Returning from Spain to Vienna, Hannah and I both were happy to be in a familiar place. Moreover, we packed up from house-sitting and schlepped everything back to my apartment. After sleeping in a Schlafsack in mountain lodges, in a tent in Venice, in various borrowed beds in Vienna, etc., it felt good to be home! However, one night at Schützengasse tumbled us onto a bus bound for Prague and our last city tour of the summer.
Although I’d just been to Prague in May with Kathleen, Hannah and I decided we could squeeze in a few days there — with the benefit of my knowing the way around a bit. One draw was hoped-for plein air art time for Hannah; so, two mornings we got up early so she could draw before the crowds overtook us. The first morning I went for a run and ran across the artist at work perched on the wall of Charles Bridge.
Art in Prague is chiefly architectural, of course. Besides the towers and turrets rising out antiquity, Art Nouveau is prolific. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting an Art Nouveau synagogue, which also included an exhibit describing the plight of the Jewish population post WWII. Certainly sobering.
Another church spire surprised us: We happened to walk by at the hour, and a Glockenspiel played for the small crowd that had assembled. Bigger crowds gathered in the main square for the hourly antics (OK, maybe “sedate motions” is more accurate) of the figures around the astronomical clock tower.
One day we took the train to the town of Kutná Hora, which Kathleen and I had also visited in May. The town is home to yet another cathedral where you are blown away by both the grand architectural scale and the attention to detail.
And, since any travel report would be missing something if I didn’t mention food, I’d better mention a culinary delight or so. After our first morning’s breakfast at our hostel, which definitely left something to be desired, we enjoyed two mornings at the Café Louvre. The first morning there, I ordered what was called the “Cowboy Breakfast,” but I am sure no cowboy ever ate such an artistically arranged array of bacon and eggs or aspired to starting his day with an apple meringue pie with walnuts!
…Back to Vienna, I decided that my usually alarming case of the travel bug needed some incubation time to reach normal levels. Hannah and I both were glad to have many photos and happy memories but to stay put for the rest of her visit.
We “finished” the Kunsthistorisches Museum (art history), visited the fascination Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (military history) (gorgeous building, inside and out), and saw a few more beautiful church buildings. One has a funny “dome”; the perspective is right when you enter, but it proves to be an illusion when you proceed down the nave.
We also bought enough gelato to consider buying stock in Zanoni and Zanoni’s (Entrepreneurs, Knoxville could use a cheap gelato spot!) and also visited the cafe/bicycle shop (yep!) located in the space where my church used to meet.
Speaking of church, it felt like a long time since I’d been at New City Wien. We welcomed our pastor’s family back after a summer in the States, and slowly others are re-gathering after summer travels. Hopefully, there will be new faces joining us for worship in the months ahead.
Two of the last days Hannah was here we went to Mödling. While Hannah painted again on the main square, I enjoyed watching a handsome array of couples arriving in semi-traditional apparel for a wedding at the court house. A friendly admirer of Hannah’s work bought us drinks from the nearby cafe, which was really thoughtful. That afternoon we visited with my friend Elisabeth, a religion teacher just starting her last year before retirement. A walk together to the local castle found it open for visitors; so we took advantage of a guided tour on the spur-of-the-moment.
The last day we went again to Mödling, this time to see other colleagues from Bachgasse school over coffee at Friedrich’s (my supervising teacher) house. On the way home, we stopped by my pastor’s house and caught up with his family about our summers; this was a highlight, as I’d really wanted Hannah to meet them and get acquainted! A late dinner together (we were both a bit too tired to appreciate it properly) and then time for bed — and an early train to the airport. What a full two months — hikes, laughter, views, cityscapes, etc., etc., that we will feast on for a very long time. Thanks for coming to Vienna, Hannah!
…Autumn is on its way. Monday school began, and I was a little horrified earlier this week to see people already donning jackets and even hats. Tuesday I even saw a girl with sequin-covered Ugg boots. (Ugh, indeed.) I’m not quite ready to relinquish summer (despite the glories of autumn) to the inevitable encroaching of winter. (Note: By the time I’m getting around to finishing this post, it’s warm and sunny again!)
Although I don’t start work or uni yet (teaching assistants begin a month into the school year, and uni students’ term begins in October, too), there’s plenty to do and prepare… trips to the music library for scores, lots of hours of piano practice, babysitting/piano teaching/English tutoring to tide me over till fall employment starts up.
The week or so since Hannah returned home has been a strange combination of new people (a house guest, a friend of Rachel’s, here for a music/psychology conference — I guess she came to the right city), time alone (different after practically being a Siamese twin for the summer), and running into friends around town. (There’s nothing quite like seeing someone you know in a big city when you weren’t expected it!) …Saturday I trained to Baden for a house-warming party for my colleague Angelika and her family. I was the only non-family member, but no one seemed to mind. In the style of true Austrian hospitality, I arrived at noon and didn’t leave till 8:00 p.m.! …Wednesday evening I caught up with my Hungarian friend Marianna — I’ve missed her over the summer. It’s fun having a friend who borrows the house key to come practice (warming up for operatic repertoire) when I’m out, who readily obliges my wish to practice German together, who loves a good laugh.
…Once again, I’ve written more that my readers might have anticipated. So, enough for now. The next post will be shorter!