Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 6/7 - Vienna (I finally love thee) part 1

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for some, we do not have many pictures of Vienna. Mainly due in part to Schatz commandeering of the DSLR in (yes, I do mean in) which he managed to get some specks and was so sullen about this that he refused to take pictures and those he did were mostly "artsy" (did not include family of people) and so I therefore have to resort to using other folks' pictures (if I can find them that is, I will try, no promises) with the exception of one that some of my relatives might claim is NSFW (but not in my world and may appear in part deux).

I was last in Vienna in 1993. At that time I thought its only redeeming virtue was its elderly. In fact, it was really only one elderly man. Every one else was snobby and well, for a lack of a better word... Germanic. We arrived there after my first introduction to Hungary, which was fabulous and glorious and had managed to steal my heart like a glinty-eyed Lothario (Yeah, I am sadly too easily swept away by things like that)... So, I fear that a Sunday in Vienna after a weekend in Budapest in or around 1993, was the worst possible thing I could do to Vienna in terms of how much or how little I esteemed it. I bring up the Sunday thing because it was probably the main catalyst in why I chose not to like the city. Apparently, Vienna in 1993 closed on Sundays, if anything was open it was done begrudgingly... except of course those coffee houses because I have never, ever, ever, been in any place that drinks as much coffee as the whole of Austria. They do take their coffee seriously, and we can thank the Turks that they at least understand what makes for a good cuppa (though I am not so sure they get what a good pastry is, because I still think the Sacher Torte was... well, it left much to be desired).

Where was I? Oh, yeah... I hated Vienna, and by default Austria.

So imagine my horror and disbelief when I found out my husband was actually born there. I jest, I could forgive that.

Anyway, Oma and Opa arrange to enroll Squink into kinder because the Austrians are progressive that way and my 3 year old can go. They load us back up into the Range Rover and send us on our way with some special sticker that says we are allowed to drive on the freeways. I have to interrupt myself to tell you that apparently they charge trucks, as in semi's, 25 cents a km to drive their highways. OK, so Schatz and I head up to Chris's sisters. They live rather close to the train to Vienna so we can take a jaunt up to see the city... and show me and my closed little mind that Austria, and Vienna in particular, was a country (city) of great splendor.

So, when we arrive at the sisters home, "The Godfather - the younger" offers to let us use his flat and stay overnight (I have a sneaking suspicion his mother made him do it). This was a bit unexpected as we did not even bring a toothbrush, but hey I am never one to leave the opportunity go... especially since we called Oma and Opa and they were all gung-ho to have the squink to themselves with out my meddling.

So, we arrange to meet "The Godfather - the elder" (hereafter TGTE) at a cafe near the center of town so he can take us on a city tour. The poor thing. We met up in the most pepto bismol place I have ever been in... the Café Konditorei Aida, where I was introduced to the melange which is the Austrian version of a cappuccino and because it is so nice to say "melange" (go ahead say it, with a faint European accent, doesn't that just roll off you tongue and make you feel all cold and sophisticated inside... yeah, me too!) I proceeded to order it every chance I got.

So, we all sipped our coffee's and "TG-TE" asked where we were interested in going. Here is where I either told him of my fateful previous trip or reminded him of the sad tale. He got a thoughtful look and said... how about we start at St Stephens Cathedral. I agreed, because it was SUNDAY the last time I saw it and the place was closed (OK, it was probably for a mass)! It is a lovely building and filled with all sorts of imagery that makes you think all the men of Europe were probably Freemasons ... which, of course, its architect most probably was.
Here is a picture Schatz took of the interior... but I recommend you read the linked wikipedia article on the place.
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I asked for this to be taken because
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it reminds me of these retablos.

Outside the Cathedral we see this O5 scratched in the surface of the structure. Click on through to read what the photographer wrote (then come back and finish reading this post, because it has taken me a month to write it and well it is the nice thing to do).

My nephew added that Austria was able to retain autonomy after the war once they were able to prove a resistance effort, without it, they would have remained under Russian control. It is interesting that the main resistance fighters were socialists and catholics. Well, no, not really, not once I recall all the catholic priests I knew in South America during the 70's.

Here are some photos of other areas about the cathedral:
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Outside, I think it might be one of the places where outside services were held.

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I am always intrigued by uses of red in churches.

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I was intrigued by how there were these two together, that the one was not tossed (the one on the right) as I figure many churches might do in the USA.

So I have spent enough time on this that it should be made available for one and all to see and read since the world absolutely cannot live without it.
Coming next in the great boring blog slideshow of my trip to Europe: Sisi, you may or may not be my kinda gal and who was Belvedere and did he know Mozart.
I wish I could sing it all to you, musical style, with fine editing and production. I blame most of the sarcasm in this post on Dr Horrible and the Evil League of Evil, I may even be haunted by the thoroughbred of sin. Thank goodness I bought them on iTunes. Shout out to Anne from the League of Awesomeness for the intro... there is a picture all for you in the next Vienna post, well dedicated to you anyway.

5 comments:

noble pig said...

The photographs are just gorgeous! Europe is just so amazing, I haven't been in a while and I craving the architectural fix I get when I;m there.

anne said...

I am very sorry that I can't correct you while singing, but there is no doubt that I am in the evil league of evil hopes and dreams are shattering apart and crashing to the ground...its plain to seeeee the evil inside of meeeeee is on the rise

dreammeanyway said...

I do not understand the reference to the Godfather, that is Italian?

and where is the NSFW picture? You can't promise and not deliver that...

dreammeanyway said...

oh, and the cathedral totally made me think of my one trip to Europe, with my Christian high school...loved it, but after a while all the churches start to look alike...

Blair said...

When we had Squink baptized, instead of the "traditional" God-father and God-mother route, we had two Godfathers... which makes me laugh every time because of the movies. Since the Godfather's are brothers I distinguish them by "The Godfather - The Elder" and "The Godfather - The Younger".
The NSFW picture (via a link) is coming up, though of course some folks may object to the purposeful fondling of a statue that is in the next post up.