Just because I'm on a roll - here are some more shots from the trip to Central Europe last fall.
Vienna was astonishing. Every bit as impressive as Prague (or any city I've been in, really) but in a completely different way. If Prague has a rather anarchic spirit, the spirit of Vienna is, well, archic. It's history as an imperial city is evident everywhere. It has to be the most follow-the-rules, law-and-order place I've ever been. Never have I received such stoney glares for jaywalking. Cory made the mistake of going out the in door at a supermarket and the manager literally ran across the store screaming at her. In German, of course. Disconcerting.
But it was a gorgeous, stunning place. A living monument to music, both literally in terms of the concert halls, opera houses, statues, etc., and figuratively as a historical capital of composition and musicianship. It's long and, um, complicated history is on display in all corners as well. The food was great, and copious. We dove as deep as we could in two days into the city's offerings of architecture and visual art: Klimt and Schiele, the Belevedere, the Secession (holy sh*t the Secession!) the Leopold.
Although we didn't stay with them, we had the great fortune to have a couple of friends to help show us around. Ellen, a filmmaker and producer whom Cory knows from the dance world, helped us book our hotel (a great hotel! We had a super room with a balcony and they served a really good breakfast!) at a discounted rate, had a couple meals with us and went on some long walks with us. Her husband Rudi, a lighting designer and technician, got us into a performance of Woyzeck, in German but with music sung in English by The Tiger Lillies. (One of the best quotes of the trip came from Ellen: "If anyone had told me I'd marry an Austrian, a non-Jewish Austrian, and live half the year in Vienna, I'd have said they were out of their minds") It was Rosh Hashanah, so Ellen took us to the kosher bakery to get challah and we talked theater on the walk back.
Let me mention at this point that pretty much the only exception to completely sunny days on our entire trip happened the morning we took the really early train from Prague to Vienna - which just meant that I got to see the sunrise through the mist while listening to Mahler. Don't know how we managed that kind of luck...