Tag Archives: Vienna

Beautiful Art in a Beautiful Building: Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

Whenever I start my question with “Do you remember that museum we saw in …” my kids give me the look and reply “Which museum? You drag us to at least a couple museums every place we go to!”

But with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna it was different. I only had to say “Do you remember that museum in Vienna where we had lunch in this really nice round room, where Daddy waved to us from the hole in the ceiling up above?” and they knew exactly which place I was talking about.

My daughter replied with “Was it that place where they had a lot of Egyptian stuff? And all that gold?”

My son added “Was it the one where they had this big painting of a mountain that looked like a tower?”

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Yep, that’s the one.

Continue reading Beautiful Art in a Beautiful Building: Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

In the Footsteps of Royalty: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Right past the wide open massive iron gates, the vast courtyard is full of tourists eager to catch a glimpse of imperial splendors of the past.

In the times of Emperor Franz Joseph, who reigned from 1848 till 1916, on Mondays and Thursdays any subject of his empire could supposedly ask for an audience with the monarch in his opulent Walnut Room.

What did it feel like, I wonder, to approach the Schönbrunn Palace, crunching gravel underfoot and petition in hand?

Schönbrunn’s size must have must have impressed even the wealthiest of the emperor’s subjects, not to mention the simple city dwellers, if they were in fact ever allowed to see the Emperor.

The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close
The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close

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Animals in the Gun Tower: Haus des Meeres in Vienna

The shape of the building that houses Haus des Meeres (House of the Sea) in Vienna, Austria, looks like an odd choice for an aquarium and a zoo – a rectangular box of concrete with a tent-like green house on one side, no windows on the other three sides, and circular platforms sticking out on all sides from the roof deck.

Haus des Meeres from the outside
Haus des Meeres from the outside

That’s because the building was repurposed – it was originally an anti-aircraft and gun tower during WWII, with a radar that could be lowered into the concrete tower and protected. The round platforms on all four sides on the roof deck was where the aircraft guns stood.

The idea of turning the building into an aquarium came about in the 1960s, and now the top deck offers great views of Vienna and the surrounding hills, and the 4,000 square meters, or 43,000 square feet of floor space inside house aquaria, terraria, and an aviary. Continue reading Animals in the Gun Tower: Haus des Meeres in Vienna

Clam Chowder from Scratch: An Ode to Vacation Rentals

Digging for clams is hard.

First you look for the “clam shows” – the air holes in the sand that show where a clam might be. Once you find a nice, big hole, you dig the wet, heavy sand around it, pushing your shovel as deep as you can. Then you bend, squat, or kneel to look through the pile of sand you just turned over, or plunge your hand in the hole feeling for clam shells. And then you stand up again, and move to dig in another place.

Dig. Squat. Stand up. Repeat.

my sister-in-law and I, digging for clams in St. Mary's Bay on Prince Edward Island, photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, Brian Sutton
my sister-in-law and I, digging for clams in St. Mary’s Bay on Prince Edward Island, photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, Brian Sutton

Continue reading Clam Chowder from Scratch: An Ode to Vacation Rentals