Heather and Gary in Europe - Spring 2014 travel blog

Gary talking with a driver of in a horse drawn carriage or...

The Leopold Museum.

The Hofburg complex from an adjacent street.

Caught in a downpour, Gary sought shelter under a Cartier awning.


Saturday May 24

Our last full day in Vienna.

It had rained during the night but we woke to sunshine again with a few clouds. We were out of the hotel around 9:00 for a light breakfast on the way to the Leopold Museum. We found a delightful cafe, the Cafe Griensteidl at Michaelerplatz. We both had the basic Viennese breakfast; a basket of breads with jam and butter. We ate outside in the sunshine watching the horse-drawn carriages pull up in front of the Hofburg for their day of work. When we had finished our breakfast, we walked the short distance through the Hofburg complex to the Museums Quarter to visit the Leopold Museum.

The Leopold houses mainly Austrian art of the 19th and 20th centuries, including the world's most important collection of Egon Schiele, an Austrian artist who painted at the turn of the twentieth century including during WWI. Schiele died at the age of 28, but is one of the foremost Expressionists of the 20th century. There are also many works of Gustav Klimt in the Leopold. Klimt is more popularly known for his ornamental patterning and use of gold in his more popular works such as The Kiss, but the Leopold has a series of landscape paintings and other less well know work by the artist. There were many other Austrian artists featured and we ended up buying a book about the gallery to remember some of the work of other artists that we saw.

We ate lunch at the museum and had intended to take a ride around the centre of Vienna in a horse drawn carriage or "faiker", but the clouds looked ominous, so we decided first to have a coffee and a shared piece of "sacher torte". While in the cafe (the same place where we ate breakfast), the heavens opened up. We waited a short while, but when the rain appeared to let up, we slowly made our way by foot back to our hotel. We found ourselves dashing from doorway to doorway or awning to awning as the showers increased and decreased in intensity. We had not brought an umbrella with us today.

Back at the hotel, we did a bit of clothes sorting to prepare for packing in the morning and had a drink of rosé wine that we had purchased prior to the cruise and had not drunk on the ship. Later in the evening, we walked a couple of blocks to an Italian restaurant called "Al Borgo" where we had a very nice meal. The restaurant owner (we assumed) stopped us on the way out and offered us both a drink of grappa, which we downed with him and thanked him for the meal.

We walked back to the hotel to find the lobby electric with most of the clientele watching a football (North Americans: read 'soccer') match the Real Madrid versus Athletico Madrid. They were playing the European Champions League Final. The score was 1-0 for Athletico, but the game was tied by Real Madrid in the dying seconds of penalty time and in overtime, Real Madrid went on to win the game 3-1. Exciting. We watched the overtime in the comfort of our room while doing more sorting of suitcases for the morning. Then we went to bed.

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