Monday, December 5, 2016

Vienna's treasures, part 2

Day 3: Our posh day

We had two big things today:  lunch at 2 Michelin star Steirereck--the best restaurant in Austria; and tickets to see L'Elisir d'Amore at the Staatsoper.

I wanted to see some Klimts and the best place to do so is the Belvedere which happened to be near-ish Steirereck so there we headed on the tram.  The tram stop was super convenient to our hotel.

It was a beautiful but cold morning.  We got off a stop too soon and hiked up to the Upper Belvedere Palace--gorgeous.  We were hungry so went over to the Christmas Market where I got a bread thing that I unfortunately allowed to be covered in garlic butter.   J got her daily gluhwein while I had two coffees.  I loved seeing the schoolkids order their kinderpunsch.

The Belvedere is a beautiful 1700's Baroque palace with a fantastic collection of Austrian art.  It's a UNESCO Heritage site for good reason!  No pictures allowed in the galleries.  I loved the paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.  But I was blown away by the gallery of Klimts.  I knew his Kiss and similar paintings but hadn't before seen his softer figures and landscapes.  Incredibly beautiful.  It wasn't crowded so I lingered in front of each painting for a good while.

We took our photo was by the fake Kiss.

Then, way too soon, we left to make our way to Steirereck in the Stadtpark.  It was a bit of a hike but we arrived on time for our 1230pm reservation.

Each dish had a card to explain it--we all liked that

The server finding our yummy Christmas cookies.

I took a few pictures as we were leaving around 4pm.  It was a very long but delicious lunch.

Looking outside from the entrance

At the entrance, toward the kitchen

Pretty, minimalist dining room

It's a beautifully designed restaurant
 We walked through the Stadtpark to Karlskirche and its market.  It was a gorgeous early evening.

We arrived at the Karlsplatz market.  I convinced the others to pay the 8E fee to tour the Karlskirche because I'd read that you could climb up to the ceiling.

How many opportunities does one get to get within a few feet of the dove at the top of the dome in any church?  It was pretty awesome!

And seeing those gorgeous paintings in the ceiling up close, wow! Stupendous.

I confess the hike up was a bit scary (but definitely worth it!).  The others had no issues with the height or the fact that the stairs were moving when people walked around.  Even though I was scared, I'm so glad they left the steps there after the renovation work!

Back down to earth, we looked around the church itself before heading out to the market.

This turned out to be my favorite market in Vienna.  I loved the atmosphere and the uniqueness of the crafts.  They had things I knew I wouldn't see anywhere else.  J got another gluhwein and it was by far the best one yet.

We walked the short distance to the hotel to relax a bit before our 730pm opera.

The Staatsoper is just absolutely gorgeous. This was my second time to see an opera there and I'd (obviously, it's been 18 years!) forgotten how spectacular this place was.  This time we had cheap seats way up in the galleries--their ticket allocation system is really not geared to single performance purchasers.  No matter, I was in my happy place.  The opera, L'Elisir d'Amore by Donizetti, was light, funny, and engaging.  I enjoyed every minute.

In the nosebleed section :)
After the opera, we headed next door to the Augustinerkeller for a nightcap.  G entertained us with a card trick and we relaxed before turning in for the night.

1.   A long lunch at a great restaurant is a treat.
2.  The Belvedere's collection is outstanding.  Gustav Klimt was beyond talented
3.  I love opera in Vienna, even in the nosebleed section

Next: Another palace, more art, and more great food

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