Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goodbye Paris, welcome Vienna.

School is over, the house is clean, ready for our “swapping” guests and we are on a plane directed to Vienna, where Giuseppe is waiting for us. We have 2.6 lbs of foie gras in our luggage...let's just hope that the security will let us pass!

I’ve never been in Vienna. I’ve never been in so many places in Europe, despite living in Italy for so long. And now that I’m in Paris, I want to make the best out of our year here in Europe and travel all around, before going back in California. We’ll go to Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Oslo…at least, this is the plan. We’ll see.  

We are staying in a very nice hotel, the The Sissi…it’s very clean, the room is big and comfortable, the furniture is contemporary and everything looks pretty new. The only downside in the concierge: the guys don’t have a clue about anything. So you’re mostly on your own. But it’s ok. Vienna’s historical center is so small that you can cross it from one end to the other in 20 minutes, walking. If you don’t want to walk, the metro line takes you everywhere and it’s safe.

We had our first breakfast at Café’ Zanoni, where everyone, from the owner to the waiter speak Italian. We had strudel and of course Sacher Torte: delicious! 

Here we are in front of St. Stephen's Cathedral. It's freezing cold. 

We spent our first day visiting the massive Schönbrunn Palace: just the Christmas Market was worth the trip. Unfortunately the maze was closed but Josh had enough fun chasing squirrels all over the park. 

On the way back, Giuseppe couldn't resist so we stopped by the Bosendorfer show-room, where he was even able to convince the guy to let him play The Imperial 290. 

There's no way this monster will ever fit in our living room!

In the evening we bet on Josh being able to "survive" a concert of the Vienna Royal Orchestra in the Imperial Hall. 

Surprise, not only he made it through the entire program, but he actually enjoyed the program: Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Hayden. Naturally, he had a blast with the Radetzky March. 

Bravo Josh! Are you going to be a music star as your famous homonym? 

On the second day we visited the Belvedere, where we saw the Klimt Exposition. Let's just say that this Eugene of Savoy, like his others aristocratic relatives from Turin, knew how to build a summer cottage! The building is absolutely exquisite.

Around the city, you don't see only historical buildings...also unknown artists display theirs strange installations in public parks and plaza. Check this out! 

Later in the day we spent a couple of hours at the Albertina Palace, to see the Magritte's Exhibition. We all loved it but Josh had a blast: all this surrealistic paintings...his favorite was "Ceci n'est pas une pipe". 

My favorite is The Empire of Light. 

We then had dinner at the Bitzinger - Wiener Kulinarium where we tasted some specialities: the Wiener Schnitzel ...

...Gulaschsuppe ...

and Roast Pork Shank with krauts...

What a dinner!

Here Giuseppe, recovering from our 3 hours of modern art experience, shows the side-effects of too much beer! 

On our last day we visited Mozart's House: interesting, educational but somehow not surprising. 

Finally, we went to the Haus der Musik: it's the most amazing museum so far! 

 Josh had the  chance to virtually conduct the Wiener Philarmoniker and...well, let's just say that it didn't go too well. The virtual orchestra works with the same principle of the Wii game but if the conductor makes too many tempo mistakes, the First Violin stop playing, drops his instrument and starts protesting with several unpleasant comments (something like "in 36 years of activity, we have seen a lot, but this is too much, we can't take it any more!"). Needless to say, Josh was very disappointed.
Here is the movie: unfortunately the comments are in German with English subtitles that you can't read but I think, by the tone of the voice, you get the idea.

Here is the link: Virtual Conductor

Last comment about our trip: the check-in of your luggage directly at the train Station before getting the shuttle to the airport. How comfortable is it? 
Goodbye Vienna, welcome Torino.

1 comment:

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