Central European Retrospective: Austria

October 30th, 2019

I'm technically still on the road, though I'll admit the criteria for "on the road" is getting very blurry by now. Is it on the road if you're living out of suitcases? I went from Costa Rica to Europe in two, and moreover to Argentina and Europe before that in even less. Is it when you don't cook? 'Cause I brought a bread pan this time around, no more choosing the least-evil ersatz from bakeries that forgot the world's oldest recipe. I've been to doctors, bought gym memberships, been out all night, stayed in all day and watched bad movie marathons...just about everything one'd think wouldn't fit into being on the road. I suppose the only meaningful difference is that I'm using my designated travel key; that'll serve as a useful marker. So then, quite provedly, I'm still on the road, and that's that.

But there's no law against reflecting while one's still in motion, even if you end up walking ass-first for a while. It ought to be noted that these images are at best faint and distant twig-lets to the far more comprehensive treatment of the same lands, monuments, and mischeviousnesses on Trilema.

Austria turned out to be a markedly less fucked in the head destination than expected (expected half for cynicism, and half for having been there a half-decade ago with different company, and admittedly rather different circumstances, none of which supported much depth of discovery).

Let's start, as is proper, with some soup.

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The Pumpkin Cream bisque at Porterhouse, in Vienna's little knot of capable restaurants near the Parkring: the best exokitchen soup I've had.

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A calendarclockbridgepaintingsculpture. It's not merely the language that's aglomerative in Vienna, you know. This was right before the malagavanillacandiedchestnutcoffeesundae, naturally. I'm not posting that, though. What if it runs out?!

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A reasonable monument including the names of noble horses, from a time before horses were given names as bad as sailboats.

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This'd be a repost, but it'd also be my favorite portrait of the on-the-road crew, taken at the Albertina a mere hour before we started leaving and noticed crowds gathering out the door, down the steps and around the block --it was the "Night of the Museums", see, free entry after 5. To think we came so close to Sardin-ia in the middle of the Osterreich!1

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A Hieronymous Bosch, and blue brocade.

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Some Egon Schiele. They had him in the same room as Reubens, which worked fairly well, I thought.

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The wee tramstop-tobaccoshop Schloss of Karlsplatz.

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Royal rose window repose, Viennese filtered sunlight, chickenwire lace.

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A reward for looking up in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, kunstkammer room.

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Forward display of the same.

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That wonderful and terrifying time I had Mircea Popescu both in front of me *and* over my shoulder. Oh yes, and there was also kaleidescopic cake.

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You suppose any English-speakers ever ordered the first item on the list? Why?

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A painting that made a day, to be held high in my heart forever. Never let the seemingly mundane pass by unquestioned, should some question arise; sometimes incredible rooms have rather unremarkable doors.

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A trio of trashy saccharine mementos, dimly presided over by Delicious Grandfather Diplomatico.

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Chestnuts along the river on Vienna's last day, or at least, the last day of that Vienna leg (we'd be going back later for the sake of the steak, not to be too confusing). Phenomenal roasted chestnuts, most welcome in the morning chill, husks opened with ease while eyes voluptuously followed curvatures of riverfront facade and hectic bargaining at the Naschmarkt.

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Joy and delight in the garden labyrinth of Schonnbrun. Have you ever walked the grounds of palaces with someone fit to own them?

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I had a dream, once, of being sent on a journey through these trained trees, by the very figure that walked me through them now; and the leaves were all turning, as they were, and I felt some notion of eternity trickle through. But the dream was sad, and the day was not, and I count myself as being very lucky, when the tally's in.

Vienna was nearly blacklisted on arrival, largely due to failures in planning, but quickly redeemed itself with amendment of the same. Much remains correct, there, whether you'd like to buy a hat, or see a horse, or feel humble in a museum hall. The strudel's entirely disappeared, though, be forewarned.

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The view from a hotel room in Linz. The sticker's quaint but the meaning ain't; there's beehives on the terrace, and their honey's for sale in the lobby. I rather liked Linz, though I score it as a weekend-coffee-country-drive-outing rather than a place to live per se.

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Runner-up pumpkin soup at the Postlingberg Schossl temple of preserved deer. The waitstaff uniformly begin each utterance with a very conspiratorial "SOOOoooo...".

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Possibly they know something about this butter knife pirate, terror of the seven spoons, that I don't?

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List of Rules on the Postlingbergbahn, something or other about steepness and blah blah people who've never driven in Costa Rica.

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It does, however, let off at an interesting spot.

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An interesting spot that leads to...yet moar bahns! Keepen ohn der trücken!

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The story was there's a "fairy land" at the top of the hill in Linz...

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...and it was no lie, though there was a lot less absinthe and sparkly body paint than I'd imagined.

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It was more like...Turkish Delight reimagined as an architectural theme.

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Oh, and with gnomes. Lots of gnomes.

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And a whimsical mini-pok Linzerplatz, why not. Each avenue therein led to some painstakingly put together depiction of a pair of German fairy tales. I'll let you do the 'dentifyin'.

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It occurs to me there's a fair amount of folks spending their lives on this whole subterranean children's interest painted maculature stuff. I wonder: is it the manifest failure of a greater idea above the surface? Could there be some genuine intent? At any rate, I find the whimsy + refuge childcave combination unspeakably sad, somehow. The post-apocalyptic abodes of people who, for reasons I don't know but might understand, have given up.

But I'm glad we went. It's healthy to see unspeakably sad things now and then.

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Sale case at the hilltop church where the past fewscore foregoings've been going on. Do you think there are any holy water connoisseurs out there, making cocktails at a pulpit basement bar?

If there were any in Austria, we didn't find them --the bars are stocked with entirely objectionable schnapps (rather ought to be a Eulora consumable, no?). Happily enough, there's sufficient pleasantry to make the objection a hand-wave instead of a fist. Austria's fine, in every sense of the word.

  1. All terrible joke complaints to be directed at the muses, pls. I just wear hats here. []

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