Parlor

Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
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Trip End Aug 06, 2013


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Erin went on the SOUND OF MUSIC TOUR!  I had a leisurely walk around town, taking a slow tour of the St. Stephens cathedral, where I saw evidence of Nazi occupation - Hitler considered Austria to be a wannabe Germany so he changed the name from Österreich to Ostland. In protest, someone carved "O5" into the church wall. 5 stands for "e", the fifth letter of the alphabet. The umlaut in Österreich can also be written "oe". Screw you, Hitler. We aren't Eastland.

On another wall there is embedded a Turkish cannonball! The date is carved underneath.  There are also pictures around the church of its destruction in WWII. The cathedral was built where there used to be a cemetery in the middle ages. Some of the tombstones are on the side of the wall as well.

I came across Mozart's house, where he wrote "Don Giovanni". There is a museum on one side, with a crazy cafe and store. It's air conditioned in there but I didn't go. I'd read it wasn't worth it, not even to be cool. The other side has been preserved to appear close to what it looked like when Mozart was there.

The house was right across the street from a store where, on a steamy previous night,  Erin and I gazed longingly at fans being used for a windblown effect on mannequins and cloth. We didn't have a fan back in our modern apartment. We had lying on top of our sheets with wet socks.

I lunched at a little bistro on the Hofburg Palace grounds. That's right. I was next to the Butterfly sanctuary. This was where the Habsburgs lived not in summer. Franz Josef I had the place built to show what a tough guy he was. In front of the main entrance, two statues of Hercules battle enemies. 

Across the street from the Hofburg palace, the Looshaus, built by Adolf Loos in 1909 faces the incredibly fancified Hofburg palace. Franz Josef I was so horrified he covered his windows to avoid the view. The modern design was a scandal!

I found bookstores and shoe stores. I found the tree-lined mall area up the hill, where the regular folks do their shopping. I bought chocolate and tried on sandals, pretending to be local. I had a Radler at a music video cafe.

Erin and I met later in the evening at the Rathaus, or city hall, where very summer there is a month-long music and movie festival, with booths selling foods of all nations. This was no American state fair. This was classy! The booths were semi-permanent wooden structures with well designed dining areas. Food was served on real plates, with real flatware. Our wine was served in genuine wine glasses. In front of the exquisite Rathaus hung a huge screen, on which was projected an opera with English subtitles. Chairs were set up to view the film. We ate delicious wieners as we watched.

Even though there was alcohol at this event, nobody got drunk or out of control. You didn't have to pay to get in. It was all so civilized. Sophisticated. These people are orderly and polite. People don't cross against the light. They don't yell. They dress conservatively, no super-short-shorts or lewd sleeveless t-shirts. No Mickey Mouse. Beispiel geben, indeed!

Erin has been designating a room in a house for each city we visit. Prague, she says, would be the family room;  it's quiet, inviting, lived in, human. Vienna would be the parlor. Fancy furniture, best behavior, dressed up for guests. They even light up their buildings at night for the splendor.



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