Monday, October 26, 2009

Walk around downtown, Monday

Took the bus to ____ station and walked to _________, where we saw the Roman foundations and medieval walls that had been excavated. Walked by the four statues of Hercules, past the winter riding school, to the grand open grounds. The army was out with its equipment and new recruits waiting to be sworn in, and the plaza was full of people, to celebrate Austria Day____.

We moved away from the thick of the crowd and split a bratwurst from a booth. M. said it was even more delicious than usual. It was served with a roll and mustard. We also got an order of fried bread, which came five pieces with strawberry sauce. I resolved not to eat them all but I did.

We walked to see the rose garden, but then turned around because there was no opening through the wall to the street. Back to the plaza, we got some roasted chestnuts. Some young Turkish men had a booth and were hawking them. I have been wanting to try them, but I forgot I've had them before and they are quite starchy, I always forget chestnuts are like that.

We crossed the ringstrasse to see the statue of Maria Theresa, then returned to get on the Ubahn

We got off the Ubahn at ____ park, to try a walk I found in my guide book. We wandered around ____ park, then down ____ street towards Carlskirche. Partway there I saw the fountains down _______ strasse and we turned down to investigate. Behind the memorial to the pipes bringing spring water to the city, was a monument to the Russian liberation of vienna. I don't know if they were the only liberators. Later Vienna was partitioned.

We retraced out steps, past the French embassy, and turned and found KarlesKirche. There was a man playing accordian outside by the pond near the Henry Moore statue. We went on in to the church. We were impressed by the great quantity of light. We sat in the pews (very ornate) while I reviewed my guidebook and oriented myself. Then we looked above at the art installation (looked like a giant book with nails thru it) that was just below the scaffolding floor between us and the dome frescoes.

We took a tour around looking at all the chapels, then took the elevator up to view the frescoes close at hand. Once I was up there, I had a much better appreciation for how very high that dome is. There were further flights of stairs to climb, we were noticing the ____ figures, like an angel pooring out money on the poor, and some cherubs carrying keys. At the front of the dome were God the Father and Jesus the Son. Angels held the cross behind Jesus. Nearby was a woman, probably Mary, and a priest. Hard to say who was closer to Jesus in this picture, Mary or the Priest.

The stairs got narrower and shaky. Only ten people were supposed to go up at a time, but there was no way to know how many had already gone ahead of you or might come behind. I was going to give up two flights from the top, but I went on whem M. did. At the very top were windows thru which we could see the city all around. The ceiling fresco at the very top showed a dove, to represent the Holy Ghost, I would think. I dropped my guide book which made a loud noise and scared M.

We climbed down, I was shaky, and took the long elevator ride down with 3 or 4 german-speaking visitors. We continued on, past the Sessesion building (with the gold ball on top) to the food markets, which were all closed for the holiday, leaving us no plan for lunch. We used the public restroom, which was stinky.

I was getting tired and suggested we quit the rest of the walk, since there was nothing I was much motivated to see further on. We returned to ______ station and rode to ___________ station.

From here we headed to the shopping street. just before? Stephansdom, we saw a plain older-looking church to the left. Upon investigation, we had found the church with the king's crypts that I and M. had wanted to see. They were pretty amazing, and M. told me about the history of Rudolf and Franz Joseph and Maria Theresa and Carl and Ziti while we went through. I also had bought the most inexpensive guide, which mapped who was buried where, and had a genealogy chart.

Stephansdom had a quieter feel, and darker for light. It felt much more reverent than shopping-mall bright Karlskirche. I didn't buy a ticket to go down the middle of the church and see the main alter and the tomb there more closely, maybe I should have. We did see the pilgrim portrait the architect had worked in of himself.

We went further down the street, enjoying the displays of luxury goods. The stores were closed for the holiday. I did look in the Augauten window, which was the austrian-made pottery I wanted to see. M. guided us to Demel, where we had a lovely meal. I ordered pancakes which I thought were the ones mentioned in my guidebook, but they were something else entirely, though lovely and delicious. M. ordered actual food. I had a fresh-squeeze orange juice which tasted very fresh squeezed. Afterwards we looked around the cakes and candy shop, where a team of three pickpockets tried to get M., but she caught them in time.

We walked out, may have take the Ubahn again, to a bus stop that took us back close to home. I was so exhausted I lay down on the couch. M. suggested after awhile perhaps I'd want to stay up a couple hours, as it was only 6. Apparently I groaned at that suggestion, I don't even remember. I went upstairs and to bed, woke up at 10, read for a couple hours, and back to sleep until morning.

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