Monday, September 26, 2011

Parliament Sweethearts

A quiet moment in front of the Austrian Parliament on Vienna's Ringstrasse.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Circles in the Sky

It seems quite a few elevators in Vienna sport circles in their ceilings, resulting in quite a happy effect, especially with a mirrored wall.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Palace Art, Gardens, Food and an Amazing Guitarist

It had been on our ToDo list for ages—visit the outstanding art collection at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.  Our overdue trek resulted in a most pleasant summer day enjoying gardens, art, food and music.

The back side of the Liechtenstein Museum, the summer palace named for the family that named itself after a castle south of Vienna in the early 1100s and, yes, the same family that gave its name to the tiny country on Austria's western border.

Statuary and ivy.

Sitting outdoors at the Rubens Restaurant on the palace grounds, we enjoyed a light lunch of tomato soup, cold cucumber and watercress soup, a salmon sandwich and lemonade...

...followed by a marvelous strawberry tiramisu.

I'm no authority on guitar music but I've been very lucky to have heard some pretty good guitarists over the years—including Carlos Montoya, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton,  Carlos Santana, Jesse 'Guitar' Taylor and Lloyd Maines.  I can now proudly add to that list the supremely masterful Armin Egger.  What a treat it was to hear and watch him play in the Liechtenstein Museum.  Eric, you should have your people call his people....And for the rest of us, if we ever have the opportunity to hear him play we should definitely be there.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Farmer as Artist

Regardless of the time of year, a drive through the Austrian countryside is always a delight.  I have never seen a place so perfectly groomed.  It's very rare to find a piece of litter along the highways or a billboard or a broken-down vehicle in a field or a trash pile.  Most of the fields seem to have not a weed nor a blade of grass out of place.  Throughout the country, dense forests encircle rich green fields resulting in nothing less than a sense of joy to these travelers.  I like the artistic patterns on this chartreuse field south of Vienna, between the villages of Olbersdorf and Bauvorhaben Grottendorf.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Deadly Beauty

Abundant in the high meadow of Schloss Seebenstein were many delightful purple blooms—beautiful to look at but I think they are the deadly poisonous Autumn Crocuses.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Seeing Seebenstein's Schloss

Just south of Vienna, off the A2 highway, Seebenstein castle beckons those who travel by.  Built between 1180 and 1230, the castle was owned by a series of knights, lords, and in 1824 it became the property of the Princes of Liechtenstein.  In 1942, they sold it to a Mrs. Nehammer who wanted a fitting place for her antique collection.  It remains in private ownership but is open to the public for tours and special events. 

Seebenstein Castle, with it's Renaissance-era decoration at the entrance is complete with the requisite moat, drawbridge, tower and turrets.

This sign designates the castle as cultural property and asks that it not be damaged in times of war.

Cracked walls, crumbling bricks and a vine growing behind a trellis-like window add to the romance of Seebenstein. 

Antique architectural elements are on display as you enter the building...

But I especially like the practical simplicity of the handrail.

An interior courtyard. 

The metal doors found all over Europe are enchantingly beautiful.

This ornate table, set with pewter, features the carved wooden head of a Turk, once upon a time a frequent invader of the region. The dishes on the wall were owned by Emperor Franz Josef's mistress.

A beautiful antique cradle waits by a window.

This very old chandelier is made of Delft blue cups and saucers.

I found the workmanship on this bench to be amazing.

Closer up, we see this cushion is leather, not wood.

A graceful column sings its ode to grapes.

What a sweet collection of children's chairs!

Magnificent carving on this chest and chairs.  

I'm guessing these are angel faces asked to protect the person who sits in this charming chair.

A window in the chapel.  This small chapel is still used for weddings.

Hearts on a crest.

I think this is some kind of clock and alarm.  The guide did not speak English and I don't remember reading a description on the hand-out sheet.  Note to self: sign up for German classes.

Keys to the armory door.

Beautiful workmanship on this suit of armor.

Vines through a window softly.

A well stands in the center courtyard.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rovinj Sights

We spent just a few hours in charming Rovinj, Croatia on our way home from Plitvice.  It's definitely a place I want to return to...when I can swim in the clear, cool water of the Adriatic.