In Vienna - Retyrement on 2 Wheels - CycleBlaze

September 8, 2019 to September 9, 2019

In Vienna

Following breakfast we head out to view the sights and to see ‘Das Rote Wien’ exhibition. On our way down the Straße  we meet Margaret, an Australian, who is out walking her dog. She tells us she’s living in Vienna and is an opera singer. She is also able to tell us that we can watch tonight’s performance of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann on the big screen beside the opera house- something we are keen to do. 

We walk into the centre- within a couple of kilometres of where we are staying, and look at St Stephen’s first. Mass is on and the format involves tourists from the congregation. Hymns are the same as in NZ. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming- and the service, mostly in English and German. The gothic cathedral itself,  is attractive for its simplicity and lack of baroque flourishes. A peaceful space to wander through.

The Rathaus
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Augustinian church
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Modern stained glass at St Stephens
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‘Das Rote Wien’ is an exhibition detailing the beginning and fruition of a socialist revolution that took place mainly post WW1 , but whose genesis went back to the 1880s and earlier. The movement recognised the impoverishment of workers and sought to rectify it by enabling men and women to build housing, grow food, establish schools and generally support working people. When we visited Vienna in 1979, our host, Peter (we’d met him and Trixi and their daughter Miriam at kindergarten in Hampstead) an architect,  showed us around some of Vienna’s housing, including the Marx workers’ apartments, and here we are 40 years on looking at an exhibition about it.

Red Vienna
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Mary HutchingNo longer there I take it.
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Next, the Leopold Art Gallery is the focus of our attention. This features works from before and between wars, by Gustav Klimt and his Secessionist circle, and the craftsmanship of the Wiener Werkstätte, with furniture, glassware, metalwork, and ceramics also. There are also paintings  by Oskar Kokoschka and the maverick artist Richard Gerstl who were Austrian Expressionists. Austrian art after 1918 is represented by Herbert Boeckl, Anton Faistauer, Anton Kolig, and Wilhelm Thöny. The collection also includes important nineteenth-century works. There’s quite a range of styles and subjects, including landscapes, portraits and human form. Some are quite confronting as they say these days, others use colour in quite a saturated way. There are lots of chairs among the furniture and it is tempting to try one to find out just how comfortable they actually are.

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Klimt
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In the evening we sit on chairs provided and enjoy the first part of opera, The Tales of Hoffmann’. In Part 1 the singing, especially the doll song, is spectacular. Remaining to hear Part  2 is tempting  but we are cold and it’s time for bed. We thread our way back through the  lighted streets to Florianistrasse viewing the shops which are closed, since it’s Sunday.

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Monday. This is our day of rest. After a late breakfast we walk into town and find the bookshop which sells every cycle path map known to man from what I can tell. We buy the Bikeline guide for Eurovelo 9 south of Vienna, to Maribor in Slovenia. For a variety of reasons we have decided to head directly south to Maribor, rather than taking the Danube to Budapest which we’ll have to keep for another day.

A reminder of the past.
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Our only other plan for the day is a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum - which is closed since it’s Monday. Of course yesterday, Sunday, entry was free. Such are the delights of the tourist’s life, despite their expert planning. 

Queue for the Central Cafe
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Wien chic
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Our Wien home.
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Back at our accommodation, we chill, check our bikes and plan.

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