Posts Tagged ‘Vienna’

Sketchbook: Evan Playing Piano at Haus der Musik, Vienna

Evan piano sketch

Here’s the sketch I drew of Evan playing piano at Haus der Musik in Vienna. I wish I had longer to draw… and that I wasn’t so out of practice. But there’s something nice about it anyway.

Dinner at Do & Co, Vienna

View from Do & Co, Vienna

To top off our trip to Vienna, we had dinner at Do & Co, a beautiful restaurant with amazing views of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. We were lucky and got a table that looked out over the bar on the floor below, the cathedral and the city lights.

We started off with some simple but delicious salads–Evan had an arugala and tomato salad, while I had one with arugala, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and figs in honey. It was simple and sweet and was accompanied by a nice bread basket.

We had a nice and sweet Austrian bottle of riesling to go with our meal, and Evan had some sort of beef (I know… I’m not good with the meats) while I had a vegetable stir fry.

Everything was great, including the service, and we struck up a conversation with the two girls sitting next to us who were also from the U.S. They had just arrived in Vienna that day and were heading to Budapest later in the week. We gave them some tips on what to see,  where to eat and how to get to their hotel from the train station.

Of course, we had to have dessert–I got a chocolate souffle with fruit, and Evan got apricot crepes with chocolate sauce. By the time we were finished, three hours had passed and only one or two other parties were still in the restaurant.

We decided to have one more drink downstairs at the bar, which had equally impressive views–the only problem was that a good part of the large windows were covered in Christmas lighs–and headed back to Budapest in the morning.

View from Do & Co, Vienna

Sunday Night in Vienna

Just had to share this great photo of me and Evan on Kohlmarket. Vienna is absolutely beautiful this time of year.

Francine and Evan in Vienna

Vienna Museums: Albertina and Haus der Musik

Sunday, we decided to visit some of Vienna’s amazing museums. It was hard to narrow down our choices since there were many amazing options, but we decided on the Albertina art museum, which was holding an exhibit featuring works from Picasso, Kandinsky, Monet, Miro, Rothko, Matisse, Chagall and more. The most amazing thing about the collection is that most of it is owned by one family–the Batliners.

There were also really interesting and informative descriptions about the artwork and how one style transitioned into the next.

We also visited their exhibition of contemporary art, which had some amazing pieces as well.

After a few great hours at the Albertina, we went to a completely different kind of museum–Haus der Musik.

Haus der Musik is all about music and sound and features lots of interactive exhibits that are fun and informational. Evan and I created a waltz with a game that picked musical phrases from a roll of dice. We played with touchscreen exhibits that played auditory tricks on us. We listened to a variety of different sounds–that’s what I’m doing in the picture. And we played with mixing our voices, recording sounds and playing digital instruments that made noises when we moved. One of the most fun parts of the exhibit was a game where we got to conduct a symphony orchestra, standing in front of a big screen with our baton, and the orchestra would speed up and slow down with the movements we’d make. The players would also heckle us in German if we were doing a bad job.

There was also a piano in the lobby and Evan was thrilled to get to play–it’s been six months since he’d been able to. I sat and listened and sketched. I didn’t feel up to playing… I’m way too out of practice. The museum was a lot of fun, though, and very different from other exhibits I’d been to. Also, it wasn’t crowded at all–we saw maybe five other guests, and we got to take all the time we wanted on the exhibits. It’s also open until 10 p.m., and though we didn’t stay that late, it was nice not to feel rushed.

Haus der Musik, Vienna

Evan Playing Piano, Haus der Musik, Vienna

Saturday Night in Vienna

By Saturday night, we were pretty tired–it had been a full day of navigating through crowds and rushing from one sight to the next. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to not enjoy the gorgeous display of lights on the Innere Stadt’s main streets. There were even giant festive chandeliers on Graben Strasse.

Chandeliers on Graben Strasse, Vienna

We had some trouble finding a place to eat dinner because the city was extremely crowded and most places either didn’t have reservations left or didn’t have vegetarian options on their menu. But while searching for restaurants in our guidebook, we stumbled upon a small Italian restaurant that seemed welcoming. We got an excellent wine recommendation–I wish I could remember the name–and had to wait at the bar for a while before getting our table, but the food came out quickly, everything was hot and fresh and it ended up being a lot of fun.

We also got to test out our Italian and German to decipher the menu. I found a great veggie lasagna and Evan had a salami pizza.

Shadow Puppets at Parlament

Vienna Parlament

After the craziness at the Rathaus, we decided to head next door to the Parlament, an austere, neoclassical building with a large statue of Athena out front that starkly contrasts with its gothic neighbor. It was much less crowded, and we started goofing around in front of the large lights aimed right at the big while walls. What else was there to do but make shadow puppets?

I started feeling a little self-conscious of mine, since a few people came over and started watching our shadow show, but it was all fun and games. We both tried to get into that last photo, but it didn’t work so well.

Shadow Puppets on ParlamentShadow Puppets on ParlamentShadow Puppets on Parlament

Rathaus Christmas Market

Rathaus Christmas Market, Vienna

As the sun was setting over Vienna, we made our way over to the Rathaus, where we found the biggest Christmas market in the city. This is quite a distinction because at this time of year there are Christmas markets in every open, available space. And if the space is too small for a full market, there’s at least a “Punsch” stand.

As you can see from the photo, this place was packed! There were booths selling all sorts of Christmas ornaments, gifts and food. We indulged in a chocolate-covered waffle, which was pretty hard to eat standing up, and got two cups of punsch–hot, alcoholic fruit drinks–which we ended up mostly pouring out since neither flavor tasted very good. We were hoping for cider. Still, we did get souvenir mugs.

The Rathaus itself was also dolled up in Christmas finery, with themed, ornamented trees. And the buildings windows were turned into a giant advent calendar, with each day being presented, oddly enough, by a corporate sponsor.

I haven’t been in a place that crowded in a long time.

Rathaus Christmas Market, ViennaRathaus Christmas Market, Vienna