Detail of Gloriette at Sch�nbrunn palaceVienna is a friendly city. Great atmosphere, and even though our apartment turned out to be in a somewhat seedy neighbourhood just of the Prater, with hookers on the corner and all, even there it felt safe, clean and friendly. Thomas told us that because of the extension of the U2 underground line the area is getting more gentrified slowly. Tomorrow morning at 7 am we will say goodbye to Vienna, and turn our car north towards the Netherlands again, with a lunch scheduled in Neuremberg with Sebastian Fiedler.

schnitzelburger: a whole schnitzel on a kingsized bun
What I liked about Vienna, and what we in the Netherlands could learn from, is the large number of very reasonable priced places to eat. A large Wiener Schnitzel and a large beer for around 10 Euro’s is something I would like to be available at home. Somehow due to zoning laws perhaps restaurants always end up in the city center, which makes them expensive by default. Also we have no eating-out culture, either for lunch of dinner.

The Hundertwasser housing project in Vienna 3rd districtHowever seeing nothing but 18th and 19th century buildings in the city gets tiring. Especially as the whole Romantic era and the height of the K.u.K. power in the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy is not the most interesting period to me. A feeling I have for the 18th and 19th century in general I must say. The frivolous ornamentations on even the simplest of buildings gets irritating after a view days. Apparantly I like a more varied architectural diet for my eyes. Friedensreich Hundertwasser catered for some of that much needed variation, and my compliments go to the city fathers who commissioned him to design a social housing project, against general criticism at the time.
We did some of the usual touristy stuff, saw the Sch�nbrunn Palace, the Hofburg, the Prater, Mozarts house and Stephans Dom. Enjoyed Sachertorte at Oberlaar, and like last year the gigantic ice coups at Caf� de l’Europe, on the Graben. Browsed for books at Morawa (look forward to reading ‘Expelled from Hell’ by Austrian author Menasse), and slept in the Burggarten.
albertina museum entranceWe also visited the Albertina museum, which is well worth your time. Last year I saw a great Edvard Munch exhibition there , now they were in between major exhibitions alas. The photographs of Seiichi Furuya were very interesting though. I especially liked the way he chronicled the Iron Curtain, and his hommage to his wife that died very young.
What I enjoyed most of all was that I could share it all with my partner. Not just the sight-seeing stuff but also the BlogWalk and BlogTalk meetings. It was great to both take part with our own agenda, but to be able to enjoy it all together.