This is the day to see "The Kiss" or else. We take a taxi to the Belvedere: what a view! Magnificent gardens as far as the eye can see. Prince Eugene of Savoy had it built when he came to help the king. There are two buildings: upper and lower Belvedere. "The Kiss" is in the upper Belvedere thankfully because the lower one is a very, very long way to walk and mom, well, mom is not exactly a walker.
There are three floors of art: impressionism, realism, expressionism, etc. etc. We walk in the first floor galleries to look at Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, and Klimt works. I've decided I really like Schiele's paintings. I like his hands: long, thin. He died when he was 28 of influenza. We look at Klimt's works and finally "The Kiss" is in one room where many people are standing staring at it. Three Japanese girls seem transfixed by it. Vienna is so full of "stuff" with this painting that to see it in real life now is fairly anticlimactic. Why did this painting become so popular?
We spend about a couple of hours looking at the paintings yet I really enjoy looking out of the windows in this palace where you can see the expansive gardens where Eugene had the first giraffe in captivity in Europe and, farther away, you can see the city and the mountains behind it. Enchanting view! Hence the name: Belvedere.
The gift shop sells just about anything you can think of with "The Kiss" on it: cups, napkins, nail files, boxes, aprons, oven mittens, scarves, thimbles, notebooks, candles, is that enough? It is pretty funny actually.
Lunch is at a Greek restaurant across the street: we're hungry and don't want to search for something more typically Austrian. The waiter is, of course, Turkish. Mom chats in Turkish as usual.
Take a taxi and go to the opera but there are no tours today. Rats! So? the next best thing: go to the Cafe Sacher for a sacher torte and caffe sitting outdoors. Suddenly it starts to pour. Every single tourist is running for cover. After the rain subsides we come home where mom takes a nap and I go to see the Hundertwasser Haus. I realize that it is only about five blocks away. Who knew!
Pretty blues, yellows, reds, greens; undulating surfaces, tiles, trees coming out of the roof, and a lot of tourists, of course. The video narrated by Hundertwasser himself is quite informative: he believes that a straight line is immoral, that houses should be designed by the people who live in them, and every rental contract has the "right to window" clause. The tenant can design, decorate the windows as far as he or she can reach. Every apartment is different and every window too. I wouldn't mind spending a few months in one of them.
Tomorrow we fly back to Athens. More later...
Note: here I am a senior citizen. Therefore I get a discount at museums. Yeay!