American return…

My flight from Vienna to NY/JFK was uneventful.  I actually slept little which is not normal for me, so maybe that’s an event.  When I returned to Ancramdale I was able to stay awake until about 11PM and then crawled into bed and slept soundly until around 5:15AM.  That will change in a week or so but right now I am awake in this quiet early-morning house, my mother and a caregiver downstairs asleep.  The eastern sky is just beginning to grow pale…almost 7AM.

It has been just over 4 months since I last saw my mother, and vice-a-versa.  This is, I think,  compounded her everyday confusion by making her suddenly aware that I have been gone and that I have returned.  There were also moments of “who is your mother?” last night while we watched Jeopardy, questions which are unnerving for me, to say the least.  Like so many people in her life who have dropped off of her social map, I am walking on the fringes of her memory.   I put a positive face on it though and we changed the subject a little, easing her discomfort.  I hope that within the next few days she will have forgotten I went anywhere and have been here all the time.  That would be a relief for both of us.

My time in Vienna was lovely, although the weather was a bit gloomy at times.  Still, it makes for good museum weather and I took advantage of that.  As I stated earlier the Albertina Museum and Durer exhibit were stunning, some of the works not having been displayed for over 50 years.  I saw the ‘Triumphal Procession’ (among many other pieces) in all of its 54 meter glory, the other 50 meters being lost to history.  I was planning on going to see ‘The Third Man’ that night at the Burg Kino Theater, but by 9:30PM I still had over an hour to wait and I suddenly felt the need to just relax and not push the plan.  So I called it an early night and hit the rack.  I have had the Vienna/Third Man experience twice already.  I could skip it this time.  

The next day was drizzly and cold and I trudged over to the Kunst Historiches Museum for a day of Great Masters and palatial Hapsburg splendor.  I was not disappointed.  I made a wise decision and rented one of the audio guides.  Even though I already knew much of what the guide told me, it slowed down my journey through the building thus providing a more enjoyable experience.  It is safe to assume that there were whole rooms devoted to Rubens, Breugal, Velasquez and others.  Truly the booty from one of the most powerful and wide-reaching empires in world history.  From Vienna, the Hapsburgs directly controlled all of Europe, except for England, Russia and parts of the southern Balkans.  Massive power and wealth.  The French Louis’ were common landowners compared to what became the Dual Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  In any case, they could afford to either buy it all since everyone worked for them.  Here is a list of just some of their employees, all of whom I was able to view last Saturday:  Titian, Tintoretto, Velasquez, Durer, Holbein, Rubens (2 rooms!), Altdorfer, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Bruegel.  That is the Top Ten.  There were whole salons of painters with whom I was not familiar.  

The next day I had a great time with my friend Mathias and his family.  I walked in the park and had lunch with them and photographed the three of them with their young son, Anton.  It was such a nice time.  Then I went to the Schloss Belvedere to see the very large Klimt show. Hmmm…After the previous day, Klimt fell flat for me.  What was gently impressive, however, was the exhibit upstairs of the late 19th c. painter Erik Jakob Schindler.  I loved the work and I ended up purchasing a small book.  

So Vienna was a success:  good food, good friends, good art and once again, worth the trip–more than just a stop-over on my way back to the US from Greece.  I think I will try to make it back there this spring for a few days.  


Note:  for some reason I cannot add links with the text.  You’ll have to investigate stuff on your own…

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