Day 3, Fri 8/26: Vienna, Part 3


Bezoar

I slept much better last night, 8 hours total in two shifts but I’ll take it. Dan didn’t sleep as well but felt rested enough. We went to breakfast in the lounge and took our time; me reading while Dan was working some. We went down to the sauna area after before heading out.

The food area in the lounge. This morning was scrambled eggs, although Dan will special order his, which they’ll happily do; veal sausage, standard array of fruit, breads, cheese and deli meats. Basic but a good start.
We sit in the corner away farthest away from the food, just because it’s quieter.

We left about 9:50, took the subway towards the Museum Quarter again, this time to (finally) go to Kunst Historiches. This is #3 overall on TripAdvisor’s Things To Do, and #1 on their museums list for Vienna. (Of 114. 114? After about 25 they start to get questionable. Note MUMOK was #41….) Unlike MUMOK, Kunst is sort of a museum lover’s museum, especially the collection called Kunsthammer Vienna. The term “Kunsthammer” describes a style of collection that evolved in the 16th and 17th century which serves as a  comprehensive survey of “natural wonders and artifacts produced by virtuoso craftsmen, assembled in designated rooms as a reflection of the cosmos.” I couldn’t come up with a more lofty definition of museums myself.

The Habsburgs proceeded to create collections with this objective in palaces and castles spread all over their vast empire, and did so for several centuries. Much of the inventory has been lost over time due to wars and other things. In 1891, Emperor Franz Joseph attempted to pull it all together and put it under one roof. The Kunst Historiches is the result.

 Above and below: the foyer.

 

 A chess game.
 The cover of an urn. Hmm….
 Delicate, detailed pieces I liked, the center one blown up below.

 

 

Bellerophon taming Pegasus; artist is Bertoldo di Giovanni, about 1460.
 A “winged” altar piece, with 3 pages of art on either side.
 This is essentially a large salt and pepper shaker, although we never did find that functionality. It was pretty though; and small, just about 8 inches across.
Lots of intricate clocks. See description below.

 

 Lots of intricate stuff in this room. I just noticed the piece on the right looking very familiar. Oh, that’s cuz I’m standing there staring at it, about to take the two photos below.
 Color me embarrassed: I thought a bezoar, displayed above, and its function, explained below, was something JK Rowling made up. Art, did you know this?

 

 This didn’t quite capture it, but I was fascinated by the bird and two men holding him up.
 Bird dragons in crystal. Why not?
 One of the things that always gets me about stuff like this is the detail. You just don’t see anything produced like this much anymore. As I’m standing there appreciating this, Dan walks up behind me, takes one look and says “that’s a lot of dead elephants.”
As is often the case, the building itself is always worth looking at even if you don’t appreciate the art.
Most of the first floor was the Kunsthammer collection which we really enjoyed. It also held Egyptian and Roman stuff which we moved through pretty fast because we’ve seen a lot of it before on prior trips. Dan did like the mummy stuff though. Below is an intro for the next few photos.
Dan liked the detail on this sarcophagus. He took the photo below standing right up to it; it’s about 4-5 square inches in the middle just under where the “hair” stops.

 

 

We moved to the 2nd floor which was all paintings of German, Dutch, and Flemish masters, of which we’ve also seen lots. There was some Spanish and Italian, too. Lots of it was stuff we’ve either seen or don’t care for so we cruised through this floor in maybe 30 minutes.

 

 Bablyon.
 Above and below are the same room. Notice 1. there’s nothing on the walls to tell you what anything is. That’s because 2. all of the description is on those laminated cards by the benches.

 

 We really liked this. Medusa by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens.
 This is the 3rd time now we’ve seen this done: many paintings within a painting. This may be by the same painter each time, we never paid attention to the name. But this guy was Hans Jordaens, a Flemish painter out of Delft. And the first one we saw was in 2013 in The Hague which had a huge Flemish collection. We saw it again in 2014 at the London National Gallery. Anyway, we love it. The detail is just amazing.
That was the perfect antidote we needed to MUMOK from the day before. We got there about 10:15am and left a little before 1pm. We headed towards Rathaus, Vienna’s City Hall, but decided on lunch first.
Pretty parliament building we passed along the way.
We found a place around the corner from Rathaus. It was definitely not for tourists, we had to ask for an English menu. Which works for us – helps identify authenticity in our experience.

It was a cute little place, not crowded at all. Dan found a great table by an open window, and there was a nice breeze.

 

Dan had a homemade spinach ravioli in a simple brown butter sauce with pine nuts and Parmesan. I had pork schnitzel which came with a potato salad (cold) in a mustard sauce. All very good.
For dessert I had the cheese strudel with a warm vanilla sauce. Apple would have been better but when in Rome and all that. The cheese was like a ricotta. Glad I tried it. What I really wanted was the vanilla sauce and that was excellent. When Dan saw the clean plate at the end he said “and here I thought they put too much vanilla sauce on it.”
Maybe they did, what’s your point? (I didn’t say that then of course because it just came to me! Always the case…)
Next was Rathaus, City Hall. We weren’t sure what we were going to do there, but it was in TripAdvisor’s top 10 overall so we felt compelled.
It is a pretty building. There was a huge screen in front of it. There’s a film festival going on this month – ends tomorrow night – and apparently the showings are public. There was seating arranged in front of the screen, too, and lots of food vendors in the park that precedes it.
Definitely a local vibe, we didn’t pick up many tourists as we were passing through.
We meandered into an open doorway and roamed the building for a little while.
 This was on the top floor, they were definitely setting up for something big.

 

 

 A cute courtyard. There was some kind of kids activity going on behind, couldn’t quite figure it out.

 

This is Votive Church. It was a couple of blocks away and we thought “why not?” Built in 1879, young by Europe standards. The most amazing part was the randomness: there was a concert going on being performed by high school students from Japan. They were the same kids we ran into in the hotel restaurant for breakfast yesterday! We stayed for a couple of numbers than mosied along. (Greg: see, we did a concert in a church! Although I’m sure that’s not quite what you had in mind…)

 

 

 

 Votive Church, not the one below.
 St. Peter’s in the city center was something I’d planned on us getting to the first day. It was #14 on TripAdvisor’s overall. We missed a picture of the outside somehow, but the inside was sweet. Definitely worth a quick stop. We weren’t there more than 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 Dan had skipped dessert for lunch because he had planned on us coming here. I wasn’t paying attention to all that somehow so I ended up having 2 desserts for lunch. Darn. Zanoni & Zanoni is a local chain. We stopped at one of their little places the first day and got gelato. Many of them are the “order and walk away” places, this most definitely not. Big place, big menu, including lots of different kinds of cakes and crepes. But today we settled on ice cream.
 This was Dan’s. Four kinds of ice cream: strawberry, raspberry, bilberry and cherry. Plus fresh fruit and whipped cream. We couldn’t believe how big it was, we literally gasped when they put it down.

I had what they called Spaghetties. Only it’s not spaghetti, it’s vanilla and fiocco ice cream with a strawberry sauce and grated coconut. For the fiocca, think vanilla without the vanilla – just a simple cream taste. It was about the size we were expecting. And it definitely worked.

We don’t know what this is, just thought it looked cool. Passed it on our way to a boat ride on the Danube that turned into a bust.
 But there’s the Danube anyway.

So all that was left: the Ferris Wheel. Only because it was on the pass and we could see it from our hotel window. Built in 1897, is it part of an amusement park on the same site as the 1873 World Fair.

 It’s 210 feet high.
 You can arrange to have a nice meal served in it’s dining car! This was the car that stopped as we were waiting for ours, so the waiter could come on to serve the next course and pour more wine. You gotta admit, it’s a cool concept.
 The two cars behind ours were both party cars for special events. You can see different setups of tables and chairs. The normal cars, like the one we were in, had a simple picnic type table with benches on either side. There were about 15 other people in it besides us.
 Above and below: The rest of the park, still in full operation.

 

 Vienna’s financial district across the Danube.
 One of those on the right is our hotel.

 

  The dining car came into view again the way back down.
It was 6pm when we got off and we headed back to the hotel. Having left before 10am, we were done for the day. We ate in at the lounge (fish, bread, cheese), spent some time in the sauna area, and called it a night. Today’s walking: only 9.42 miles. Every trip we go “we really need to get a pedometer” and finally realized on this one we have it built into the iPhone. We’d always guessed maybe 7-8 miles a day. Turns out it’s more than that; we know we’ve walked more than this before. Much more. So will be interesting to see how it tracks.
We saw the sign below on our walk back. Good timing, since Bratislava is where we are headed tomorrow. Budapest is on our list, and we considered trying to work it in to this trip (I can hear Dan saying “but it’s so close”…) but it really would have been a lot. As it was, 3 days in Vienna really pushed it but we tried to round it out today. There’s always more to do, but we felt like we did enough to get a taste. And we couldn’t have asked for better weather: blue skies with highs around 80 the whole time so far. We’ll see how it holds up the rest of the trip.

 

 

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