Well, again today, I feel like I don’t have the usual action-packed day to report. For some reason, Vienna makes me laaaaaazy. I seem to be in a perpetual state of near-narcolepsy here. Can’t explain it….
We did, however, get up early for a run. Sort of. 10am is early, right? After discovering I’d lost my week-long pass for the public transport system, we hopped a bus for Schonbrunn Palace and came in through the park…cassowaries / emus / whatever they were became part of today’s run. This route was novel for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was happening on imperial grounds…it was my first run on gravelly trails and uneven ground. It was really tough to get used to…I guess I can’t say I disliked it…maybe it’s just that it’s new…but I think I prefer pavement or asphalt, even though they’re harder on your joints. I don’t think I made it all the way to 4 miles…I’ve just been guess-timating based upon time…but I tried. Christa knows a place called the Prater she wants me to run in…apparently the route has kilometers marked off…and I want to run along the Danube, too. Two runs left for me in Vienna. I feel like I’ll really get back into the swing of things once I’m home.
On the way back the the house, we stopped at a grocery store in order to make lunch. Christa made a full-on dinner for lunch. She said that lunch is the main meal in Vienna…I can’t remember the last time my lunch plans involved a frying pan, unless it’s the dead of winter and I’m making grilled cheese and soup. No…she boiled potatoes from her mom’s garden and then fried salmon steaks, Greek cheese, and zucchini slices in olive oil…and it was AMAZING. (I know, I use the word AMAZING like every day on this blog, but I can’t tell you how good this was. First thing I’m going to do when I get home is go to Wegman’s and find this cheese she used. SUCH a good lunch.
After lunch, she headed to work and I headed to the Spanish Riding School, hoping to get on the 3pm tour of the School…but it was booked. So I scheduled myself for the Sunday morning tour…will get to watch them practice for two hours on Friday, too. I’m really excited about that.
From there, I went to the Sisi Museum…the museum dedicated to Empress Elisabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Josef. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the miles and miles of silver cutlery and china and golden table dressings…though they were quite ornate…but I really like the part of the museum dedicated to Sisi’s life. She was pretty interesting…got engaged to the Emperor at age 15, had her first of four children two years later, lost her first daughter at just two years old and then her first son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed a murder-suicide with his mistress around age 30, and Sisi never recovered. By then, she was already the Queen (?) of Hungary, too, hated court life, wrote emo poetry and hiked and hunted, and when her son died, she took to wearing all black, became a near-total court recluse, and became obsessed with dieting and cultivating her own beauty. She apparently had a 21-inch waist at age 50, having had four kids, and her servants spent two hours a day on her hair (that’s even more than I spend on MINE, haha). She wouldn’t allow any photos or portraits of herself after age 30. When she was 60 or so, she was stabbed in the breast by an assassin wielding a file no longer than your finger (it was in the museum) and she fell, made a comment about a rogue after her purse, walked onto the boat she was boarding, and fell again…then died an hour or so later. Really tragic figure…tragic family…I think her youngest child, Maria Teresia, was only allowed to stay in Vienna with her fortune after signing away all claims to the Hapsburg throne…but I might have mixed up royals with similar names…only some of the museum was in English. But the gowns were beautiful…so were her jewels, though many of them were replicas. She really was a gorgeous girl when she was young. And some of her poetic verses on the walls were very moving.
After the Sisi Museum, I wandered past the MuseumsQuartier and up the street through the shopping district…and I know you won’t believe me, but for the second day in a row, I didn’t buy ANYTHING. NOR did I have ANY GELATO!! FOR TWO DAYS NOW! (I plan to remedy that on our trip home tonight.) Nothing much thrilling in the stores. Maybe I’ll find treasures in Salzburg tomorrow, or Durnstein on Saturday. =)
Back down the hill and into the city center, and spent the evening at the Albertina Museum, which had a Monet exhibit going on (read: two Monet paintings). A few state rooms with interesting histories behind them (I finally bought the audioguide for a museum)…lots of impressionism, cubism, surrealism, and extensive exhibitions by Heinrich Kuhn and Walton Ford. Ford’s stuff was REALLY interesting…very strange…huge paintings of exotic animals in usually bloody struggle, accompanied by writings from 19th century explorers and other personalities (incl. Hemingway and Audobon), and laced with social commentary. The Monet thing was actually titled “Monet to Baselitz” and included Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, Klee, and Chagall. A lot of it wasn’t my cup of tea, but there were several there that I really like a lot, too. It was worth the entrance fee, definitely, even if it wasn’t at all what I expected.
Once I was out of the museum, I went back to last night’s Australian pub for some fish’n’ chips and a cider…then came back to the Kaiserhof to “pick up” Christa after work. =) Lets me type on a desktop and therefore go straight to bed when we get home.
So it was a good day, even though I still feel like I’m not “accomplishing” much in a day. Why do we feel as though we have to go, go, go, do, do, do when we go on vacation to somewhere cool? It’s almost impossible to slow down and relax in a foreign city because you always have this nagging thought at the back of your mind that you’re wasting valuable time in a destination with lots to see, and you’re gonna regret it if you don’t get out there and DO STUFF NOW!! I managed to fight it off in Assisi…but not really anywhere else. Which means I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool stuff, but might also explain why I’ve been totally exhausted since I hit Vienna.
Tomorrow is a super-early day. My tour of Salzburg leaves at 0715 from the hotel. I’m really excited for it. Think I’ll use the next half hour till she’s off work researching the city. I learned some about Mozart already last night…things I never knew when I studied his music. So…then it’s off to study for me. Four more days before I head home…and they’ll probably be a whirlwind!