Archive for the ‘austria’ Category

mais oui

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Today on the train between Vienna and Salzburg I pulled myself back to myself. I thought about all the things I have to look forward to when I get home, and how the future excites me, and how it scares me almost as much. I remembered looking forward to this trip in almost the same way, and I thought about how much I have seen and the lessons I have learned and the lessons I have begun to learn and the lessons I will have to learn a hundred times and the lessons I will probably never learn. I have been sleepwalking a lot lately, thinking about anything other than right now, right here–and that kind of stuff ought to be saved for the kind of 9-to-5 tedium I quit to come here. I’m sorry, guys. I am so fucking lucky–lucky to be here living out my romantic fantasies of lonely wandering down cobblestone streets, and lucky to have my amazing home to look forward to returning to.

I was thinking these things and suddenly the ground outside the train was dusted with snow. And then there was snow in the air too. And then the snow was gone, and I sunk into my chair and felt homesick. But, you know, epiphanies are there. It snowed on and off, I slept on and off, I dreamed on and off.

Here in Munich it is raining.

I realized on the u-bahn a few hours ago that I left my favorite pair of jeans and a black skirt I’ve had for years and years in my hostel room in Vienna, draped over something to get the rest of the way dry. They both had holes in them… I guess you gotta let things go, sometimes.

towards the light (vienna, austria)

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I always kind of thought that when I went to Vienna I would walk by myself down wide lanes surrounded by old buildings, and snow would gently fall from a darkening sky… alas, it’s just rain rain rain, but s’okay. Feels like home.

Last night I did laundry (yay) and then left my not-quite-dry clothes draped everywhere and took the u-bahn into the center of town to see pretty lights and maybe a Christmas market or two. I didn’t find any markets (it was 9:30ish, though, a little late for them probably), but the pretty lights, very much yes–

The big sculpture is a monument some king and/or emperor made to thank God for not killing him during the Plague.

Today has been busy and full. In the morning I trotted around following Rick Steves’ self-guided walking tour between the Opera, St Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Hapsburg Palaces.

Monument against war and fascism.

St. Stephen’s. The roof burned down in WWII, and people who contributed to its rebuilding “own” each of the new roof tiles.

Rick Steves says that this column is a penis, and that together with its partner (a vagina in theory, but it was covered in scaffolding. I dunno, it’s easy enough to say a column is a penis; I’m not sure how you’d make a column look like a vagina) they symbolize creation.

Gothic pulpit (THAT’S THE WORD I have been trying to remember for weeks!) carved out of sandstone, with a self-portrait of the artist peaking out from underneath!

When I stepped into the cathedral last night, it was mostly dark and closed-ish, but someone was playing this organ. It was lovely.

In the window of a very fancy chocolate shop.

The palace gates.

Hercules kickin’ ass.

Three different kinds of clocks–I have no idea what the top one is… anyone?

I walked through the palace grounds to a Christmas market, where I bought an enormous chocolate-covered pretzel thing, and then went to the Kunsthistoriches Museum (I think I’m spelling that right), where I wandered huge grand rooms full of old paintings of naked women and suffering Jesuses. My enjoyment of that kind of stuff wanes the longer I am on my feet, so I left when I stopped having fun to go to Secession, a little art nouveau building that houses temporary contemporary exhibitions (heh) and also Gustav Klimt’s “Beethoven Frieze.”

The frieze was a treat to see, and the temporary exhibitions were weird video installation art. I don’t think I have ever seen video installation art that wasn’t weird. Sometimes it’s good weird and sometimes it’s just weird.

Then I went to Naschmarkt, which was almost like La Boqueria in Barcelona–I even found tasty tropical fruit juices. So, rockin’.

THEN I invested a good amount of time and walking into finding the KunstHausWien (literally ArtHouseVienna), aka the Hundertwasser Museum. Have you ever heard of Hundertwasser? I hadn’t, actually, but Rick Steves’ description sounded intriguing. IT WAS AWESOME. Here’s my first view of the building when I finally found it:

Is that a heart-lifting sight or what?

I broke the rules to take this picture from inside the exhibition of Hundertwasser’s artwork, because this “tree tenant” and the pinwheel stuck in the mesh were just too much and much too charming.

One of the tree tenants from outside.

I also loved his paintings and graphic art. Here’s an example from google image search:

There was also an interesting and sexy exhibition of photography by Lucien Clergue that I enjoyed very much. So, score.

But really–every time I sit down for a few minutes I stand back up again feeling… sore. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m trying not to think about it too much.

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