Home > Uncategorized > Austria, Day 6 and 7

Austria, Day 6 and 7

The last full day, Friday, Mandy took off work to tick off a few last items from the to-do list. The first was visiting the art history museum, which had an amazingly large collection. Where the Albertina art museum could dedicate basically all of its space to one exhibit, and they rotated, the art history museum just had multiple rooms full of pieces from each corner of the world and time period of art. It was honestly daunting.

And all of that was the static exhibit, with the big attraction being a showcase of the work of Gustav Klimt, an Austrian painter renown for leading a rebellion in Vienna against traditional art styles. But the amazing thing was that he had painted a series of murals in the museum that skillfully assumed the guise of virtually every major art style in history, from Egyptian to Byzantine to Renaissance to then-modern techniques. Clearly, he wasn’t going in a different direction because he couldn’t hack it as a painter in the traditional styles: he knew their intricacies and exactly how to dismantle them.

So, yeah, that was impressive.

We also hit up Cafe Sacher, the birthplace of Sachertorte, which is an awesome chocolate cake with frosting that is like harded dark chocolate. It’s not like the overly fluffy cake frostings that I find hard to eat, but just delicious. There was also Apfelstrudel, because I had to have it at least once.

Once more down Kärntner Straße, a major shopping avenue comparable to Mariahilferstrasse, and we headed to the grocery store to pick up some beer for the night. On the agenda was a fairly American, almost college student evening of cooking dinner, playing video games, drinking beer, and watching basketball. In this case, the games were, respectively, Red Dead Redemption and the NCSU vs Virginia game in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. As many opportunities as there were in Vienna to do strange and foreign things, it was nice to have some time to do the normal stuff and relax.

Saturday, my alarm went off at 5am, we were at the U-bahn station by 5:30, and I easily caught the S-Bahn train, about a twenty minute ride, to the airport. Because she would have had to get another ticket and spend an hour round trip to ferry me to the flughafen, that’s where I parted ways with Mandy, my gracious host. The ride to the airport, the flight to Heathrow, and the layover there were uneventful and timely. The Heathrow to RDU flight tacked on an extra hour on the plane when they discovered a seat was broken, and a half hour after landing to make it through customs, making the last leg of the trip awfully long.

But I tell you what: it felt really good to get home, dump my luggage, and hop on my motorcycle and go for a ride over to a friend’s house to catch up.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go to Austria, and learned a lot about that country and myself. I especially learned how very crippled I feel when I don’t have a commanding grasp of the language… Even though I could probably have stuck it out and tried to decipher what was being said to me in German, I found myself frequently defaulting back to “Bitte, sprechen Sie Englisch?” It gives me a whole new appreciation for Mandy and how difficult it really must be to live that every day.

Not sure I could hack it.

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