALLY liked Klints work and spent quite a long time in the end looking at all of his paintings – I could quite easily have brought a poster of one to go up in the house but I decided against it as I already have quite a few which I still need to get framed.
The ones that I liked were quite similar to some of the work of the Impressionists work with their use of dots which I think is why I liked them so much. They were square in shape too which is quite odd as a painting of a landscape I thought as they are not usually a perfect square. The colours clearly have not come out so well in the postcards as they were ‘in the canvas’! But that kind of goes without saying I guess!
We then walked to the front of the building and down the sort of French Garden with ornate flower beds (no flowers in them mind – wrong time of the year!) I can imagine that they would be absolutely stunning in the summer. I had to kind of run around the rest of the exhibition apart from the few paintings by the Impressionists which were nice to see – a nice surprise actually as all I had seen in there so far were Austrian painters that I had previously never heard of before coming to Vienna. A lovely Monet was in there that was really colourful, but sadly I couldn’t find a postcard of it though. I called Hugo to wish him a Happy Birthday – it was about half one in the UK and he was in quite a state – I hate to think what sort of state he would be in by the end of the night! He and some friends were planning on hitting all the bars/pubs in Clifton, which as far as I could work out there are either 7,9 or 11 – I can’t remember which must have meant that he kept changing his mind as to how many there were!
We couldn’t decide what to do next – I told Tom that I really didn’t mind as there was really nothing now that I was seriously itching to do. We decided to go to the Burgtheatre and do a guided tour – we arrived just in time as it was 3pm and that is when they started daily. It is one of the prime venues for theatre in the German-speaking world apparently. It was built in the Renaissance style to designs by Godfreid Semper and Karlvon Hasenaur and it had to be partly rebuilt after substantial bombing during World War II. The interior was spectacular with stairway frescoes painted by Gustav Klint and his brother Ernst. We even went on stage and backstage which was quite cool. Tom said that the tour wasn’t that great – it was in German and so he was translating most of it for me but he said that the blokey was saying a lot of very mundane stuff too which he had not bothered to translate for me. We sat in the most expensive seats and saw what it was like to sit in a box too and also in the stalls which I really enjoyed! You can watch the performances from standing up the top for E1.50 which is less than the price of a coffee in the cafe the man told us!
You are allowed to move to one of the seats if you see one free so you could make a saving of E42.50 he was saying. If I spoke German it would have been a bargain to have done really! The performance that was on at the moment is Hamlet but I had done the opera in Buenos Aires standing up in the cheap seats and didn’t understand a word and was really most uncomfortable so I didn’t really fancy it – plus no time left as I leave tomorrow! We then went to Cafe Landtmann which was very posh and I had the same meal as I had when I took Sarah and Tom out for a meal but it came more as a sort of pasta bake this time with some herb cream. It was delicious and very posh, as Tom said, you feel rich just being in there!!
I also had a Bailey’s latte which was delicious. It was in the theatre downstairs in here that TOm’s play was on in the summer, or rather the one that he had a lot to do with, I think that I am right in saying that he was assistant director rather than actually performing in it which is sort of more Sarah’s thing as far as I can gather as she had just taken a part in The Seven Year Itch which is being put on somewhere in the summer – she certainly likes to keep herself busy! She also has plans to open a second-hand book English Book Shop and is doing loads of proof reading and teaching and making music CDs for children. The thing about her teaching (she hasn’t got a degree in it) is that all her lessons are already planned – she just has to pick up the information and teach what is on the sheet. It’s alright for some I have to say!
From there we then walked back to near the jolly old Irish Pub – all paths lead to that place I swear! Wewnet into a bar opposite called 1516 and met a friend of Tom’s who he used to work with at the Economist called Shaheer (I have NO idea if I have spelt that right. He grew up in Greece and has an Iranian passport and so travelling for him at the moment is a bit of a nightmare!) He had just returned from Dubai yesterday and Tom said he never knows when he is coming back – he just calls when he is in Vienna so it is always a nice surprise! I thought that we were meeting him for a couple of drinks and then going home (it was 5pm) well we didn’t leave there until nearly half nine! They had really nice beer which was their own as it was a micro brewery. Some friend of Shaheer’s turned up to meet him too and they were hilarious together taking the piss of Arabs and so on. Sarah finally turned up and in the end we ate in there. I had a steak sarnie and when we had to pay – well that was the last of my Euros! We headed home with Shaheer with the intention of going out again to the Leopold Cafe (I had been there previously during the day) as it was meant to be a hot spot – not like TGI Friday which one of the free guides that I had picked up said which was a load of balls according to Tom. I really didn’t feel like going but didn’t want to be a boring so and so. It was really hot in the cafe and the music was really loud – I couldn’t hear a thing! Help! I’m turning into my mother!! We left there after one drink (another beer) and moved on to somewhere closer to home called SoHo’s – Health and Cocktail bar. You could have aloe vera in your cocktail for example – frankly bizarre! I had a B52 and chatted to Sarah who was telling me that she used to do loads of drugs – not quite sure how the hell we got onto that topic of conversation – but anyhow!
Her and Tom have been going out for 3 years nearly – my how time flies! Shaheer left after one drink there to go back to his hotel and we finished ours – Tom had another and we headed home to bed – blimey another exhausting day. Action and culture packed again to put it mildly! Can’t believe that it is time for me to leave tomorrow – this week has gone so quickly it is unreal. I has been JUST what I have needed though and I have loved every moment.