Tuesday, December 28, 2010

22 Dec Wed @ Vienna 3 C

Vienna's ringtram for visitors. As of 2010, it did not make a round trip anymore.
Some weeks earlier, I made an appointments with Mr Burak of Violinaffairs, located near Taborstrasse station, for a viola tryout. H's violin is a tad too big and we had hoped to get a slightly smaller one for her, as a side memento from our Europe trip. Burak had been told of our requirements  and H's current standard, so that he can get something suitable for H.
Parliament.You can write in for a visit when Parliament does not convene.

His little violin repair shop only has 3 violas to offer, 15 inch being hard to come by in Europe : 1 Hungarian 'hand crafted' 15 inch, 1 German ( Munich ) made which was slightly too big and costs 3500 euros and a suitable sized old viola with visible blemish but  exudes a sweet voice that cost 3000 euros. None was suitable or struck her fancy. The entire trial took a decisive 30 minutes and we were off. H expected this outcome and was not duly upset, thankfully.
Beethoven Haus
Beethoven's original score.

We were ahead of schedule so we ended up at Beethoven's house, located at Schottentor station, for a visit. I had expected the little tour to be like at Mozart's in Salzburg. Therefore, we were shocked to pay 2 euros each, browsing through photos and some old documents with not a single English explanation. It was a total rip off. There was nothing to learn or see, and the scenery out of the windows overlooking the university opposite was also poor. I would not recommend anyone to spend the time and money for a visit.
Bus station at Grinzing
Walking back to Schottentor station, we went to the basement level and caught tram 38 bound for Grinzing. It is located at the periphery of Vienna, covered by the weekly Vienna ticket. In the tram, an old lady with impeccable English, explained how we could reach our next destination, the pathological museum,  by bus. She even corrected my wrong narrative that the nearby church as the VotiveKirche, not the Stephensdom.  It was a lively encounter, one of the many extended by the courteous and friendly people in Austria. Their initiative and eagerness to help touched us so much we are now German and Austrian fans.
Our Lunch place at Grinzing. We came twice because the food was SO good !
Grinzing,  reachable at the end of tram 38, is a sleepy little place in winter. IT is located near the Vienna woods and like Nussdorf and many others, is a magnet for wine tasting tourists in summer when the grapes are harvested. While browsing around, someone even pointed out the direction of the wine taverns, thinking we have gone the wrong way. It was a delightful time wondering around the place, skirting snowed in pavements. At Cobenzlgasse, we settled for a quaint little tavern, the Brandl, because we saw a lot of locals visiting.

Brandl is designed to delight. It looked and felt like a refuge on a  cold winter's day, fire crackling, lots of wine, sleepy dogs and laughter. We ordered a feast for 2 that felt more like 3 for as little as 30 euros. I would go there again if I ever have the chance.
The entrance as eerie as the museum. It houses pathological samples within the university.

Again, back to Schottentor by tram 38 from Grinzing, we walked west to the pathological museum, which is opened to the public only on Wednesdays, 3-6pm, admission charge of 2 euros for adults. It was a very cold evening and a fairly long walk from the tram terminus/U-station. We consulted the tattered tourist map and wandered into an official looking compound, to be greeting by a Christmas market, patronized by  many children. We walked past the fair towards courtyard 13 ( easier said than done ) and at a cul-de-sac, stood a round, domed shaped brick building that is very different in appearance from its surroundings.

The museum  housed medical teaching aids in many forms, from infectious diseases to pathological anomalies. The 3 of us have recently read a book about the investigative work on cholera pioneered by John Snow, so many names on display was familiar. As we went down the circular corridor, the displays progressed to TB,  birth defects, STDs, rather discordant and un-related. We would have derived more  satisfaction from the visit if the narratives were in English.
Vienna's State Opera House by night. A stone's throw from our apartment.

By 6pm, it is time to make the long , dark and cold walk back to Schottentor. We took U2 back to Karlsplatz and make good our order of the Borodin CD. Pat even had time to post a postcard ( of a German recipe ) back home.  If all turns out well, we should receive 2 cards from ourselves this trip.

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