03.06.2013 - 09.06.2013 19 °C
Arriving in Vienna we are greeted by the Blue Danube, Sadly not the river which was a swollen muddy brown but the waltz which we heard everywhere. We were humming it to ourselves by the end !!! So, to a week of coffee, cake and culture. We immersed ourselves in the art of Klimt, Schiele, and the architecture of Hoffman and Wagner. We walked the grand boulevards populated with beautiful buildings, though there was a sense of their decay as the 21st century begins to make its mark. Our Art Deco walk round the inner stadt took us around some incredible buildings with intricate tiled designs on their facades which were enhanced by our viewing of the beautiful art of Kilmt and the genius of Schiele in many museums. ! There were so many similarities between Prague and Vienna, yet due to calamitous historical events and the arbitrary placement of a the border between east and west, the life in these cities today is so different. Vienna, such regal elegance yet seemingly conservative and stuck in the fin de siècle, Prague working hard to push boundries. This was so clear in the theatre The Swamp Club, which we read later was from the genre of non theatre, an apt description. No characterisation, no narrative and little dialogue. Ridiculously bad, apart from the giant mole emerging from the stage which was quite funny( meant to be highly symbolic, of what we struggled to work out) . we backed this up with the opera, televised live to an audience outside. The music was spectacular but sets and costumes very traditional. I just came away feeling that Vienna was stuck in the past, though admittedly it is a fine place to be.
So to cake....Stewart as we all know does not care for dessert, but he learned to love cake, it is the Vienese way. A cafe discovered on the last day, Demel which was in an exquisite building, supplied us with great espresso and delicious truffle cake. ( their asparagus soup was also best ever !).
Also in the Austrian way, we had two hikes into the countryside, energetic up hills with views of the Danube, leafy glades in the Vienna woods, more Strauss and Gasthouses serving Schnitzel, knodle and Apple Streudel,(looking like the Cuckoo in the Dandenongs, again trapped in another time).
All in all we did love Vienna and it was the perfect place to wait out the bad weather.)