Saturday, October 26, 2013

RTW 2013 / Austria / Vienna Part 3

Early morning train to the Naschmarkt.
This market has existed since the 16th century when all fruit and vegetables brought to Vienna by carts had to be sold here.
Nowadays, you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world, cheese, baked goods, flowers, meat and seafood.

There are also a lot of small restaurants.
On Saturdays a flea market is set up as an extension of the area.
It was very busy and quite an interesting place to spend some time in. The flea market had some weird and wonderful stuff. Luckily most of it would not fit in our luggage.
Then it was back to the city centre for some yarn shopping and more exploring ending up at the Kunsthistorichesmuseum (Art History Museum).

Here, among many wonderful works of art, is the world's largest collection of paintings by my favourite artist, Pieter Breughel the Elder as well as a large collection of another favourite, Peter Paul Rubens.

The interior of building itself is magnificent and you have to be careful not to let the architecture take over from the art.

My last visit here was in 1973.The return experience did not disappoint.
Back to Rathausplatz for some relaxation at the Vienna Music Festival and enjoy the backdrop of the magnificent Rathaus (Town Hall) itself.

For change we decided to do simple meal away from the local restaurant district and walked up into the suburban streets near our hotel and found a small street cafe where we shared the space with working couples, young families with kids, a few business people and an obvious homeless person enjoying his bottle of wine on a park bench nearby.
With a bit more walking found a hole in the wall frozen yogurt place for a shared dessert.
Back at the hotel we decided we could be getting just a little bit museumed out.
Next day was Sunday and we had a bit of a sleep in. It was also Father's Day in Australia and I talked to the daughter on FaceTime (I love my iPad mini!) for a while.
After breakfast, we decided we should go back to Schoenbrunn for more exploration, this time of the grounds, as we were now not jet lagged, had gained our walking legs and could take more in.
And a return visit to the cafe for more strudel and chocolate cake was not a bad idea either.
This time we took the extended route through the park, past the palm house and zoo and ending up looking back at the rear of the palace across the Great Parterre from the Neptune Fountain. Then we climbed up the zig zag path to the Gloriette for more wonderful views back to the palace and surrounding countryside.
All well worth the second visit.
On the outskirts of the city lie the Vienna Woods and vineyard areas. The expansion of the city area has started to absorb many of these wine villages but they have maintained their individuality and rural atmosphere and are a popular get away the the locals especially on weekends. We had been recommended to visit Nussdorf to do some wine tasting at some of the heurigen (wine taverns) in the area. It was a longish tram trip away, in fact, to this route's terminus.

Sadly, all the taverns we managed to find were shut on this particular day, I guess, because of summer holidays.
However we found a reasonable meal and a glass of wine at local restaurant that was having a kiddies' day. Noisy but fun watching the interaction of quite a racially mixed group of the mostly well behaved children.
Although not a complete disaster, this was probably the biggest disappointment of the trip.
Back into the 'burbs for pizza (you can only eat so many schnitzels) and beer for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, Trattoria I Carusi.
The next day was our last in Vienna.
Both the co driver and I have a bit of a fascination for graveyards, finding them always interesting from a historical and social point of view as well sometimes coming across individual graves which can be  quite entertaining. Memories of the famous English comedian, Spike Milligan, who had "I told you I was ill" engraved on his tombstone.
So we took another relatively long tram trip out to the Wien Zentral Friedhof. With an area of 250 ha (just over 600 acres) the cemetery currently contains graves of all denominations.
We walked randomly through the manicured grounds containing some very ornate memorials and to the musicians' Ehrengraeber (honorary graves) where people like Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Strauss are buried.
We ended up in the old (pre World War 2) Jewish section, sadly crumbling, overgrown and neglected, all a result of no community of that time left to maintain the site.
An eerie quiet place with the occasional deer disturbed by our presence.
Another tram trip back across the city to Kunsthaus Wien for a Linda McCartney photographic exhibition.
From what was on display one has to wonder if Linda is a famous photographer because of her connections rather than her photographic ability.
In any case the star of the show was the building itself designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, probably Austria's best known contemporary artist of the 20th century.
Then it was another tram back to Rathausplatz and lovely lunch and wine tasting at Das Wieno
And we finally found the Ephrussi building. It is now the headquarters of Casinos Austria. There is no obvious link to its past.
Where to go for our 'farewell' dinner? A reprise of "Zu ebener Erde und erster Stock" was tempting but resisted.
We walked a bit through what was now familiar territory and on a whim followed a sign down some steep winding stairs to Glacis Biesl just off the MQ.
A nice find. 
It had a lovely garden (but for the smokers) and a pleasant non smoking room (not always easy to find in Vienna) for those who actually want to taste and smell their food and wine.
A good way to finish our visit to Vienna.

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