May 19, 2022

All the world’s an island: Correspondent Carol-Ann covers the Globe with only a back pack Part 6

Pin It

Carol-Ann-Rudy11By Carol-Ann Rudy

On to Vienna, Zurich, and Antwerp

Traveling by train from Venice through northern Italy and the mountains of Austria, once again I found very good company in the person of a professor of Art History. She is Austrian but immigrated to Dallas, Texas when she married her U.S. Naval Commander husband. We shared talk about art and sampled delicious Italian candy she had brought with her.

It was late at night when I arrived at the Reumannplatz station in Vienna. My host René, a team leader for a software company, found each other a short time later. I was very excited to be in Austria; like all European countries at the beginning of my trip I knew only the cream skimmed off the top of their history and a little of its beauty. I couldn’t wait to experience it.

We arrived at Rene’s home where I met his wife Dita, a Czech, and their son Mark, 5 years old. They have a daughter too; Laura, 10 years old. As late as it was, we stayed up talking until well into the night. Waking up about 9:00 the next day, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with the family before leaving with Rene for the heart of the city. We traveled by bus, trolley, and subway, clean and graffiti-free.

Rene Mark and Dita in ViennaExiting, we walked to a gallery featuring a painting by Hieronymus Bosch that illustrates heaven and hell. Being there, experiencing a great work of art, is significantly different than seeing it in a book or online. Seeing so many (not enough!) of the treasures of the art world and architecture in Europe was one of the greatest pleasures of my trip.

Following that brief stop, we headed for the Imperial Treasury of Vienna museum at the Hofburg Palace and spent the next two hours viewing 21 rooms containing thousand-year-old treasures, both secular and religious. The dazzling collection highlights the social and political power of the empire held by the emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire. The Nazis took the Imperial Regalia to Nuremberg after the Anschluss in 1938 but the U.S. returned them to Vienna and their rightful home at the end of World War II.

Schonbrunn Palace and Vienna as seen from the GlorietteFrom the Hofburg, we sprinted a couple of blocks to Schiller Park just as rain began. A large crowd was there, unperturbed by the downpour. We sat under a table umbrella and ate Chinese food while a river of rainwater ran under our feet. Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed the reason for being there in the first place: an automobile race on the street fronting the park.

The rain abated, and we continued on to the nearby Kunthistorisches Museum, the Museum of Art History, on Maria-Theresien-Platz. It opened about 1891 along with its sister museum, the Naturhistorisches Museum, the Museum of Natural History. For the next two or three hours, I relished another of the finest art collections in the world: works by Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, Rubens, Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Brueghel to name a few. In addition, we walked through the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and more.

The Gloriette and Neptunes Fountain at Schonbrunn PalaceFinally reaching a saturation point, we returned home to dress for dinner at the nearby Heuriger, a restaurant called the Oberlaaer Dorfwirt. My hosts told me to expect a crowd, but it was the playoffs of the soccer game in Brazil and we were one of two parties in the place. I had an authentically prepared wiener schnitzel and enjoyed every morsel. After another sound night’s sleep, I woke the next morning and traveled the same route as the day before but then parted ways with my host: he to his job, me to tour the Schonbrunn Palace.

It was a hot day with temperatures in the high 80s-low 90s. I played tourist again, walking through the Schonbrunn drinking in the opulence of an earlier royal existence. For most of my trip, I was able to take photos freely; here, I was cautioned not to Crown of Austriaalthough I still got a couple of shots in. It had its beginnings in 1569 when the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II bought a large floodplain. It evolved over the next century to become one of the homes of Austrian royalty. In 1918, with the downfall of the Austrian monarchy, it became the property of the Austrian Republic.

There is so much to see at the Palace; I saw a small number of the 1,441 rooms which still took about 2 hours. The grounds include a zoo, a puppet theater, a children’s playground, restaurants, the Neptune Fountain, Roman Ruin (not actually from the Roman era) and many well-groomed gardens and gazebos. The high point for me—pun intended—was a climb up the 200 foot high hill where sits a stunning structure called the Gloriette overlooking the palace and Vienna.

But the day was wearing on and I had far more to see. Leaving the Schonbrunn, I found my way to the Albertina—another of the world’s great art museums with a permanent collection of a hundred-plus years of modern artists, from the French Impressionists Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and Signac to the German Expressionists and Russian Avant-Garde artists. I have long been fond of the works of Chagall and delighted in seeing his original works.

Susanna Bathing by TintorettoDog-weary, I made my way to our meeting point at a nearby subway station and returned to Rene’s and Dita’s home. Later that night, I caught an overnight train to Zurich. Once again, an agreeable companion on the trip: a teacher who was leaving the train before me to spend three days of her summer vacation as a volunteer at a farm. She had done this for several years. I admired her dedication.

Arriving in Zurich the next morning, I spent a couple of hours walking and sitting in a nearby park, too tired to tackle yet another museum. I returned to the station and took advantage of one of the perks of my Eurail Global Pass, relaxing in a salon complete with drinks, snacks, restrooms, television, newspapers, internet and charging stations. Late in the afternoon I boarded The Peasant Dance by Pieter Brueghel the Elderanother train, bound for Antwerp. This was the one night I had reserved a private room on a train—but I still didn’t have my own bathroom! Did I mention I’m spoiled?

IMAGES: (Carol-Ann Rudy)

PHOTO 1 Rene Mark and Dita in Vienna

PHOTO 2 Schonbrunn Palace and Vienna as seen from the Gloriette

PHOTO 3 The Gloriette and Neptune’s Fountain at Schonbrunn Palace

PHOTO 4 The Peasant Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Bird sculpted in Lapis LazuliPHOTO 5 Susanna Bathing by Tintoretto

PHOTO 6 Crown of Austria

PHOTO 7 Masterpiece in Gold

PHOTO 8 Bird sculpted in Lapis Lazuli

PHOTO 9 Black Hat by Alex Katz

PHOTO 10 Painting by Paul Delvaux at The Albertina

PHOTO 11 Der Papierdrachen The Kite by Marc Chagall

PHOTO 12 A Selfie in the Albertina

NEXT: The Treasures and Pleasures of Antwerp and Bruges

To read the first part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 11 2014 go to:

Black Hat by Alex KatzTo read the second part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 18 2014 go to:

To read the third part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 26 2014 go to:

To read the fourth part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on September 8 2014 go to:

Masterpiece in GoldA Selfie in the AlbertinaDer Papierdrachen The Kite by Marc ChagallPainting by Paul Delvaux at The AlbertinaTo read the fifth part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman September 22 2014 at:





Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About ieyenews

Speak Your Mind