winds

Mozart in Vienna’s Burggarten, and the Stuttgart Winds

One of the more famous monuments in Vienna is that of Mozart, which currently takes pride of place in the Burggarten not far from the Albertina Museum.

The composer, chiseled in marble, stands confidently on the large pedestal that dominates the top half. The lower section includes several scenes carved in relief and a bevy of happy cherubs, like this kissing pair that cling to the side of the monument on the right side, about midway between the base and the tip of Wolfgang’s head.

I was delighted as a marble cherub when I received this CD, a recording of Mozart’s Gran Partita, which features a photo I took of those cherubs in Vienna back in 2007. I think it works quite nicely with the piece, a serenade in seven movements beautifully interpreted by the Stuttgart Winds Ensemble. You can listen to a part of it here:

A bit more on the statue – created by Viktor Tilgner, it was unveiled on April 21, 1896 at the Albertinaplatz, just five days before the sculptor died. Heavily damaged in 1945 during the waning months of the second World War, it was restored in 1953 and moved to its present home in the Burggarten.

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Seven Super Shots? You decide.

There’s been a Seven Super Shots meme/challenge making the rounds on travel blogs over the past several days, started by the Hostelbookers.com blog. The rules are simple: bloggers are asked to select their own ‘Seven Super Shots’, one for each of the categories below. It’s certainly a good enough excuse to go through some old photos and share (some of them again). It was also interesting to see how how some of my personal favorites have changed over the years.

1. A photo that…takes my breath away


18-Jul-2009, Paris – It isn’t quite Man on Wire, but I liked this backdrop nonetheless. This guy was terrific, performing atop a 3ft X 3ft (1meter square) stone pedestal at the base of the Sacre Coeur steps. Certainly deserved a euro or two.

2. A photo that…makes me laugh or smile

13-Jun-2008, Vienna. More specifically, at the Wien Südbahnhof station. This is hanging in my bathroom and makes me smile everyday.

3. A photo that…makes me dream

29-May-2007, Belgrade. We were stuck in very heavy mid-afternoon traffic when I noticed this woman’s tired dreamy eyes. They can certainly provoke daydreaming. Probably my favorite shot from 2007.

4. A photo that…makes me think

17-Sep-2007, Berlin. The Holocaust Memorial.

5. A photo that…makes my mouth water

22-Aug-2011, Daegu, S. Korea. There’s nothing particularly good about the photo, but the meal was outstanding. And this wasn’t even everything.

6. A photo that…tells a story

April 1999, Psoltega, Nicaragua. A makeshift refugee camp about five or six months after the collapse of the Casitas Volcano (in background) in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. There’s a little more info and a few more images on my blog here.

7. A photo that…I am most proud of

08-Sep-2007, Zurich. A very hard call. For the time being I’m going with this shot, mainly because it was something that I clearly wasn’t expecting. I was simply hoping to get a quick snap of the woman on a cigarette break, and then remember being a bit upset when the car drove by. I couldn’t have planned the positioning if I tried.

Thoughts?

— —

The rules include nominating five other bloggers/photographers to hopefully join in. And I hope they do (if they haven’t already).

Fox Nomad
Old World Wanderings
Speck Treks
The Art of Slow Travel
The View From Fez

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Four hours to kill at Vienna Airport?

There’s only one reasonable option, the delightfully Austrian-sounding Wine & More.

wines & more - but the wine is enough

It’s a comfortable and snazzy wine, cheese and specialty food shop/café with a decent sized offering of wines by the glass. I tried three but only took notes on two cuvees:

Reinisch Reserve 2007 – A cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend from the Johanneshof Reinisch Estate, located just 30 km south of Vienna in the village of Tattendorf. It’s a beautiful shade of ruby, with blackberry on the nose and delightfully chocolaty on the finish. Well-balanced and slightly edgy tannins give it some backbone to store well for the next few years. That’s what I convinced myself when I decided to take a bottle home. Reinisch is particularly known as one this area’s best red wine producers. Their website is here.

Gesselman Opus Eximium 2007 Cuvee No. 20 – This was certainly more ‘Austrian’ in style, given its composition: 60% blaufrankisch, 20% St. Laurent and 20% zweigelt. These aren’t reds you see everyday – unless you’re regularly passing through eastern Slovenia, western Hungary or southeastern Austria. But they do work together exceptionally well. More on Gesselman is here.

Oh, and there’s also a little smoking booth inside, a clean one, where you can enjoy your over-priced Monte Cristo.

From 1970: Austrian Art in the Albertina

Opened last Friday, through 11-January-2009.

Via ArtDaily:

Austrian art takes center stage in the second in a series of exhibitions showcasing highlights from the Albertina’s collection of 20,000 international contemporary artworks. 220 works by 33 artists.

Albertina’s website is here, and a list of the artists featured and a few snaps from the exhibit are here. Very nice gallery.

Daily 10 am to 6 pm
Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm
€ 9.50
Albertinaplatz 1
1010 Vienna

Albertina 01, originally uploaded by pirano.

A few Ljubljana rail deals…

I just picked up some tickets and info at the train station, so thought I’d list it here as well.

Slovenia Rail offers quite a few cheap rides to a variety of destinations. BUT it’s important to note that the number of cheap fares listed is very limited, usually six to eight seats per route, so buy early.

- Ljubljana – Belgrade – Six trains/day, 8.5-10 hrs.  25 EUR/one way
- Ljubljana – Budapest – daily departure at 7:40, arrival 16:23.  29 EUR/one way
- Ljubljana – Prague – daily departure at 10:18, arrival 21:55.  29 EUR/one way
- Ljubljana – Zurich – daily departure at 20:35, arrival 8:20.  29 EUR/one way
- Ljubljana – Munich – three per day, about 6.5 hrs.  71.40 EUR/round trip
- Ljubljana – Vienna – three per day, about 5.5 hrs.  29 EUR/one way
- Ljubljana – Venice – twice daily, just under 4 hrs.  15 or 25 EUR/one way

At the moment, purchase/reservation is not available via the web; here’s a link to purchase points. Check here for couchette/sleeper surcharges.

slo_train, originally uploaded by pirano.

Vienna Riding School Near Bankruptcy

This should please at least some in the on-going “Where are they REALLY from” debate: The AP reports that the 430-year-old school which features Slovenia’s renowned Lipizzaners, is on the verge of bankruptcy after showing a loss of EUR 1.9 million last year. A US tour was canceled, and at least part of a bailout plan includes increasing the number of local shows from 38 to 69 this year.

That’s a bad idea, according to some:

Several unidentified riders told the newspapers Oesterreich and Wiener Zeitung this week they are worried about the welfare of the prized and pampered horses, and that the animals would risk injury if put through too many performances. In the 1980s, some stallions became lame after the number of shows was increased to 70 a year.

A pair of origin debate links: [dr filomena] [carniola].

It hasn’t been a good month for animals in Vienna. A shelter where a chimp, who goes by the name Matthew Hiasl Pan, has lived for 25 years, is going bankrupt, which could leave the primate homeless. The Association Against Animal Factories, an animal rights group in Vienna, tried to have him declared a person so they could gain guardianship.

But in a ruling yesterday, Austria’s Supreme Court said that a chimpanzee cannot be declared a person. Donors have offered to lend support, the AP reports, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

Next step? The European Court for Human Rights.

lj-2007-01-31, originally uploaded by pirano.

Late October in Vienna – Divorce and True Romance

I’m heading to Vienna on the 28th, but not for the world’s first divorce fair that will be held that weekend. (I’m just going to the airport.)

There’s a captive audience for such a gathering in the Austrian capital, to be sure. The divorce rate hit an all-time high of 50% in Austria last year, while 2/3s or all marriage in Vienna go tails up, providing a perfect setting for this inaugural trade show.

Held under the motto, ‘New Beginnings’, the BBC reports, Day 1 (27th) will be reserved for men, and Day 2 (28th) for women, “so couples can avoid awkward encounters and retain a degree of anonymity.”

Up to 20 exhibitors have registered so far, not only lawyers and mediators, but also estate agents, life-crisis experts, private detective firms and DNA laboratories offering paternity tests.

One company will offer therapeutic package holidays for newly divorced people.

There’s no mention of vow-preserving activities, so if the fair doesn’t live up to your happy ending expectations, let me suggest a few:

- True Romance: Allegories of Love from the Renaissance to the Present is at the Kunsthalle Wien through 03-Feb, an exhibit tracing “how this ‘great emotion’ is articulated in the fine arts.”

- There was a time when Klimt’s famous Kiss adorned the walls of many a girls’ dormitory room. To remember those better days, behold the original at the Belvedere Palace.

- Or, on a more practical level, get an 18 EUR family admission ticket to the Mozarthaus Vienna (a savings of up to 9 EUR).

Mozart statue, Burggarten, Vienna, originally uploaded by pirano.

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