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yk's Trip Report - 11 days of Art Nouveau in Vienna & Budapest Spring 2009

yk's Trip Report - 11 days of Art Nouveau in Vienna & Budapest Spring 2009

Old May 7th, 2009, 07:15 AM
  #21  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
A few points about Schonbrunn I forgot to mention above:

1) You can purchase the Grand Tour ticket online in advance on Schonbrunn's website, thereby bypassing any lines when you arrive at Schonbrunn. (Classic Pass is not avail online.) We arrived there around 2pm on Saturday afternoon, and fortunately, didn't have any queues on arrival. The rooms were still very crowded. We were sandwiched between 2 tour groups, which was very annoying.

2) Tram #58 departs from Westbahnhof, so it may not be the best option for you if you're staying far from Westbahnhof.

3) We spent about 3 hours there: 1 hour for the Palace tour, 2 hours for the Gardens.

----------------------
ann - my opera and ballet tickets confirmations were both in German. It does seem like you can pick up your tickets at any of the venue place (Burgtheater, Volksoper etc). I was too lazy to translate everything into English, so I just took the printout to the box office to pick up my tickets. The Staatosper box office is now located on Operngasse 2, directly across the street from the west side of the Opera House.

They also offered standby tickets back in 2006. I wasn't sure why I didn't bother, though I seem to recall the website back then didn't quite explain the process too clearly in English, so I just figured it would be easier to buy them online right at 1 month in advance.

The only thing I would suggest booking in advance, is tickets for the Sunday Mass at the Hofburg Chapel if the Vienna Boys' Choir is still singing (they go on break during the summer, I think). You need to email them for tickets (but you don't need to pay until you pick up your tickets in person). Email address is:
[email protected]

And as I wrote above, if you plan to visit Schonbrunn, you can purchase your tickets in advance. However, I would not do it too far ahead of time, as I believe the tickets are not exchangable and you don't want to end up being stuck with a bad weather day.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 08:21 AM
  #22  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
Day 3 Vienna Part I

Vienna Boys Choir, Wien Museums, Kaisergruft


M had emailed in advance for tickets for the Sunday Mass at Hofburg Chapel, featuring the Vienna Boys' Choir. Email address is:
[email protected]

There are 6 prices, ranging from €6 - €29. The Choir sits on the 3rd floor balcony, so very very few seats offer a view of them. The most expensive tickets offer a good view of the altar. We opted for the cheapest 5 euros tickets.

The Mass begins at 9:15am, but we had to pick up our tickets by 8:45, or they would be sold to the standby line.

Even though our seats have no view, there is a projection screen in the room so we could still see the service and the choir. The sound is not bad, and the Vienna Boys' Choir really sound fantastic. The instrumentalists are all members of the Staatsoper orchestra, and the adult men choir are from the Staastoper as well.

View of the altar from our level (only the first row - more expensive - can see this, and only if they LEAN way forward):
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3292.jpg

The service is fairly long, and in German and Latin (I think). But the choir sings several times in between, and at the conclusion of the service, they descend from their balcony down to the front of the altar to sing the last piece. The entire service lasted about 1.5 hours. The piece performed that morning was Hadyn's Grosse Orgelmesse (Great Organ Mass) by the Hadyn Choir of the Vienna Boys' Choir.

Even though we had to sit through the mass, I still think it is a great experience. However, I wouldn't pay for the more expensive seats.

After the mass, we headed towards the Wien Museum Karlsplatz, passing by the Burggarten full of spring blooms and a number of sculptures:

Mozart with a treble clef
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3298.jpg

Franz Josef
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3302.jpg

Karlsplatz is also full of blooms
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3305.jpg

Since today is Sunday, all municipal museums (under the Wien Museum umbrella) are free. That includes A HUGE LIST of museums:
http://www.wienmuseum.at/en/locations.html

Wien Museum Karlsplatz
http://www.wienmuseum.at/en/location...lsplatz-1.html

A fantastic museum, IMO, with good English explanations and very well-organized. It covers the history of Vienna, from prehistoric times until 1900s. It has 3 floors, and each section is not that big so it is very managable. It gives a great overview without overwhelming the museum-goer. For each period, it has some excellent examples from that time period. It was a very good way to learn the history of Vienna. On the top floor, is where "Vienna around 1900" section located.

On view is one of Klimt's early commissioned work which made him very famous: Auditorium at the Old Burgtheatre. The painting, not that large, depicts over 1000 person's faces, each one look like as if it were a photo. It was truly an amazing piece of artwork. Other Klimt works on view include his portrait of Emilie Flöge, Love, and Pallas Athene.

On the same floor are also works by the Wiener Werkstätte, and an entire living room that belonged to Adolf Loos. I was truly in heaven.

I split up with the rest of the group as I didn't want to be rushed. I ended up spending about 2 hours total there. The museum shop sells an excellent guide book called Viennese Jugendstil, Walking and Seeing published by Falters CityWalks. It has 4 walking routes (3 of which are a bit outside of the historic core), complete with maps and color photos. I picked up a copy and later in the week, I followed the Historic core walk. If you are a fan of Jugendstil (Vienna art nouveau), I highly highly recommend this book.
http://www.falter.at/web/shop/detail...ad4536a44d14ba

After Wien Museum Karlsplatz, I visited the Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Pavilions designed by Otto Wagner. One of the 2 identical pavilions is now a small museum, dedicated to the architecture by Otto Wagner. Since it belongs to the Wien Museum organization, entrance is free on Sunday. The other pavilion is a cafe today.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3306.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3308.jpg

Wall and ceiling decoration inside:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3309.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3310.jpg

From there, I walked through Burggarten to the Palmenhaus, originally built as an imperial greenhouse but now a restaurant. Next door is the Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly House). http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3314.jpg
I decided the Palmenhaus restaurant is too pricey, so I kept on walking...

Since the Kaisergruft (Royal Crypt) is nearby, I decided to pay a visit (€5). It was an interesting place, though I wish there were some English descriptions. Many of the caskets are extremely elaborate.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3319.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3318.jpg

Almost famished by then, I randomly picked a place to eat. It is called Le Bol, at Neuer Markt 14.
http://www.lebol.at/

It reminds me of Le Pain Quotidien, with a similar menu and layout. I ordered the Provenciale salad and a drink. The salad wasn't that great: the Prosciutto was called "crispy" which to me, was very very dry and tough. The salad greens was drenched in too much dressing. My salad plus a drink was €11.

To be continued...
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Old May 7th, 2009, 09:12 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,480
hi yk,

how lucky I am to have you as my guide for Vienna!

so far, you have told me which transport card to buy [the 72 hour one is great for us as we arrive late pm on sat and leave early on the wednesday, so have really not much more than 72 hours!] NOT to buy the Vienna card [thanks for doing the maths for me] and steered me in the direction of the Wienmuseum which on a first visit, we might have missed.

I have the Schoebrunn pencilled in for the monday, [I'll look at booking the grand tour ticket] as quite a few other places are shut on mondays, and we have opera tickets, so a day at the palace followed by a night at the opera looks like a good plan. if we get round the palace and gardens earlier than we expct, we can always go over to the Belevedere, or back into town.

as I quite often get to hear a very good boys' choir in our home town, and am not a great one for listening to mass, I think that we will probably not try to get tickets for the VBC this time. also, for DH, Aida is probably enough classical music for one trip!

thanks again for all the great info,

regards, ann
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:48 AM
  #24  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
Day 3 Vienna Part II

Haydn House, Manon at Staatsoper


After my lunch, I headed to the Haydn House. 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of his death, so there are a bunch of events and festivities organized this year.
http://www.wienmuseum.at/en/location...ydnhaus-1.html

http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3321.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3323.jpg

Haydn House also falls under the Wien Museum umbrella, so the entrance is free on Sundays. (there are also 3 Beethoven houses, 2 Schubert houses, 1 Mozart and 1 J Strauss house belonging to the Wien Museum organization.)

This house is where Haydn spent his last years of his life and where he died. Prior to that, he lived closer in town. The museum has about 6 rooms scattered on 2 floors. On view are some manuscripts, correspondences, 2 pianofortes. There are plenty of English displays.

One interesting exhibit is a display of 3 guestbooks. The first guestbook is from the time of Haydn when his guests signed it. The second guestbook is from 100 years ago, when the house was already a tourist spot. It was opened up to a page from May 1909 when visitors came during the 100th anniversary of Haydn's death. The third guestbook is for this year. Normally, I don't sign guestbooks, but I did on this occasion. Who knows? Perhaps 500 years from now, a visitor to the Haydn House will be looking at my comment and signature from April 2009?

From Haydn House, I headed back to the apartment for a nap before the opera.

[ C, M, and her parents went to many more places today than I did. After they left Wien Museum Karlsplatz, they visited Beethoven Pasqualatihaus, Uhrenmuseum (clock museum), and Haydn House. ]

If you have no interest in operas, you can go ahead and skip to the end of this post, as the following is quite lengthy.

Opera tonight at 7:30pm is Massenet's Manon. I have never seen it before, so a few days before the trip, I borrowed a Manon DVD from the library and watched it. Incidentally, the production is by Wiener Staatsoper from the 1980s. I found it a total YAWN, so I didn't have high expectation for the live performance.

I arrived a bit early to take some photos of the interior:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3327.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3324.jpg

The current Staatsoper production of Manon is new from the 2006-2007 season. It is an updated, modern production and the premiere performances in 07 featured Netrebko and Alagna. For this season's performances, Norah Amsellem sings the title role, and Jonas Kaufmann is Le Chevalier des Grieux.

This view is what a €38 ticket gets you at the Staatsoper:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3329.jpg

My seat is the last row (out of 3 rows) in the Balcony Halbmitte section. It may look kind of awful, but I actually get a full view of the stage as long as I lean forward in my seat.

I normally am not a fan of modern takes on operas, but I absolutely LOVE this production. It is set in early 1900s, and they have cut out 2 short scenes from Act I. The singing by Kaufmann is superb, though I'm not that crazy about Amsellem's voice. Both are easy on the eyes, and with their acting, they certainly make the storyline much more believable than the 1980s DVD version I watched (with overweight and old singers).

Of note, the Staatsoper offers individual LED screens for surtitles, with an option for English surtitles.

The bottom line, I enjoyed the opera much more than I had anticipated, and I actually love the music this time around.

After the opera is over, I decided to check out the stage door and see if I could get some autographs. I found the stage door without any trouble, but was wondering why there weren't anybody else waiting. After several minutes, I saw a security guard at the door and asked him. It turns out that there are 2 stage doors at the Staatsoper and apparently, I was waiting at the wrong one! I hurried to the opposite side for the correct one and of course there was a crowd there of about 50 people.

I chatted with one of the woman waiting, who has a notebook full of autographs. She lives 300km away and tries to come as often as she can. Obviously she knows the deal so I decided to follow her move. After about 30 minutes, I noticed she started making her way inside the stage door. It turns out that the Staatsoper sets up a table with chairs inside for the soprano and tenor to sign autographs! I finally managed to elbow my way in and got their autographs and 2 not very good shots:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3331.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3332.jpg

Jonas Kaufmann's website (pretty funny):
http://www.jonas-kaufmann.com/

Norah Amsellem's website:
http://web.mac.com/norahamsellem/Site/Home_page_.html
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Old May 7th, 2009, 02:26 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,480
great yk, i too had no idea that getting autographs was so organised! I'm glad you had a view of most of the stage from your seat - we sprung for quite expensive seats [in Madrid] once and I vowed that I would rather not go than ever sit in a seat again which did not allow me a full view. Hence the outrageous cost of the seats we've got this time.

i love the photos of the inside - sometimes U think I enjoy the surroundings as much as the music. they certainly add to the whole experience, IMHO.

looking forward to more,

regards, ann
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Old May 8th, 2009, 07:55 AM
  #26  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
Did I lose some of you already?

Day 4
Day trip to Wachau Valley - Melk and Krems


Initially, the weather forecast for today was cloudy with rain. However, we totally lucked out with unbelievably great weather for our day trip! We purchased the all-in-one ticket combo (Ship-Train-Culture) from the ticket office at Westbahnhof in the morning for €45 per person. The ticket includes: train to Melk, ship from Melk-Krems, train from Krems to Vienna, plus admission to Melk Abbey (one can reverse the order).
http://www.ddsg-blue-danube.at/engli...lwac_kombi.asp

We took the 8:44am train from Westbahnhof, a change at St Polten, and arrived at Melk around 10am. Our first view of the Melk Abbey from the rail station was just incredible:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3335.jpg

The walk from the train station uphill to the entrance takes about 15 minutes, longer if you stop for photos.
http://www.stiftmelk.at/englisch/index.html

Melk Abbey and the Wachau Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Abbey offers English guided tours, but their times didn't work with us, so we toured it on our own (with Rick Steves' self-guided print-out; which really wasn't necessary). The route begins in a series of rooms/galleries that has been made into a mini-museum, with English displays. Next is the Marble Hall with a beautiful ceiling fresco
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3344.jpg

The route then takes you outside to the terrace for a great view of the Danube and Wachau Valley; as well as the front facade of the church.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3349.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3348.jpg

The next stop is the even more-impressive library.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3351.jpg

Even the stairwell is decorated with frescoes
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3357.jpg

Last stop on the tour is the Abbey Church. My goodness, I don't think I have never seen a church with so much gold and rococo!
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3359.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3360.jpg

Dome
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3363.jpg

I thought the Melk Abbey is truly amazing. I have heard my parents raved about it after their visit a few years ago, but this still exceeded my expectation. The Abbey Gardens next door, unfortunately, doesn't open until May 1st. We missed it by just a few days.

It took us 90 minutes to leisurely visit the Abbey, so by now it is 12noon. Our cruise down the Danube departs at 1:50pm, so we went back to the town for lunch. If the Abbey Gardens were open, we would actually be short on time. So, if you are visiting Melk when the gardens is open, you may want to allocate more time in Melk by taking an earlier train.

We randomly picked a pizzeria (on the main drag) for lunch. The 5 of us split 3 large pizzas. Then we headed towards the cruise ship dock. The dock is about a 10-15 minute walk from center of town. We thought we got there early (1:30pm for 1:50pm departure), but the ship was already quite full. 99% of the passengers were sitting on the top deck with no shade. Fortunately, we found a few empty seats on the lower deck at the back of the ship. It is open to air yet shaded.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3374.jpg

The cruise from Melk to Krems took 100 minutes. It made multiple stops along the way, including Durnstein (with its characteristic blue abbey). The hills are lush green at this time of year, and we also passed by some castle (both intact and in ruins).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3372.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3378.jpg

While the scenery is pretty, I think the Mosel Valley is better.

After we disembarked at Krems (the cruise ship stop is actually almost 2km from the town center), we first headed west to visit Stein. One of the DE on tripadvisor suggested Stein, but we found the town rather boring (just a little old town). So we walked east to Krems. We finally arrived at the Stein Gate that leads into the pedestrian-only, touristy shopping street. While touristy, I thought it was rather pretty, with some elaborate store signs.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3384.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3385.jpg

Train departs Krems for Vienna once an hour. We took the 4:49pm train back. The train from Krems normally stops at Franz-Josef Station in Vienna, but currently due track closures, the train arrives at Florisdorf, which is conveniently linked to U6 which we took directly back to Westbahnhof. It was a long day trip but so worth it.

[If you are planning to doing this day trip, make sure you print out the train schedules and cruise schedules ahead of time. Our visit was still during the semi-low season, so there was only 1 afternoon cruise per day from Melk to Krems.]
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Old May 8th, 2009, 09:07 AM
  #27  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
One more comment about the all-in-one combo ticket to Wachau Valley. Be sure you specify which one you want, as there are multiple combo tickets available. The one we bought (train/cruise/Abbey) is called "Bahn - Schiff - Kultur" in German.

When you buy the combo, you get 3 vouchers:
1) Voucher for train rides
2) Voucher for Melk Abbey admission
3) Voucher for cruise

For the latter two, you must go to the ticket office at the respective places to exchange the vouchers for actual tickets.

--------------------------------
Day 5 in Vienna
MAK, coffee, Standing room at Musikverein


C decided to join me this morning to MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). M and her parents went walking around the old center.

I have wanted to visit MAK even on my last trip (2006) but we didn't have time, so MAK is a must-see for me on this trip. I love the works by the Wiener Werkstätte, and MAK did not disappoint. MAK is free on Saturdays - we would have gone on Sat if we hadn't changed our plans and visited Schonbrunn instead (due to the fine weather). Admission is €7,90 but you can get admission + MAK guidebook for €9,90. We opted for the latter.
http://www.mak.at/e/service/f_service_information.htm

I find that each section/gallery of MAK is very well designed. They actually asked artists (like Donald Judd and others) to design the layout and display of each section. I definitely got my share of Wiener Werkstätte, esp designs by Josef Hoffman - everything from glassware to tea sets to furniture to jewelry to book covers.

Even the older sections were well-done, such as the Baroque Rococo gallery (and I hate Rococo!) which includes an entire porcelain room from the Dubsky Palace.
http://www.mak.at/e/sammlung/schausa.../raum01_09.htm

Initially, I thought we could cover the museum in 2 hours, but 2 hours later, we were far from done, so we stopped for lunch at the famous MAK cafe. It was pretty empty when we arrived (around noon), but the waiter had to check their reservation book before letting us have a table. Prices aren't cheap there, but it really is a nice setting for lunch. I decided to have one of their specials today - spargel with Hollandaise sauce with boiled potatoes (one of my favorite dishes). C chose their beef goulash. Both dishes were delicious. Lunch plus a drink was €19pp.
http://www.oesterreicherimmak.at/ueber_e.html

After lunch, we spent another hour in the museum before we left. Altogether, we were there for 4 hours.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3389.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3387.jpg

One HUGE disappointment: The famed drawings of the Stoclet Palace frieze by Gustav Klimt were not on view, due to a re-design of the display. The guy at the info desk said it's been gone for 3 months now, and he has no idea when they will be back on display.
http://www.mak.at/e/sammlung/schausa.../raum05_00.htm

From MAK, we walked a few blocks over to Postsparkasse - Post Office Savings Bank designed by Otto Wagner. This is Wagner's most famous design, with its distinctive facade and the interior glass-iron-aluminum cash hall. Even the furniture and fixtures inside were all designed by him. It still operates as a bank today, and in the back of the cash hall is a museum (admission fee; we didn't go).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3391.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3394.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3395.jpg

C & I decided it was time for coffee break, so we walked back towards MAK and visited Café Prückel across the street. Unlike the traditional Viennese cafes, Pruckel's interior dates from the 1950s. We each had a Wiener melange (my favorite coffee drink in Vienna), and split a Topfenstrudel (cheese strudel). It was okay, though perhaps would have tasted better if it were served warm (we were offered warm vs cold but I chose cold). This coffee break was affordable at €5 pp.
http://www.prueckel.at/

It was time to head home, so we took the Ringstrasse tram. For those of you familiar with Trams 1 & 2 in Vienna, let me tell you that they no longer go around the entire Ring. Since Trams 1 & 2 are known as the sightseeing tram, the Wiener Linien decided that they can make much more money by converting that into a "tourist tram" and can charge a lot more for it (opened in April 2009).
http://www.wienerlinien.at/wl/ep/pro...geTypeId=19568

The original Tram Lines 1 & 2 now only go three-quarters of the ring. It is still possible to ride the entire ring, but will require one change of tram; or one can take the tourist tram. Here's the PDF file for the new Line 1& 2 routes with maps.
http://www.wienerlinien.at/media/fil...inien_8864.pdf

All you ever want to know about Standing Room at Musikverein

I needed a nap before our long evening/night of standing room ticket (€6) at Musikverein. The concert tonight is not by the Vienna Philharmonic, but the Berlin Staatskapelle led by Daniel Barenboim playing Mahler. I have been to a concert at Musikverein once before (with a seat), so I know that unless we get there early to "reserve" a spot on the front row, we might as well not go. The standing room section at Musikverein is at the back of the stalls and is level. Only the people in the first row can get a good view of the stage, plus a banister to lean on. If you're not in the front row, not only you'll be staring at the backs of the heads of the people in front of you, you have nothing to lean against either.

We knew that doors open at 6:30pm for our 7:30pm concert, so we arrived around 5:35pm. There were already 4 or 5 people waiting, and we sat next to them on the stairs. Here's the deal:

Two doors open at 6:30pm - the 2 side doors and not the center door. So you want to be waiting near one of the 2 side doors. By around 6pm, the folks who arrived first started standing up next to the entrance door and we formed "sort of" a line. At 6:30pm, the 2 doors open simultaneously. Each door leads to the bottom of their respective staircases (one on each side). At the bottom of the stairs, we have to wait in line again. At 6:55pm, we were allowed to walk up the stairs single-file. At the top of the staircase, we stop right outside the entrance into the standing room area. Our line waits at the R entrance of the hall, while the other line waits at the L entrance.

[The woman in #2 spot in front of us, told us that they used to open the front doors and let people rush up the stairs for the best spot. Many people got hurt on the stairs over the years, so the policy changed. She has been going to concerts there for 18 years.]

After a few minutes waiting at the entrance to the hall, without any warning, the guards let us in. We were still chatting and suddenly heard a voice behind us saying, "HURRY!". At that point, it was first-come, first-serve as people rushed in from both entrances.

Since we were #3, 4 & 5 in our line, all 3 of us got front row, center spots. The Japanese man who was #1 in our line had warned us in advance that there are pillars in the hall, so we don't want a spot right behind a pillar.

Even though we each brought a scarf to tie/mark our spot, the standing room got so crowded that it was pretty much impossible to leave our spot to wander. Plus, by then it was getting close to starting time anyway.

View of facade and view from my standing room spot:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3398.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3402.jpg

The first half of the concert was Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer. The soloist was German baritone Roman Trekel. I thought he did a wonderful job, even though I've never heard this piece before. We thought many people would leave at intermission, but we were wrong. It was just as crowded when the second half began. BTW, it was very warm inside, esp in the standing room section, and I was only wearing a short-sleeve shirt, so dress accordingly.

The second half was Mahler's Symphony No.7. Overall, the acoustics was excellent, but I know so little about the music that I can't tell if it was truly incredible, or just great.

Will I do standing room at Musikverein again? No, unless there is a concert/performance that I am dying to see and it's either sold-out or the tickets are way too expensive for me.

Not only we stood for about 4 hours total, it also took away some valuable sightseeing time. But I really can't complain for €6.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 09:44 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,022
We're here!! And enjoying !!!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 11:48 AM
  #29  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
Day 6 Vienna Part I
Leopold Museum, City Hall Tour


M and her parents went to the Imperial Furniture Collection this morning. C decided to go with me to the Leopold Museum, located within the MuseumsQuartier complex.
http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/visitors_information/

Leopold is known for its Egon Schiele collection, as well as some paintings by Klimt. Admission is €10, but I didn't find out until the next day that one can buy a combo ticket (valid for 7 days) for Leopold + KHM for €17, a savings of 3 euros. (I didn't see the combo ticket advertised at Leopold though I probably missed it).

There are 5 floors of galleries at the Leopold. The top floor (4th) chronologically displays artwork from the first 2 decades of 20th century. It begins with the formation of Secession, then each room by theme (Klimt, Richard Gerstl, Wiener Werkstätte etc), and ends at 1918 - which happened to be the end of the Art Nouveau/Secession era due to the deaths of Klimt, Otto Wagner, and Schiele that year. 1918 also marked the end of WWI. The most famous Klimt painting there is his Death and Life. There are also reproductions of the ceiling frescoes he designed for the University of Vienna (caused a huge controversy, and subsequently destroyed by fire).

3rd floor displays works by Austrian painters between the 2 wars. I have not heard of any of them. Ground floor is entirely dedicated to Egon Schiele, with 3-4 large galleries. Leopold Museum holds the largest collection of Schiele's work in the world. I don't think I liked his paintings the first time I saw them years ago, but I do now. The last Schiele gallery displays 2 moving drawings: one of Klimt on his death bed in Feb 1918, and one of Schiele's wife dying of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic (Schiele himself died 3 days later of the same illness).

Before we knew, we were there for 2 hours already. -1 level is a special exhibit, and -2 level has more drawings (not paintings) by Schiele. We decided to skip both and eat lunch at the Cafe Leopold instead. We both ordered the daily special - cream of celery soup plus chicken with mushroom cream sauce over rice. Both courses were very good and at a very reasonable price of €7,80!
http://www.cafe-leopold.at/

After lunch, we hopped on the subway and zipped over to Rathaus (City Hall). We met up with M and her parents for the free guided tour at 1pm. The tour is only offered 3x a week in Germany only, but I had printed out the English description (via the link) beforehand. In fact, we were handed an English brochure, though it is not as thorough as the print-out I brought.
http://www.wien.gv.at/english/cityhall/tours.htm
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3425.jpg

The tour begins in the inner courtyard, where we could see the Rathausmann on the top of the Gothic tower. Next, we stopped at one of the 2 grand staircases.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3413.jpg

We were able to tour the Festival Hall http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3415.jpg and the Senate Chamber (with a majolica fireplace, and beautiful wood inlay ceiling).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3417.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3418.jpg

We didn't see some of the other rooms (I guess closed for visit) such as the Coat of Arms Hall nor the Council Chamber. The tour only lasted for 30 minutes. But I guess we can't complain since it's free. Overall, I think it's a nice tour but not a must-see.

To be continued...
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Old May 8th, 2009, 12:09 PM
  #30  
yk
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Day 6 Vienna Part II
Art Nouveau Walk


After the Rathaus tour, the 4 of them went to visit the Imperial Treasury. Since I have been there on my last trip, I decided to do an Art Nouveau walk following the route in my new Viennese Jugendstil guidebook.

Across the street from Rathaus is Burgtheatre. Inside is some wall and ceiling frescoes by Klimt early in his career. I wanted to take a tour (daily at 3pm) but decided that I didn't have time for it on this trip.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3426.jpg

My walk began at the Landerbank Building by Otto Wagner (1884) at Hohenstaufengasse 3, just a few blocks from the Burgtheatre. It is now a private office building. The interior semi-circular cash-hall is still preserved.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3429.jpg

Next on the route is Next is the Hohe Brucke (High Bridge) by Hackhofer, 1904. I made a detour to Judenplatz, where the middle of the square is dominated by Rachel Whiteread's Holocaust Memorial (a nameless library).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3433.jpg

Down the street is Hoher Markt with its famous Anker-Uhr (Anker Clock). Unfortunately, I missed the 12noon spectacular during which 12 figures come parading one after another.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3435.jpg

The next building is Zacherl-Haus at Bauernmarkt 5 (Plecnik, 1905), built for insect repellent producer Zacherl http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3437.jpg ; then I made my way to Stephensplazt and St Stephen's Cathedral.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3440.jpg

Across the square stands Palais Equitable with beautiful wrought iron interior and a courtyard with Zsolnay tiles.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3442.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3443.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3445.jpg

Around the corner is Adolf Loo's famous American Bar. It is really tiny inside, with a huge sign on the outside prohibiting tourists from stopping/taking photos. I walked down Kartner Strasse, stopping in at J & L Lobmeyr to gawk at their crystals, chandeliers, and place settings.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3447.jpg

The building at Kartner Strasse 16 has a nice facade
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3448.jpg

After the short detour down Kartner Strasse, I headed back to Graben, which currently is half dug-up for construction work. Along Graben is Anker House (Otto Wagner, 1895), and the (IMO) ugly pestsaule. Further along Graben is the famous Loos' loos (toilets designed by Adolf Loos). The interior is beautiful, so it's definitely worthwhile to descend the stairs to check it out. (Free if you don't use the facilities; 50p euro if you do).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3452.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3454.jpg

At the western end of Graben, I turned onto Bognergasse to find the Zum Weissen Engel Apotheke (White Angel), designed by a student of Otto Wagner.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3456.jpg

I backtracked to Graben and down towards Kohlmarkt. It was time for afternoon coffee break. How convenient is it that Demel is right there (of course, I planned this route)? The takeout counter and shop downstairs is very busy, but the upstairs tearooms aren't too bad. I love the interior there. I ordered a Wiener Melange and a truffletorte. The cake is delicious. Overall, a very pleasant experience.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3459.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3458.jpg

On my way down, I noticed that they have a huge pastry kitchen separated by glass partition, so one can see the pastry chefs at work (it smells incredible).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3461.jpg

Next door to Demel is the Manz Bookstore (portal designed by Adolf Loos), while across the street is Artaria house by one of Otto Wagner's student.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3466.jpg

My last stop on the walk is Loos House, across from the entrance to Hofburg. Franz Josef hated it, complained that the facade is too smooth and lack ornamentation. The ground floor interior has been reconstructed back to the original design.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3467.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3468.jpg

It was time to head back to the apt for some rest before ballet tonight!

To be continued...
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Old May 8th, 2009, 01:27 PM
  #31  
 
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I'm still reading as well (except for the opera/classical music bits). I'm another Art Nouveau fan, will definitely have to get hold of the Viennese Jugendstil guidebook before my next visit - thanks for the info!

Totally agree about the gilding in the Melk church - did you notice that even the grooves on the columns are gilded!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 02:00 PM
  #32  
yk
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Hi thursdaysd - Yes, I remember reading your "sore foot tour" and your interests in art nouveau. I don't usually buy guidebooks, but made an exception for this one. The Art Nouveau walk I described above actually only covered about half of the entire route outlined in the book. Then there are 3 more walks - all in the suburbs. That's why I bought it, already planning to go on those suburb walks on my next trip to Vienna.

And apart from the building descriptions, there are also some listings of restaurants, coffee houses, and shops along the routes.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 02:22 PM
  #33  
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Day 6 Vienna Part III
Romeo and Juliet (ballet) at Staatsoper


I was actually ambivalent about going to a ballet, but when I mentioned it to C and M, they were really enthusiastic about going, so I decided to go as well.

When I mentioned about the ballet production here (Cranko choreographer, Polina Semionova as principal ballerina), I was told I definitely should attend.

Grand Staircase of Opera House
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3473.jpg

Our €21 seats weren't half-bad. We were in the front row on the side of the top level. As long as we lean forward against the banister, we can get a full view of the stage.

View of the auditorium and stage from our seats:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3474.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3476.jpg

OMG, the ballet was incredible. I never thought I would enjoy a ballet so much, but I really did. First of all, the music (Prokofiev) is beautiful. Second, the costumes and the choreography are top-notch. Third, Polina is so beautiful and elegant and weightless. C is the ballet expert among the 3 of us, and she said the other Romeo & Juliet productions she'd seen before bored her to death, but she loves this one. All I can say is I am so glad I went.

Polina's curtain call:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/IMG_3478.jpg
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Old May 8th, 2009, 02:23 PM
  #34  
 
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This is a little off the topic but if anyone are a real fan of Art Nouveau I would recommend a
visit to Riga, Latvia. I have never seen such amazing architecture in my life- just spectacular.
Art Nouveau artistry that is just too rich, delicate, bold, complex for words. Really much better than Barcelona for instance. Tuns out there was a lot of money in Riga at that time. And with the money there now, so many of them are being cleaned up and renovated. I would say it is worth the trip just for that if you are an architecture fan.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 02:40 PM
  #35  
yk
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Hi PAPAJAS- Thank you for the information. This is not off-topic at all! I didn't know Riga is known for art nouveau. All I know is that I need to make a trip to Nancy, France sometime. I also recall someone (perhaps flygirl?) mentioned some town/city in NZ that has lots of art nouveau as well.

I was quite blown away by the Modernisme in Barcelona, and also love the Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels. I certainly am interested to hear more listings of Art Nouveau towns/cities!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 02:48 PM
  #36  
 
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yk - I was just in Nancy (TR coming soon). I was a little disappointed with the AN on view, although the central square (not AN) was stunning. Totally unedited photos at kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/752708, password nancy. Not sure which city in NZ has AN, although I visited one that was all Art Deco.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 03:27 PM
  #37  
yk
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Ah, thursdaysd - you must be right and I'm getting confused about the NZ place. Thanks for sharing the photos on Nancy, looks like you had great weather! Which museum was that? I recall reading MlleFifi's trip report to Paris with sidetrip to Nancy, and was blown away by the photos she posted. In any case, it's a short-enough side trip from Paris, which is easier to get to than Riga in Latvia. I look forward to your TR!
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Old May 8th, 2009, 03:40 PM
  #38  
 
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yk - that was the Daum glass collection in the basement of the otherwise eminently skippable Beaux Arts Museum - http://www.nancy.fr/culturelle/musee...beaux_arts.php The other place you should see is the Ecole de Nancy - http://www.nancy.fr/culturelle/musee...e_de_nancy.php, but you can't take photos inside, and there's no secure place to leave a bag.

Definitely you can do Nancy as a day trip, or an overnight - I moved from the disappointing two star Les Portes d'Or to the recommendable three star Hotel des Prelats (www.hoteldesprelats.com/index-en.html ) next to the cathedral and across from a tram stop.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 05:53 PM
  #39  
 
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Hi yk; An incredible trip report. Here are a few cities in the US that you may be interested in visiting. IRIS/DICK P.S. A little information. www.nga.gov/feature/nouveau/exhibit_city.shtm
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Old May 8th, 2009, 06:29 PM
  #40  
yk
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Hi, iris1745/dick, thanks for the link. How was your trip???
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