I visited Schonbrunn Palace and Sisi Museum on the first day. Schonbrunn, a former Imperial country residence, was one of the most glorious palaces of the Habsburgs. It was developed by Prince Eugene of Savoy and became the largest country palace estate under the reign of the Empress Maria Theresia. It was occupied by Franz Josef and, intermittently between jaunts, his wife Elizabeth aka Sisi. Gorgeous interiors, magnificent artwork and interesting displays. The key to visiting a city is mastering the underground as quickly as possible I feel. It opens up so many more opportunities for getting about.
I spent the afternoon at the Sisi Museum - which was great - but the astounding thing was the silver collection. OMG - such an array of crockery and silver and cutlery and glassware and table centrepieces - it went on and on and on. Well worth the visit.
In the evening I had a quick drink with Marton Vilanyi host in Vienna. I think he might have worried that he was neglecting his host duties but he certainly made up for it later! Marton escorted me through the subway to the Bristol Hotel for a fab dinner before I headed off to a Mozart performance - in costume - in the most stupendously golden opera hall I have seen before - books included!
The next day was the Upper Belevedere art collection. What can I say - it was the best collection with all my favourite artists but also ones I'd never heard of. The medieval collection was incredible - so vibrant and well cared for and displayed beautifully. Stunning building too - but the art ..........
As I was walking the collection I was chatting on facebook to my sister in NZ who had visited a year previously. There was something surreal when she asked had I seen Napoleon and his horse yet, just I had sat myself down to gaze at this wonderful painting which I had studied at University in 1981. It was so instant and immediate and we were discussing a piece of art from opposite sides of the world. Technology aye; I might be travelling alone but absolutely not alone or lonely.
I lost my Uber virginity in Vienna. I had been too scared in NZ to try it but when Marton had suggested I catch a gazillion trains and buses to get IST, my response was 'blow this'. My bag weighs a ton which may or not have something to do with the litre of duty free Jameson I am struggling to drink on my own, I don't know the way and while it turned out to be easy on hindsight I just wasn't keen. A nice man in a Mercedes got me there in less than a hour for a very reasonable price.
|The library team from IST: L-R: Marton, me, |
Patrick, Rodrigo and Barbara.
I stayed at the guest quarters on campus - very much like a hotel room except everything was ultra modern and I couldn't turn lights on, get the TV going or dispense soap. It was very comfortable but I did feel a bit like I was in a star trek movie.
|Don't be misled by the lack of glasses on the table.|
|And they are not quite as sweet and harmless as they look|
A very gentle start to the next day, a quiet uber to the airport and an early night to start my Berlin visit.