Saturday, October 14, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna

Definitely the campest baby Jesus I've ever seen... How much do I love this painting? Zoom in for full effect!

A liffant in front of the natural history museum. Just for my Dad.



Looks like we're not in Kansas anymore...








Back in Prague, without much else to report. Friday I spent at the Kunsthistorischesmuseum (which is what I shoulda called it last time, sorry) which had a great collection of Old Masters plus Greek, Egyptian and Roman art. Unfortunately the decorative arts and sculpture wing was closed, but since I spent 5 hours in the paintings part, I wasn't too upset to call it a day. Oh, best thing is they let you take photos in there - go the Kunst! Lots of good Brueghels, a couple of Durer paintings, some Caravaggios, plenty of Rubens as per every blooming gallery in the known world, a couple of Raphaels, one or two Van Eycks, a Bosch, some Rembrandts (have never actually warmed to Rembrandt, but oh well), a Vermeer, some Jordaens, some Canalettos etc. etc. etc. - a really good collection.
Today I spent the morning at the Leopold Museum, which is (I think?) a gallery of Austrian art (I was going to go to the Museum of Modern Art, but the girl selling tickets said "there's not much in there at the moment, tickets are half price" so I thought better of it). There were actually surprisingly few Klimts, and they were mostly early works without that distinctive style. Of course The Kiss is gone, but I think that was in a different gallery to begin with anyway. There were lots of Schieles, which I found alternatively boring and disturbing... There were also two exhibitions, which were included in the ticket price (yay), one on German Expressionism, which included some paintings by Der Blaue Reiter (sp?) school, including Kandinsky, so naturally I enjoyed those, as attentive blog readers will realise. The other exhibition was photographs of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, to mark the 50th anniversary. This is something I know nothing about, so it was really interesting to see them. Plus they had English explanations, unlike in the Kunsthistorischesmuseum (where I did, however, get a free audioguide with a coupon, so I at least knew what the paintings covered in the audioguide were called..).
Then it was, sadly, time to leave Vienna and head back to Prague - in the nick of time, as I was down to my last few euro cents in cash, and Vienna appears to be a city determined to resist the onslaught of credit cards. Unfortunately, I feel like I really didn't get to know Vienna, but I suppose that's to be expected in a stay of only 3 days - don't want to be one of those people who fly through a city and think they know it like a local, anyway. Sad as I was to leave, coming back into CZ felt like home - strangely reassuring to pull into the border town of Breclav and hear the train referred to as number 'sedmnast' instead of 'siebzehn' - I'm back in a country where I know the words for 'please' and 'excuse me', and where I can now understand such exchanges as 'do you have two crowns' when trying to pay for a small purchase with a note (okay, maybe because I was expecting her to ask me, but there you go). On leaving the metro I even ran the gauntlet of a ticket inspector on either side. I had a ticket, but amongst us expats it's a little sign that you've 'passed' as Czech if you can pull off a trip without drawing the beady eye of the ticket man.
Now to go and find my friends - cell's dead and I have no clue where I'm staying tonight, just hope somebody's home at Caroyln's where I left me suitcase...

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