Dave and I arrived from Florence late Saturday evening. I must say one of the most beautiful sights I've ever had the privilege to see out of a plane window are the Alps and this time the sun was setting on them, turning their ridges and valleys beautiful shades of violet, deep purple, magenta and pink. Snow still clung to a few of the highest points, but you'd never know it from the heat we've had here in Austria's capital.
Day 1: In full tourist mode and after a slow, relaxing morning--The Kuntshistorisches, or what I like to call the temple that art built...this 19th C. structure built expressly for the purpose of housing art holds some of the world's most important paintings, from Raphael's Madonna of the Meadow to Parmigianino's Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. See images below for a small slice of the beautiful facade of this huge building.
On our walk home we came across this Mozart monument in the Burggarten (city garden). Dave is standing in front of a treble clef made of pink begonias in honor of the composer. What you can't see in either of these pictures is how incredibly hot it is. So much for average temperatures of 75! It's been in the mid-to high 90s, but with great big blue skies.
Day 2: Bling + a Kiss
Dave decided to sit out a trip to the Imperial Hapsburg Treasury so he contentedly read his Ipad at a local caffe while I spent two hours with some of the most impressive pieces of goldsmithing outside of the United Kingdom. Among the highlights were the 10th C. crown of the Holy Roman Emperor (below), and the oldest version of the Order of the Golden Fleece first awarded in the early Renaissance by the Hapsburgs to "deserving" aristocrats. Also on view were religious items owned by the Hapsburgs, including the Burse of St. Stephen, which reputedly holds bloody soil from his martyrdom (also below).
This crown is loaded with symbolism, quite literally. The 12 stones on the front of this crown represent the 12 Apostles, while the 8 sides symbolize the 8 gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem of which the Holy Roman Empire was believed to be an earthly manifestation.
After lunch we headed to the Belvedere Palace where Klimt's Kiss resides. The palace, the gardens and the view of Vienna from here were also impressive.
Note the cathedral in the upper left, dominating the skyline. Our hotel is right across from this landmark.
We finished the evening in true Austrian style--at Figlmüller's, a family run restaurant that has been serving weinerschnitzel for more than 100 years and coincidentally was 4 blocks from our hotel. Dave already posted an image of our delicious, if daunting dinner so I include here only the outside front of the restaurant with a line of eager diners waiting for a table. Dave and I agreed this was one of the "show-stopping" meals we've had during our time abroad. It was simple, comfort food, in a boisterous, warm (in both senses) environment, and the play of flavors against one another and the quality of the food and (house!) wine were outstanding. A real treat!
Returning to our comfy hotel after a long, slow walk to begin to burn off some of the calories...