A group of girlfriends and I sauntered a 75 minute plane ride (just as long to drive to Frankfurt airport from our house) over to Vienna for 2 nights, 2 full days of art, architecture, history, opera, and WINE (plus, a whole lot of talking).
Here are the highlights of my time there (besides the company)
1) Meinl Gourmet Food Store. In 1862, the young Julius Meinl I began his business career selling raw coffee. In 1891 he built his modern roasting plant, and within a short time the combination of convenience and excellent quality made freshly roasted Meinl coffee a runaway success.
Now….it is a gourmet food shop. And I seriously felt MAD that I didn’t live here to drop 100 Euro on Caviar, Cheese, Sauces. To sop up all my feelings of victimization, Meinl’s Wine Bar gave me a little bit of solace. I fell heads over feet (literally, almost!) with their wine display and have my little wheels turning about how to replicate it in my home.
And yes, we all had a bit of coffee. It is the only place in Vienna where you can still get TRADITIONAL viennese coffee. It was really really was strong (still one of the two locations to get it this way and NOT italian) but a lovely little brownie cut mellowed it out.
2) The opera…Puccini’s Tosca.
Oh! This feat was on my 30 in 30 list. And Vienna’s rich history (the original house opened in 1801) set the perfect scene. Yes, Beethoven played here. The Rossini followed suit. My goodness! The opera itself is a display of art….simply moving, just basking in the red and golds tapestries, frescos, and statues.
Here is what the Opera did to me: Jostled my longing for passion and living life without regret. i don’t have to embrace everything in life, but I do long to show up with integrity and awareness. Oh, the opera: the sensation of floating on music that somehow seeps into the emotional code of your cells and transmits feelings of elation and desperation and futility. A good chunk of the time and an almost woozy feeling briefly surfaced… I closed my eyes and participated in those exaggerated highs and lows of the arias. A lovely bonus were the subtitles thrown across small dim screens that roughly translated the lines, but mostly, the music contained and held me.
I believe that the opera was meant to have us recognise those themes in our lives and carry them with passionate integrity….
3) The celebration of gustav klimt’s 150 birthday
A forbearer of turn of the century expressionism, Klimt announced exaggaerated polarity of the modern world. Here is why I LOVE him (first found him in Cologne 2 years ago): The sense of chaos and yet containment.
Simple charcoal lines and then swirls of uncontrolled colored splattered about in a very geometric space. All the museums offered some unique insight into his work but I learned the most from the Leopold museum that displayed his personal letters and postcards. The master isn’t a master at all…but a human being attempting to connect, to contribute, to contain. The other highlight was of course seeing the original THE KISS at the Belvedre, but truly, my friend and I wandered through the exquisite ALBERTINA and swam through his drawings. The evolution of his hand, his development of a character, of a relationship, of the questioning of art….oh, it got me.
4) The Wine…..Vienna hails TONS of wine cellars…and of course,
I partook. Tasted. Sampled. Sipped, Gulped and then…had a peanut war (Oh! I can’t think of this one moment without smiling. It belongs to me and one other human being, though….but it was special K indeed!)
One of our favorite stops occurred at Mozart’s Cafe…infamous for being in the Third Man. But who cares about that? LOOK at that Tart! UBER yummy with a crisp white typical Austrian.
5) The Naschmarkt….four blocks (in the island of a large street) and over 200 vendors selling gourmet food, produce, wine, vinegars, spices, flowers…and PASTRIES
Again, SUPER sad that I wasn’t sweeping up the bounty of color and life I encountered.
Although I felt a bit over-rushed during the visit (the crowds were HUGE!) I still continue to cherish farmer’s markets. Perhaps its the free samples (I am a sucker for the tastes!) perhaps it is the sense of aliveness they engender in me. The proximity to the center of life, the gathering core. I used to walk to a handful years back living in the US, and now, there isn’t one within a 20 minute commute for me. So! I am a traveling market supporter, which makes them a little dear to me.
Oh, Vienna….when will I return?