Hundertwasser et al

Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

SUNDAY, 22nd October
A really thick mist lay over the city to start the day as we peered out of our hotel window. We could not see the big wheel anymore or the smoke from the factories in the far distance. We were both feeling the strain of the walking we had done the day before and promised ourselves we would do a minimum today. After all what are buses and trains for?
It was Vienna Boys choir day. We took the U1 to Stephansplatz and changed on to the U3 which took us marginally closer to the Palace area exiting in Herrengasse. Unfortunately we started walking the wrong way at first. I could not get my directions right...always a problem when emerging from an underground system and we arrived later than we had planned. We could only purchase general non-viewing tickets for 5 Euros each which allowed us into the gallery level of the chapel. The ground floor pews were filled with pre booked coach parties. The gallery level was reached by ascending a series of stairs into fairly large rooms containing rows of seats overlooking the nave below. Unfortunately only the patrons in the first row of seats were able to see the proceedings below. Everybody else including us could hear the singing but had to watch it on a small screen above our heads. It was a fuzzy, projected picture from fixed cameras ...CCTV style. If we craned our necks we could see the feet of the choir, which at this stage was a full male choir, and a glimpse of the conductor of a surprisingly large orchestra. These guys were actually on a level above us overlooking the service below.
The choral mass was boring and dreary although the singing was sweet. It was an intense catholic religious service and way beyond me. I did enjoy the orchestra and the choir although I did not recognise anything that they played or sang. If I was closer to the door I would have left earlier because it was very oppressive in those small rooms. I was glad when it ended but pleased that we had made it, it being one of Anne's dreams to see.
As we were leaving and passing the main entrance to the chapel the boys choir descended from the upper level and assembled near the altar. We pushed our way into the nave and just caught them singing a Hallelujah chorus something. We were surrounded by Japanese tourists, cameras at arms length above their heads, taking snaps. I think they had been waiting outside for this moment...but really!!!
Once outside we looked at some recently dug up Roman ruins and had a cup of coffee in a pavement cafe outside the palace and opposite a wonderful fountain with statues depicting mythical figures, an eagle and a python. We were also entertained by the constant clip clop of horses as they pulled their master's carriages full of families around the square.
We walked in a southerly direction to find the ring road and the trams. On the way we passed the Burg Theatre. We poked our heads into the lobby which was as far as we were allowed to go. There were tours within the theatre but none at that time. We also missed out on a tour of the State Opera House for the same reason. We trammed to Swedenplatz and changed there to go to Hunderwasser Haus or village on Loweng. We took a closer look at the Donau Kanal whilst there which flowed under a bridge near where we had de-trammed on a street dedicated to H.
The village was as colourful as expected but overrun with tatty souvenir shops and eateries on the one side and the grubby residences on the other. Not surprising considering all the tourists who were hanging around. We had lunch there, however, on an upper level of the undercover village so we were able to watch the comings and goings in the village shops below. I had a schnitzelburger and a plate of chips.
We were very taken with the works of the artist known as Klimpt of which there were many prints in the village shops in addition to the many reproductions of Hundertwasser's art.
We took one of the very regular trams back to Swedenplatz and found an internet bar in a hotel only to find no mail but lots of spam. We took the train back to the hotel  but not before we had returned to the real Danube to take some daylight pictures. Not many people around this area again in spite of it being a Sunday and fine weather. They must have been all in the city. We were back in our room by 4pm and not wanting to go out again we read and snoozed until about 8pm we went down to the restaurant to eat. We also had the very helpful guy on reception book ahead our hotel in Prague. I had chicken medallions on top of some pasta. Three huge pieces of chicken breasts in batter except that it was not batter. It was a pancake mixture with a cheese flavour. More eggs than flour...very filling. Anne had a salad which, she kept reminding me, only cost 3 Euros whilst mine cost 9 Euros. Just to rub it in I had a Vienna apple strudel for dessert with cream and it was hot, very hot. Just as well the cream was not on top, it would have evaporated. It would have been even nicer with ice cream, though.
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