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Vienna, III

August 22, 2011

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The front window of Gerstner, a coffee and confectionery shop on the Kartnerstrasse.

Well, now I’m over a week behind, so now we’re at a local park, Alois Drasche Park, so that I can update in a more timely manner. Today is Monday, Aug. 22, and the museums are closed, so we’ve taken the day off of our sightseeing jobs to wash clothes, buy some groceries, and catch up on blogging and sleep.

A word about so-called supermarkets in Europe – there’s nothing comparable to your neighborhood Kroger, Safeway, Vons, etc. Even the most
lavish is pretty much restricted to food, soap, and cosmetics. I still don’t know where we would go to buy a light bulb, or a dish rack for the sink. Booze, in its many forms, is available in great breadth and depth, though. Happily.

Sunday, August 14

As I mentioned earlier, we went to St. Stephans for mass this morning. Ever since Nick landed a choir job at the Santa Barbara mission, we’ve tried to attend mass on our visits there, and this was pretty much the same, except in German.

In the afternoon we took a bike tour.

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The guy in the distance is Walter, our guide. We went to many, many sites, and I won’t try to reproduce each in photos, but here are a few of the less-historic ones:

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The Austrian artist Hundertwasser, who enjoyed some vogue in the 70’s US poster market, designed some public housing apartments in Vienna, in an attempt to enliven the rather uniform look of apartments there.

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The Danube, or Donau as it’s known locally. Brown, but apparently clean.

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On a bridge overlooking the river.

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The Prater, Vienna’s famed amusement park.

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We finished off the day, exhausted, at a local bistro in the company of some women we met on the tour.

Monday, August 15

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The big item for the day was a tour of the Staatsoper.

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Rodin’s bust of Mahler, who conducted there from 1897 to 1907.

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The stage, and…

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…backstage.

Tuesday, August 16

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Today we walked the right half of the Ringstrasse, starting at Karlsplatz, and winding up at Schwedenplatz, just below the Danube canal.

Above is architect Otto Wagner’s design for the Karlsplatz railway station, and one of the few remaining examples of Jugendstil in the inner city.

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Karlskirche, nearby.

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During his tenure at the Staatsoper, Mahler and his family lived here, at 2 Auenbrugergasse, perhaps one of Vienna’s shortest streets.

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We got a preliminary look at the Belvedere, yet another art museum, but we were too tired, and it was too late, so we decided to come back the next day, and cooled off with a half-liter of Zweckl at an eatery close to the apartment.

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