Tag Archives: Museums Quartier

Re(Wien)sited

Momma and I decided to spend a weekend in Vienna after considering many other European destinations. I would get a chance to revisit one of my favorite spots in the world and show my mom around, trying to get her to understand why I love Vienna so much. My mom and I arrived a little later than expected (only 40 minutes) due to a flight delay and yet our hotel had already given our room away. So at midnight they carted us over to the “nearest” hotel, which was actually a 20-minute cab ride away. We ended up in a part of town that I wasn’t familiar with, but Momma, always looking on the bright side, said what a wonderful opportunity it would be to get to know Vienna better. I am just bummed that I wasn’t able to see Diana, my ex-roommate, on the only day we would both be in town. ūüė¶

Walking the Ring: Momma at Parliament

Needless to say, we didn’t get up to much on our first night in Vienna, but the next day we had big plans. We started out by walking the Ringstrasse, one of the first things I did when I arrived in Vienna over a year ago. Our first stop was the University to see the blank walls where Klimt’s famous paintings would have been. Nothing to report there. Then we continued along the ring to the Opera house stopping at all the famous buildings along the way. We even dropped by IKI for a quick hello. From there, we cut north to Stephansdom and may have done a little shopping along the way… By lunchtime we were hungry for some Wienerschnitzel and ate at the restaraurant near Ruprechtskirche. Best Wienerschnitzel I have ever had! It was so tender and delicious! After lunch I took Momma down to my old neighborhood. We revisited my dorm, grocery store, hang-out spots and my favorite ice cream parlor, Tichy. I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before, but Vienna has these ice cream balls that are to die for. The Eismarillenkn√∂del, a mouthful in more ways than one, is a ball of vanilla ice cream with an apricot mousse center rolled in shortbread cookie crumbs… Yeah, i know. Other varieties include the Himbeereiskn√∂del (replace the apricot with raspberry and the shortbread with chocolate cookie crumbs), the Schneeball (replace cookies with crumbed, hard white marshmallow) and one for which I cannot remember the name, but that’s because it was coffee-flavored. Ick. Here’s a picture of three ice cream balls at Tichy. I wish I could replace the coffee ball with a Schneeball. Oh well!

Ice Cream Balls at Tichy

The next day we made sure to be up early so we could get our museum on. We took my beloved U-bahn to the Museums Quartier. First stop: The Leopold Museum. The Leopold is one of those places that makes you realize why you’re an art history major, or at least that’s what it did for me. I had been looking at countless fragmentary, dusty white corpses in Roman museums for months, which is all well and good. I love me some ancient Roman art, really I do. But the artworks I have been studying are creations of the state with a predetermined message independent of the artist’s agenda. It’s ancient propaganda. It’s fascinating. But I hadn’t seen anything so infused with emotion or so personal for a while. Schiele makes you feel what he felt. And I cried. So maybe this is why I am an art history major, not why you are.

At the Leopold with a Poster of Schiele

Next stop on the museum schedule was the modern art museum across the platz, which looks like a big, black, blocky scar in the MQ. One of the best parts of this museum is its video collection. There were some Nan June Paik, Richard Serra and William Wegman pieces. All lovely, but the pride and joy of the MUMOK is Andy Warhol, who appears as a glittery ghost in a double life-size poster inside the museum. Ick. I have never loved Warhol, but I gave him a fair chance and watched quite a few of his videos. Sad, I still don’t like him.

Mom & Me chilling on a MQ bench with MUMOK in the background

After the museums, we wandered over to the Burggarten and paid Mozart our respects while mowing down on some K√§sekrainer. Boy, do I love Austrian food! Lucky us, the Genussfest in Stadtpark happened the same weekend we visited! Recalling old memories of eating topfen on olive bread with Andrea, we strolled the paths through the park tasting, tasting, tasting. What else would you do at a taste fest? The weather was lovely, the food was delicious. ūüôā Since I was feeling a little nostalgic, I drug Momma to Hohermarkt for gelato. Even though I’ve had authentic gelato continuously for almost a year now, the gelateria am Hohermarkt still holds up.

Still running high on nostalgia, we ate dinner at¬† Centimeter. Momma ate Schnitzel and I ordered Holzf√§llerknockerl. (No, I’m not just making up words.) Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my Tupperware and I had to leave the left-over goods on my plate destined for the trash can. Never again! That used to last me five meals for goodness sakes!

Radlers at Centimeter

The next morning I finally gave Sissi her due and visited her museum. She has some gorgeous dishes and dresses, but a sad life. If you don’t know who she is, look her up. She is famous in Austria, but very few Americans have ever heard of her. Shame. As a goodbye, Mom and I ate lunch on the Graben. Mmmmmm W√ľrstel.

Mouth watering...

I will miss you Vienna, but rest assured; I’ll be back. Vienna is one of the best cities on the planet.

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Another Visitor, Another Roommate

Recently I got back in contact with some friends I met in high school when I went to Northern Ireland for the summer. I found out that my friend Andrew Hamilton had been studying in Poland for the last few months. He was planning to do a bit of interailing this summer and when he found out that I was in Vienna, he made sure to come visit. So, Andrew arrived just hours after sending Hallie on her way back to the U.S. We were both surprised when we arrived back at my place to find out that my “extra bed” that I had offered Andrew was already occupied. Surprise! New roommate. They had told Diana when she moved out that I wouldn’t have another roommate, so I wasn’t prepared. Oh well. She seems nice. Her name is Paulina. She’s from Canada and she’s here for the summer to study music.

After figuring things out a bit, I had to, unfortunately, do homework. So, Andrew explored the city on his own using the map I gave him. Hours later he came home and we hung out in Billy and Joseph’s room until Billy got home from Scotland. Then we went to bed and Andrew slept on my floor (poor guy).

Andrew and I at Schönbrunn

Andrew and I at Schönbrunn

The next morning Andrea and I took Andrew to Sch√∂nbrunn Palace. That makes twice in one week. Except this time we explored the gardens more than I have in the past. Then I had to say goodbye to Andrew because I had to go to class and he would be leaving that night while I was nannying. During class Billy left early for a doctor’s appointment to check up on his appendix. They decided surgery was necessary and took out his appendix that night. His parents flew his brother in and we all went to go see him at the hospital the next day. I brought him plenty of Star Trek episodes to watch, but he still hasn’t gotten to them yet. That night Verena’s sister Marion gave us an architectural tour of Vienna–entirely in German. We started at the UNO city and got to go up to the top floor of one of the buildings to overlook the whole city. It was beautiful! This photo taken from the top of the building looks toward the city center. The large street that crosses the bridge continues through the to the other side of the city and our dorm lies only two blocks off this main street.

The View from UNO City

The View from UNO City

The tour ended at the Museums Quartier where the Architecture Center of Vienna was having a small party with cheap hot dogs and cheap beer. My new roommate Paulina and Billy’s brother Ben met us there. After spending some time at the architecture party, we moved to the center of the MQ so that Ben and Paulina could get the full MQ experience.

The next morning after visiting Billy again, I headed out to the 16th district to get more footage for my district project. I walked through the graveyard and tried to make it up to the palace, but I didn’t have time. I had to head back to the city center because we had a tour at the Jewish Museum. Our tour guide was interesting….. abrasive is probably a better word. She was trying to get us to interact and discuss, but it just wasn’t working. She showed us a screen print of some guy and we had to guess who it was. After minutes of awkward silence and forced guesses, she told us who this obscure Viennese Jewish man was and was appalled when we had never heard of him. I guess I just don’t know enough about Jewish culture. Note to self: Fix that.

This morning Andrea, Sarah, Joseph and I tried to go on a tour of the Ottakringer Brewery, but we misunderstood the website. Tours are offered daily, but you have to schedule one. So, we went to a Bier Garten instead and drank some Ottakringer and ate some delicious food.

Now it’s time to watch the Sound of Music before heading to Salzburg tomorrow morning. I’ve never seen it before!

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Hallie ist nach Wien gekommen.

So, Hallie arrived in the evening on Thursday and we started off with a bang by going to Cafe Sacher for a slice of Vienna’s famous Sacher torte. Apparently it’s her dad’s favorite kind of cake, so we took many pictures so as to make him jealous. Then Bobby, Billy, Andrea and I took Hallie on a short tour of the first district of Vienna. First we walked to Stephansplatz where we watched a street performer and then went inside the church for a bit. Then we walked through the Graben, a pedestrian street in Vienna, to the Hofburg where I showed Hallie the ancient Roman ruins beneath the city. Then we made our way to the Ringstra√üe, seeing the twin museums, parliament and the Rathaus. That night we had a sleepover in Billy and Joseph’s room. We pushed their beds together and watched The Sound of Music. Well, everyone else watched The Sound of Music. I fell asleep within ten minutes as usual.

The next morning Billy, Hallie and I woke up and met up with Sarah and Andrew at Schloss Schönbrunn, the summer palace of the old monarchs. We did the tour of the palace rooms, but it was nearly as impressive as I thought it would be. We also walked through the beautful grounds and gardens.

Sarah, Hallie, Andrew, Billy and I by the fountain at Schönbrunn

Sarah, Hallie, Andrew, Billy and I by the fountain at Schönbrunn

After our long tour of the palace Hallie and I got ready to go to the ballet. No trip to Vienna is complete without seeing a show at the opera house. So, Hallie and I ran to get a K√§sekrainer, a sausage filled with cheese, and then met Sarah in the line to see Tschaikovsky’s Anna Karenina ballet. It was more modern and experimental than the last ballet I saw at the opera house, but it was beautiful! I think I like ballet more than opera, but I’ll have one more chance to test that. Our class is going to the opera together in two weeks. After the opera Andrew met up with us in the Museums Quartier and we all shared a bottle of wine until it starting raining and we went to Cafe Leopold to stay warm and dry.

The next morning I worked on homework while Hallie went to the Kunsthistoriches Museum. Andrea and I met up with her in the afternoon and took her on another small tour of the 1st district, which included a stop at Hoher Markt for some ice cream shaped like spaghetti.

Hallie enjoying Spaghetti Ice Cream

Hallie enjoying Spaghetti Ice Cream

In the evening Sarah came over to my dorm and she, Andrea and I made a traditional Austrian meal for Hallie. I prepared Leberkäse, a meatloaf kind of thing, with Semmel or rolls, and Käsespäztle, cheese on egg noodles. Sarah made Sommersalat again. It was so delicious! Then we all hopped on the Straßenbahn and headed to Baden to spend our evening at the Roman baths. It was so relaxing. My favorite part was the steam rooms. They each had different scents such as Eucalyptus. We were so relaxed until the kicked us out. We ended the evening with a girly sleepover and we watched Beauty and the Beast. I love that movie.

On Sunday morning we had plans to head out of the city to Wachau valley, but we opted to stay in Vienna so that Hallie could get the full experience. How could she leave without seeing artwork by Klimt and Schiele?! So, we headed straight for the Leopold Museum, which is now officially my favorite museum in Vienna. It is dedicated to art around the turn of the century, which I love. We saw so many works by Schiele and he is also now one of my favorite artists. My favorite drawing was titled Mother and Daughter. After the Leopold we enjoyed a meal at a cafe in the Museums Quartier. We soaked up some sun and listened to good song after good song played by the DJ for “Sounds of Summer in the MQ”. Our favorite song was by Sister Nancy. After lunch we went to the Belvedere so Hallie could see Gustav Klimt’s Kiss before she left Vienna. For dinner we went to our favorite restaurant, Centimeter, for some a very Austrian meal.

This morning Hallie packed up her stuff and I took her to the train station. It was so nice having a friend come and visit. I feel so loved. Thanks Hallie. Now I have to try and get as much homework done as possible before my friend from Northern Ireland, Andrew, arrives in Vienna and I get to be tour guide all over again!

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Bye Mai

The last week of May in Vienna is also my last week of German classes. Our teacher from Seattle, Verena arrived and we met her in the Museums Quartier for a drink. During June she will be teaching a Cultural Studies class about the Americanization of Austria. She said it would be a lot of hard work, but I am excited about it.

Last weekend many of the other students were out of town, leaving Andrew, Rebecca and me alone in Vienna. We made the best of it by meeting up and going to the Brunnenmarkt together. We bought fruits, vegetables and bread for cheap. That night we got together and made some of the best food. Rebecca prepared curry lentils while Andrew and I whipped up a delicious fruit salad. I also made Sommersalat. We atea delicious meal while watching the Little Mermaid. (In preparation for my trip to Copenhagen, capital of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.)

After people returned from their weekend excursions, Andrea, Joseph and I decided to climb up the tower of Stephansdom, the main cathedral in Vienna. It was a bit of a disappointment because the top is just a room with four windows looking north, south, east and west. I did get some good pictures of the city and the colorful roof though. For example, this photo looking west shows the Haas Haus in the bottom left and many of Vienna’s churches.

Looking west from Stephansdom's tower

Looking west from Stephansdom's tower

On Monday, my roommate Diana invited everyone on my study abroad program to her classical guitar recital at school. Andrew, Ethan, Billy, Andrea and I met up near Stephansdom to walk to her school. Only the best students at her school performed, including her friend Vasile that I had previously met. Her performance was amazing! Here is a video of my favorite song. Please excuse my shakey hands!

Later that week we visited the Belvedere with our art history class. The Belvedere is a Baroque palace built for the war general that helped Austria defeat the Turks and protect the the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now it is a beautiful museum built to house the general’s art collection and the Austrian collection. We focused on the architecture and Biedermeyer art, but we will be returning to see art around 1900 (the stuff I’m interested in). Can’t wait!

Art History class with Dr. O in the Belvedere

Art History class with Dr. O in the Belvedere

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