Or as I was taught to call it - Vienna. Just got back from a day in the older part of Vienna walking around. The day started with the tour guide picking me up at the hotel early and getting on the train to downtown
downtown was dead center in the picture, just 5 train stops from where we were. After a short ride we were there:
I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you have the opportunity, get a guide when you go somewhere you don't know that well. If you don't know what you are looking at - it is not nearly as interesting. A guide can help point out things like the signing room:
which was supposed to have been started by Mark Twain and carried on through the years. All kinds of celebrities have signed the walls - and now it is a protected building. Or this really old political cartoon (that is the theory anyway)
The guide explained that this building had been called the "playing cow" or something to that effect for a long time. No one really knew why until some renovation was done not too long ago. They found this painting until layers of outer coating and revealed part of it. A cow playing back-gammon. The story as she told it was - the cow is wearing glasses, it represents the Catholic intelligentsia. The fly in front of the cow - it represents the Protestant Church being a bother - the man in the background has a fly swatter and is keeping the fly out of the cow's face. She is not sure if it is the real story, but it makes for a nice story anyway. That is the sort of stuff you just miss walking about by yourself.
After a couple of hours of being toured around - I set off by myself. After a nice Austrian lunch (I had a nice plate of Tafelspitz, very nice) I stopped by the Hotel Sacher on the recommendation of Alberto Dell'Era. He told me that I had to get some Sacher Torte.
So, I shipped some home (my daughter Megan loves chocolate). The weather was incredible for this time of year. It was perfectly clear and about 75F/22C. Perfect for walking about. After a while, I noticed that there was an exhibition of artwork by Picasso
and having never really seen much of his work, I stopped in. I suppose that much like a martini - Picasso is an acquired taste. I didn't really see the point in his work, did not do a thing for me. The rest of the museum was much better. In particular they had a section of very old photographs (Daguerreotypes actually, that link will probably go dead over time I'm afraid..). That was very neat to look at, spent more time with the old photos then with Picasso.
Anyway - two days of seminar and then I'm off to the very very, absolutely the very very last database forum. Should be fun - I get to sleep on the floor for two nights and share a room the other two nights. I haven't done something like that for a while :)