Austria Vacation Log: Day 16, Final Days

Our last day in Austria. We started the day by going to the Augustinian Church for Sunday Mass. The Mass itself wasn’t that interesting- even with my German experience I could understand essentially none of it, but the music made it worthwhile- orchestra, choir, and real organ.

Dorinna and I had different goals for the day. As this was our last day in Europe, we decided to do our own thing. Dorinna visited the Haus der Musik music museum, went on a quest for an open grocery story to buy Nutella, and had a restful few hours reading in a park. For my part, yesterday’s visit to the Kunsthistoriches Museum had merely whetted my appetite for art.

My tour started at St. Stephansdom, the largest church in Vienna. The sculptures and sepulchers were fascinating- well worth the few euros just to see where all the dead emperors were buried. But I cruised through it pretty quickly, so that I could take two U-bahns and a tram to the main event- the Liechtenstein Museum.

I had lunch in the museum café- square noodles with butter and ham, with a side salad of lettuce and chives. I dropped off my stuff and enjoyed an afternoon of Baroque art. Security was very intrusive, watching everyone like hawks. For the first time in my life I was asked to “step back from the painting.” But the museum was almost empty, so it balanced out. I especially liked a series of wall-sized paintings by Peter Paul Reubens about the Roman emperor Decius Mus. The library downstairs was just stunning- the kind of library you would have if you loved books and money was no object- books stretched from tiled floor to frescoed ceiling.

I went to the gift shop to buy the catalog, and bought a German kid’s book. It was a mystery book, loosely based on the Da Vinci code, where you have to solve the mystery. I explained to the attractive young woman behind the counter that I was learning German, but could only read children’s books. “Wenn Man kein Kind ist, es ist schwer interesante Kinderbücher zu finden.” (When one is not a child, it is hard to find interesting children’s books.) She was quite friendly, and told me to enjoy the book. I was quite proud of the fact that the entire exchange was in German.

Dorinna and I arrived at our rendezvous point at just about the same time. We met at the Café Demel, perhaps the most famous bakery in Wien. Two pieces of Sachertorte (a rich chocolate cake), and a Kleiner Brauner (a slow-extracted espresso with milk) later, we went back to Brezel –Gwölb for dinner. I had some pretty amazing cheese spaetzle and good beer. We took a long walk home, including a short u-bahn ride.

The next day our trip ended with an uneventful train and plane ride back to America. It was a great vacation, but we were pretty tired, and we decided that our next vacation would be back in the United States.

Two days later, I read a travel article about Croatia in Outside magazine…

This concludes the story of our Germany-Austria trip from 2005. I’ve still got a large backlog of interesting trips still to describe, including our Central European trip to Hungary and the Czech Republic from last summer, so stay tuned…