Helen in Europe travel blog

new friends

Brueghels galore

gorgeous cafe at Kunsthistoriches museum

Writing this retrospectively gives an indication of how busy travel can be! Travel bloggers must religiously dedicate their time to writing their journals; or maybe they are more selective than me. Once I hit Vienna, I did not want to waste time in the evenings and sought out the nightlife; but then Vienna has some of the best museums in the world so there was much to balance. My main goal today was to visit Mumok which I eventually did but later in the day; as I walked past the mammoth square that attracted so many tourists, I decided to venture in to one of the museums and ended up in the Kunsthistoriches museum. Remember that with my ICOM pass, entry was complimentary, otherwise it would have cost €15 (around $20AUD) but well worth it. Feeling so privileged to visit such master Renaissance European artworks I spent what I would have on lunch in their somewhat posh restaurant; no smiles or friendly banter from the waiter - it is Vienna, but the environment was regal. Sometimes, in Postmodern play, the curators would sneak in some contemporary thematically related works; this seems to be a trend in Europe - but at KM, it worked. I had no idea that the museum owned so many Brueghels and there they were all in the same room, all those ones you've seen reproduced and appropriated, referenced and mimicked for centuries. Another bonus with European museums is that they are often open later, closing at 6 or 7 pm. This was a bonus with Mumok as I felt like I was 'going out' by going in the evening, alongside another small group of (mostly solo) visitors. I think we all made it just in time for closing, having ascended and descended all the floors of late 20th century and contemporary art. Then I pondered if I could be bothered staying up late enough for some 'nightlife' when i heard it happening, back in the main square; I followed my ears and found DJs playing music while almost everyone stopped for a dance. I noticed that there was wine on sale (note: wine in Vienna is red and white, there is no inbetween, no rose) and enquired whether the white was any good to a young couple. 'Try some' they said and poured me a spritzer. Of course in Australia, mixing wine is sacrilege but I was assured it was the done thing, so spritzer I did. The couple were quite cultured and he (oops, name forgotten) educated me about the large dominating sculpture above our heads of Empress Maria Theresa. Turns out she was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg; my new Viennese friend told me to notice how she is dominant over the men; one of the first female monarchs to yield power no doubt! So it turned out to be the ideal place to be - in Maria Theresa Platz, enjoying free music, dancing, wine and new company; we continued to meet others, from Portugal and Latvia and the best dancer of all was a Romanian Economics student pondering whether to return to Bucharest or stay in Vienna after finishing his degree; so glad there are more choices for Romanians than what the media depicted in the 70s/80s!

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