Surrealist Architecture and Biomechanical Visions

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2006

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Flag of Austria  ,
Saturday, September 23, 2006

TITLE: Surrealist Architecture and Biomechanical Visions
MOOD: Sweaty
DATE/TIME: 9/30 2:10am, the courtyard of Hostel Mad in Madrid
SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: The mashed-up love medly from Moulin Rouge

Having agreed to meet Meeta at her Wombat's hostel at 9, I actually managed to get up, shower, pack and walk over, arriving right at 9. She had invited a girl from her room, Rachel, and together we ate breakfast which was purchased at the supermarket next door. (Wombat's charges 3 Euros for breakfast.) Both Rachel and I were following Meeta's lead who was following the suggestions of her guidebook.

Our plan was to first hit the Saturday morning market. The market was a flea market shopper's dream, with baubles, road signs, records, paintings, clothes... you name it. But at least half of the market is devoted to fresh produce, spices, deli meats, with mini-cafes and dover kebab places, too. So it turned out that eating beforehand was a bad mistake as there was so much I wanted to eat but I wasn't hungry.

Next we took off for the Hundert Wasser Haus. Having no idea what to look for, and with Meeta manning the map, I was free to stay back taking photos, having a grand old time but not helping in the search. When we needed to double back to an intersection we'd been at ten minutes previous, I stepped into an art storefront, and they said we weren't far. And when we rounded the next corner, I looked down the block and knew we'd found, at least, something.

Hundert Wasser was (is?) an architect who apparently didn't believe in straight lines. Even the floors of his buildings aren't level. I was really happy that Meeta had guided us towards this marvel, as I'm looking forward to seeing Gaudi's buildings in Barcelona and didn't expect to find anything remotely like those in Vienna.

Discovering that the H.R. Giger exhibit that I'd seen advertised all over Vienna was two blocks away at the Kunst Haus, Rachel and Meeta walked me over and we parted ways, posing for a picture in front of the museum, which turned out to be another building designed by Wasser, and indeed, it houses the museum honoring him. The admission cost for the Giger was 9 Euros, which didn't include the Wasser part of the building, and I didn't feel I had the energy to do both anyways, so I didn't. Meanwhile, there's a building across from the Wasser Haus where you can visit the Modern Art Toilet for .60 cents. But at the Kunst Haus there's another toilet in the same design, also by Wasser, which is free with admission. So there's your Vienna toilet tip of the day.

Getting to see paintings and sculptures by Giger in person was a real treat. I wouldn't say I'm a big fan, but his work is very arousing and awe-inspiring. I got to snap a picture of the one painting that I felt best represented the works in the exhibit, though there were some others that were awesome and you should look them up: Behemoth (1975), which is a close-up of a freaked out cat whose head has been encircled by the tendrils of an alien; Satan I (1977), where Satan is seen holding a slingshot that's Jesus-in-crucifixion pose. Satan's left eye is closed as he aims at the viewer; Attahk (cover for Magma) (1978) -- Two brutish babies in close-up, giant paper clips through their noses acting like sunglasses. Awesome.

After that, I bought food for the train at a supermarket, went inside a church, got on a subway, went to St. Stephen's, the main square in Vienna, where I went inside the Cathedral briefly, took pictures of the many horses outside waiting to take passengers on carriage rides, got back to Wombat's, grabbed my pack and got on the train to Munich.

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