Sunday, December 4, 2016

Vienna's treasures, part 1

Day 2: Music, treasures, art, markets

We slept the sleep of the dead in our comfortable Motel One room.  Its only drawback was a very small bathroom.

I was grateful for the borrowed sweater from J which I wore with all my stinky things from the long travel day.  I really hoped that my luggage arrived later...

We had a 9:15am date at the Hofkappele where the Vienna Boys' Choir would be singing at mass.  We grabbed coffee and before heading out.  It was an easy walk there from our hotel.

The mass was sold out.  I'd managed to snag the last 4 seats together on the last row on the floor a couple of months before the trip.  We had a nice view of the altar and were early enough to hear the choir practice, which was heavenly.

The music during mass was lovely.  But it was a Catholic mass, not a Vienna Boys' Choir performance.  We were only treated to one song by these talented boys, after the mass was over.  I really enjoyed this experience.

After mass we were hungry.  We ended up at Cafe Griensteidl and filled up our bellies.  Their apple strudel was delicious!

Next we headed back to the Hofburg Palace complex intent on touring the Imperial Apartments and Sissy Museum.  We bought the combo ticket that included Schoenbrum because that was a must see during our time in Vienna.

The audio guide was very good

We left out without buying anything in the ubiquitous gift shop.  We were headed to the Albertina but on the way popped into the Augustiner Kirche.

Before touring the Albertina, we needed sustenance.  Luckily the Bitzinger Wurstelstand was right there to the rescue!  They serve delicious sausages, fries, and beer.  I was freezing but it was delish. We retreated into the nearby Augustinerkeller for more beer--much cozier.

Suitably refreshed, it was time for some art.  The Albertina has a permanent collection of impressionist art, drawings, and modern art in a beautiful palace.

Piet Mondrian, Komposition #2
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of a Lady with Cape and Hat

Hidden bathroom entrance
After our (too brief) visit to the Albertina, we headed out to see some Christmas markets. But--because I was cold and the church was open--we stopped in to see St. Peter's Church and it was really very pretty, a Baroque beauty.

As we left the church I got another pic of my favorite street lights.  Vienna's streets had the prettiest Christmas lights and decorations I've ever seen.

We browsed in the St. Stephans market and Haas Tea Market on our way to the Maria Theresa Platz market.  I liked this one very much.  It was filled with great stalls.  I loved the lights reflected on the Naturhistoriches Museum.

We walked across the road to the Museum Quarter market.  It was much less traditional with cool igloos where you could sit and drink.  But they were not heated and this girl was freezing.   So we headed out.

Back to the Augustinerkeller for dinner.  The food was good, not great.  But the atmosphere was warm and the servers were friendly.

My tasty but overcooked risotto

Wiener schnitzel--not quite as good as Plachuttas

This dish really let us down

We arrived at the hotel to the welcome news that my luggage had arrived!  So I would not have to go shopping and should be warmer tomorrow!

1.  The Vienna Boys' Choir is special.  I'm glad we got the opportunity to see them, even if in the limited setting of a mass.
2.  The Hofburgs really had incredible wealth.
3.  Vienna is wonderfully walkable.
4.  The Albertina deserves more than 1.5 hours.
5.  Sunset is really early in the winter.  I hate cold weather. :(

Next:  The Belvedere, lunch at Steirereck, and the opera

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