[Side note: This is part 2 of a special Fretz 2 part blog crossover EVENT. Check out the first part of the Vienna trip over at ericfretz.wordpress.com]
Vienna! I remember when my parents visited Europe many years ago, and when they returned they waxed poetic about the beauty of Vienna. Yesterday we saw the summer palace in the outskirts as Eric mentioned but didn’t get much of a chance to see the city during the daytime, so today was devoted more to that.
Vienna has a LOT of museums. You can choose from Jewish history museums, music museums, several art museums of different foci, architecture museums, children’s museums, museums dedicated to Habspurg rulers, a globe museum, and even more. We again found ourselves in a country capital on its National day, which we seem to have a knack for. Luckily, in Austria this means free or reduced museum entry and everything is still open. We opted for the Haus der Musik (Sound Museum) and the Albertina (art museum) and then would see how we felt afterwards.
The Haus der Musik is more than just music – it’s really more like four floors of sound games. A few of our favorite games were a musical dice rolling game where you replicated Mozart’s version of this to create new waltzes, another similar game based on your name. Another was this cool exhibit on how your brain makes sounds that aren’t actually there to fill in the gaps of sound waves that may be discordant. I can’t entirely explain it, because I don’t know that I entirely understood it, but it was cool nonetheless! One room was dedicated to simulating life in the womb, with a pulsating light in the center of the room, whooshing sounds around you and heart beats, and a floor which vibrated under your feet. It was oddly soothing. There’s one floor dedicated to the great composers, where you can see some of their original compositions written in their hand, but other than that the floor is a bit dull otherwise unless pictures of bewigged men makes you swoon.
After this it was off to the Albertina, a more traditional fine arts museum. There, they had an exhibition showing the evolution of pointillism and how it morphed from the style of Seurat all the way to Mondrian style color blocking, passing through Van Gogh along the way, who had little patience for pointillism because it just took so damn long. They blamed this on his mental illness, but I think it shows a particular moment of sanity on his part. I particularly liked an exhibition on woodblock prints as well – they were so precise, and such a difference after seeing the rooms of impressionism and soft colors.
After this we were done with museums and ready for a break, and we found one with some tasty pastries! We ate all of them.
We strolled through the crowded main square we looked around briefly at the museums in the MuseumQuarter, though I was too tired to enjoy them at that point. The kids amused themselves on the walk through by trying to catch giant bubbles being blown by a woman on the square, though “didn’t hear us” when we called them to move on and needed to be corralled. I swear, the number of times I wish I had a sheepdog to round them up.
That evening was spent in, tired as we all were from walking around and still having a cold. I went to a panini place across from our hotel for takeaway, and while waiting at the bar for our food struck up a conversation with a college student from England in Vienna to study art. Within the EU this is relatively easy, as college prices are low across the board and you can move about. With Brexit, though, this won’t be possible and I began to understand why young people in Britain were truly dismayed at the possibility of having a closed border.
I miss playing trivia while travelling, so we played Austrian trivia. Lu did the best with this and beat the rest of us hands down.
Vienna was delightful overall, and we hope to make it back someday. The people were incredibly friendly and welcoming, the food was tasty and there was so much to see and do we left feeling as if we barely scratched the surface.