Vienna! There is so much to see! I decided to visit the Leopold Museum in my remaining time before our ship’s departure. The ticket’s roster listed all the usual categories, adult, senior, student and in addition to it one I had never seen before- unemployed! Funny! In US I believe the thing is, if you do not have a job-go get it! I came to the counter and announced that I am employed and need one ticket please. The guy at the ticket counter smiled recognizing that I must be American “ Yes, we are a socialistic country and this is the way things are.” I entered the museum with great anticipation.
Within the span of a few decades, the physician and collector Rudolf Leopold assembled a collection of more than 5,000 carefully selected artworks. Masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, the world’s largest Egon Schiele collection and key works by Oskar Kokoschka provide fascinating insight into the art of the 20th century. I discovered artists I did not know about from my favorite art time, the beginning of the 20th century. The work of Egon Schiele became the subject of my new fascination. I loved the museum and took a lot of pictures for my daily reports on Facebook.
The grand finale of our visit to the city of Enlightenment Vienna was a concert at the Royal Palace presented by The Vienna Resident Chamber Orchestra. The program consisted of light works of Mozart and Johann Strauss and included ballet numbers as well as couple of light operatic duets. The ladies in the orchestra were wearing evening ball gowns and noticeably enjoyed familiar melodies. The public mostly consisting of the Viking river cruise audience loved the program and overall it was a delightful evening. My favorite was the ballet couple–world-class!
During the trip I was very much impressed by the way Austrians are not afraid to let contemporary art into their old spaces. I totally agree with the vision that time is moving on and brings its own artistic language. I loved the way they decorated the concert hall where our little outing took place. The central stage was taken by bright, happy abstract artwork that brought new life to the old classic space. This trip reminded me how much I love Europe! Culture, culture and more culture on every corner! Our tour guides went on and on impressing us with their PhD-level knowledge in all aspects of European history.
Until… at some point you need to use the facilities and that is when the fun begins! On the left of the Royal Palace, where the concert took place, a little door with magic WC letters was located. Naive American tourists run there in hopes of relief…not so fast! Inside the little room lives an old witch dressed in home slippers and dirty old gown and her job is to watch the WC like a hawk making sure nobody gets in for free; no tourist, no local – NOBODY! She is there to change money as the automatic thingy does not change paper money and tourists stay in a long line and feel bedazzled to say the least.
We have a lot to learn from the Old World. Deep down I am jealous that most of the art organizations in Europe are 100% supported by the government and the position of Director of Development does not exist and Artistic Directors do not wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat from financial uncertainty. The only problem I have with all of this is the pay toilets situation throughout the entirety of Europe. Maybe governments spend all of the money on the arts and there is no money left for free public toilets? Hmmmm… if it would be up to me what would I choose?