Vienna, Austria It started out calmly enough. We knew we had to arrange for a COVID test before we get to the airport on Saturday, and thought we would just check with one of the many many many sites we have seen around town. Our friendly neighborhood pharmacist even walked us outside to point us in the direction of the nearest one.
We looked; nothing there. We went in another direction a hotel pointed us toward; nothing there. After three more futile goose chases, we ended up at the Hilton, thinking someone there must have the information that Americans need. And what did we learn?
All those public testing centers we saw for the last three weeks all closed up yesterday. Yesterday. Evidently, there was no more need here. Our last and final option was to march in another direction to find that elusive enterprise — the private testing center, which costs beaucoup euros. They were surprised to hear that America is still requiring tests to enter, but then they just don’t understand how rigorously we are fighting the virus.
We will reserve our place for a test tomorrow, and cross our fingers. But it was draining, very draining.
We only had the energy for one museum, and that was the Leopold. It is one of a group of museums in what is called the Museum Quarter, and it houses one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art.
The collection represents fifty years of collecting by Elisabeth and Rudolf Leopold, and it opened in 1994. However, in addition to being superb art connoisseurs, the Leopolds were also accused of being “too passionate” in their approach to acquiring their art. Rudolf knowingly kept many pieces of Nazi looted art, and spent much time in court as a result. Only in the last few years were settlements reached in some of the most publicized cases, in true Viennese style, after the main players had all died.
Those details aside, the collection is impressive. There is early as well as later Klimt represented, as well as a recreation of his first studio.
The work of the other Secessionists is well represented and continues to be a stunning shift from the work they worked hard to replace.
It is a lovely day and this was an outstanding overview of modern Austrian work. If only we’d had the energy to explore more of the neighboring museums. Tomorrow?
Don’s Food Corner
The frustrations of the morning that had us running all over Vienna only pleased our Fitbit –13,000 steps by noon. We opted to go back to the Chinese restaurant that we visited a few days ago.
I made a point with a genial waiter that I wanted to see what Austrian influences show up in the preparation of what is considered Chinese food here. He was more than happy to point out the spring rolls with blood sausage and a dish that features three prime Austrian meats — Styrian chicken, some type of special beef as well as special pork. I didn’t catch what all the nuances were, but it was clear they were all meats from animals that roamed free and ate natural ingredients. When combined with traditional Chinese vegetables and served with rice, it seemed like a generic idea of “Chinese food.”
Jo went with the New York orange beef that she liked before. The waiter was curious to hear if it indeed matched the New York orange beef we knew. Basically, he didn’t care that it had nothing to do with food in China. He wanted to know if it was like NEW YORK Chinese food. I didn’t begin to try to explain Cuban/Chinese food in New York.
We’ll get back to more traditional Viennese food tomorrow. Promise.