Kunsthistorisches Museum, Belvedere Museum, and Don Giovanni
We had breakfast in the hotel rooms since the hotel didn't offer complimentary breakfast. McCall was having her cereal with milk and noticed that it tasted a little different than usual. It was then that she picked up the milk bottle and realized that it was actually goats milk! She said, "I probably should've realized this sooner since it had a picture of a goat on it!" I tried a little of the goat milk, I gotta say- it wasn't bad!
The day started at the Belvedere Museum. It was a beautiful building a little outside the main part of the city with a sizable plot of land dedicated to well-kept gardens.
We got to see a bunch of paintings by Gustav Klimt and his contemporaries. He employed the style of Art Nouveau. This style integrated the two categories of art that were believed to be in place at the time, higher and lower. The higher form of art was things like paintings and sculptures, while lower art was things like interior design, architecture, and other decorative arts. Klimt painted but he also included design and pattern into his paintings to combine the two forms of art, as equals.
Here are just a few of the paintings you can see at the Belvedere.
^^^ Die Umarmung (The Embrace): Egon Schiele
^^^Bluehender Mohn (Flowering Poppies): Gustav Klimt
^^^Allee zum Schloss Kammer (Avenue to Schloss Kammer): Gustav Klimt
^^^ Another Gustav Klimt, didn't get the name
^^^ The Kiss: Gustav Klimt, one of his most famous works!
Here were some other paintings from different exhibits in the museum we liked:
^^^ The Five Senses: Hans Makart
After going around the Belvedere we had a break to find somewhere to eat for lunch, so off McCall, Hugh and I went. We left the museum and were just crossing the street when Sara ran up to us and asked if she could join us in our search for a restaurant worthy of our tastebuds, we said of course so we were off again. It took us a little while to find a place that appealed to us, but after a long fruitless search I spotted an interesting sign up ahead in the road, "Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer" (The white chimneysweeper). When we walked in we were instantly dazzled, the waitstaff seated us quickly in a cozy booth. They gave us different types of bread to sample (Walnut, pumpernickel, garlic, etc.) as well as this free tasting of this meat and a spinach dumpling.
They also provided us with pumpkin seeds both before (salted) and after (carmelized) the meal (shown is the salted pumpkin seeds).
Then we ordered our main meals. I got the Pork tenderloin over a bed of polenta with bean ragout.
Oh my gosh, one of the best meals on the trip (which is what we all decided as we ate). The atmosphere, the waitstaff, the AMAZING food, it all came together!
^^^ Hugh, McCall, and I enjoying the restaurant... and our food. PC to Sara
We finished our meal, paid, then met up with everyone outside the Kunsthistorisches Museum for yet another few hours of art. This museum was larger than the Belvedere, but it was also more diverse in the art it showed. Madison M, Tashia, JJ, Zach, probably Lauren, Catherine, Kylie, (like I've said before, it's been 6 months, my memory fades!) and I started out in the Egyptian wing, which was incredibly interesting since we hadn't seen anything like it all trip. The best part was when we were in this side room loking at Egyptian figurines. There was a middle-aged couple (either Austrian or German) in there with us. I looked up at one of the displays and noticed it held these blue colored "Shabti". So I said, "Oh cool, Shabti! They're supposed to help the Pharoahs in the afterlife!". Straight of face as can be, JJ said back, "Actually they're Egyptians smurfs." Not only did we all laugh, but the middle-aged man in there with us started laughing so hard his wife had to lead him out of the room!
After staying too long at one part of an exhibit, Madison and I realized that we had lost the rest of the group. We wandered around the Egyptian area for a little while longer, ended up in this Victorian era trinket part of the museum, climbed all the way up to the top floor and back down to the first when we finally caught up to them in the exhibit we were supposed to be at the whole time, the Renaissance section.
We did see what we were meant to see though! Some of my favorites I took pictures of (naturally). Aren't the last two so creative? You go Giuseppe!
^^^ The Madonna in the Meadow: Raphael
^^^ Summer: Giuseppe Arcimboldo
^^^ Winter: Giuseppe Arcimboldo
After leaving the museum we had a little time to head back to the hotel and prepare for the opera we were going to see that night, Don Giovanni at Wiener Staatsoper. We dressed in our very best in preparation! McCall and I decided to save money by skipping dinner since we splurged a little on lunch and were still full.
Opera time. To prepare myself for this one I screenshot the wikipedia summary of the whole opera so I could understand what was going on (even with English subtitles I knew it was going to be a little hard to follow).
^^^ Just one of the many screenshots taken to brace myself for later...
McCall and I ended up sitting next to Dr. D and his wife and daughter. The seats were good, but not great. At least we could see most of the stage, some of the people in our group could only see half the stage or less! While the performance was good (the actors/singers had very good voices) it was probably one of the least favorite things we did during the whole study abroad... and that includes the final. Yea. The whole show was three and a half hours long! THREE AND A HALF. You can only hear people sing
"In Italy, six hundred and forty;
In Germany, two hundred and thirty-one;
A hundred in France; in Turkey, ninety-one;
But in Spain already one thousand and three."
in Italian so many times before you just need to be lobotomized. And in case you aren't familiar with Don Giovanni's story, those numbers are the women he has slept with. I think Mozart was on crack when he was writing that.
By the time that the performance had ended and it was curtain call (and it was lucky I held on for as long as I did) I was having a panic attack from the whole experience, so I grabbed McCall and we left our seats to wait in the lobby area for our friends. On the way home, all of us (Catherine, Lauren, JJ, Zach, Kylie, Tashia, Madison, McCall, and I) were just ragging on the opera. None of us enjoyed it very much. But, like I said above it wasn't the acting, costuming, or singing that made it bad, it was the length of the performance and squished seating. *shudder* Never again. When Kayla got back to our hotel room after McCall and I arrived we made fun of the experience a little bit more then we went back into our bedroom, and for the sake of our brains, which had been pummeled with culture for the entire day, we watched a chick flick on netflix (God bless netflix and it's restorative power of healing the over-stimulated brain!) as we ate carrots and hummus, yogurt, and goat milk cereal.