Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vienna - Day 2

The Kunsthistoriche museum is a real surprise. First the building itself, a Hapsburg Palace, is worth seeing in itself. Secondly the superb Egyptian Galleries. The entrance is guarded by two Sekmet statues from the temple of Mut in Luxor - we sneaked into this temple last year after dark, as it's closed to the public. Then a collection of statuary that is absolutely stunning. I particularly like the Book of the Dead papyrus with an audio guide that took you through the entire story. The Greek and Roman Galleries are also well stocked, with an emphasis on Ephesus, where the Austrians have been excavating for years.

The range and quality of the paintings is fantastic, funded as it was by the Hapsburgs. There's Breugel's Hunters, several Velasquezes,

Vienna - Day 1

Vienna brings to mind two very different images in my mind - Midge Ure in that damn video looking upwards, master of the dagger shaped sideburns (favoured by men past their sell by date) and the Vienna Circle (Carnap, Popper etc). Pop and philosophy.

It was actually neither, more of a grand central European city, with a lively cafe culture (coffee and cake), lots of chocolate shops and some fine dining. Our 'boutique hotel had a bed in the centre of the room, which you could walk round. Someone, in the pub when I got home, claimed that this is a Viennese phenomenon, as aristocrats liked to have a quintet playing while they were in bed. Another interesting feature in the Beletage Hotel is the five-course gourmet breakfast, which was delicious.

First day we walked to the Stephensdom - cathedral then lunch and a bit of a recce. That night a goulash meal in the Guashmuseum (actually a restaurant). I rather like these spicy meat stews.