Day 15, four weeks ago today:
A warm glow rolls over, hugs, and clings onto cobblestones and buildings at the beginning and the end of the day. An exploratory walk through the streets on both sides of the Salzach river is accompanied by increasing cloud and ominous skies, by an afternoon thunderboomer with a drenching downpour, before the clouds break and the sun peeks through again. Just another (extra)ordinary day in Salzburg.
Images: Morning light on Linzer Gasse; Max-Reinhardt-Platz, post-downpour; Getreidegasse in afternoon light.
Salzburg, 🇦🇹 - 22 May 2018 (HL, x70). #visitsalzburg #visitaustria #feelaustria #fujix70 #fujifilmx70
Day 14, four weeks ago today:
For the first time in over 15 years, I’ve returned to Salzburg. To many, the city is synonymous with “The Sound of Music”, but the place is already about the family of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart. My childhood connection via “The Sound of Music” has motivated the reason for an informal poll during my entire time in Austria. To any and all Austrians I meet along the way, my lead question is: “have you ever seen the film ‘The Sound of Music’?” The result will be very illuminating.
After its takeover and expansion of the settlement (likely Celtic) around 1st-century BC/BCE, the Roman Empire called the town “Municipium Claudium Iuvavum” for its location along the Salzach river (a.k.a. Ivarus) and for its presence near the frontier. The town would be abandoned to ruins a couple of centuries later. But by the 7th-century AD/CE, Bishop Rupert of Worms recognized the strategic location of river, overlook, and junction. He helped rebuild, reestablish, and Christianize the town; he would also rename the town “Salzburg” for the salt trade bringing wealth and the upper fortress providing protection.
I’m interested by the city residents’ desire not only to anchor but also broaden the obvious connection with Amadeus Mozart and his early life in Salzburg. For example, artist Marina Abromovic’s 2004 sculpture installation “Spirit of Mozart” resides at the north end of the Staatsbrücke bridge. Most visitors walk past without a second thought or are bewildered by its presence. Abramovic prompts visitors to sit on the chairs which are part of the sculpture. She writes: I wanted to create a place of contemplation and devote it to the spirit of Mozart right in the heart of Salzburg, in the midst of traffic and the hectic pulsating bustle of the city.
Salzburg, 🇦🇹 - 21 May 2018 (HL, x70 img tags 4308, 4325). #visitsalzburg
Day 13, four weeks ago today:
Vienna has seen her fair share of history, back to a time when the once Celtic settlement was called Vindobona under the auspices of the Roman Empire. And there’ve been more than a few people who’ve been successful in the city …
Suspended next to the entrance of the E. A .Generali insurance company building at Am Hof 11 is a crinkly golden sphere: the Türkenkugel (Ottoman ball).. It’s a (replica) gilded cannonball fired during the Ottomans’ second and unsuccessful siege of Vienna in 1683. The ball was walled in and later gilded; the house and restaurant which used to be here at this location was given the name “Zur goldenen Kugel”, or at the golden ball.
Judenplatz (Jewish Square) was home and centre to the city’s once-thriving Jewish communities and to one of the largest synagogues in Europe. To one side of the square is Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture, “Nameless Library”, a memorial to the 65-thousand Viennese Jews who were deported and murdered by the Nazis. The memorial is a reinforced concrete cube which represents an introverted/inverted inaccessible library. Countless editions of what seems to be the same non-titled book represent the large number of victims and their individual stories. Rachel Whiteread is a UK artist and sculptor who in 1993 was the first woman to win the Turner Prize. Whiteread’s memorial sculpture is an interesting counterpoint to Micha Ullman’s memorial at Berlin’s Bebelplatz where an empty set of white bookshelves marks the place where books by authors Jewish, undesireable, or traitorous were burned by Nazis in 1933.
I had promised myself to explore more of Jewish Vienna, especially in Leopoldstadt. Along with the Vienna Modernism centenary, I had a punishing and almost impossible schedule. So I’m coming back to Vienna, hungry to see, find, and learn more in this tragic, vibrant, and beautiful city.
Wien (Vienna), 🇦🇹 - 20 May 2018 (HL, x70 img tags 4170, 4177). #Whiteread21
Day 12, four weeks ago today:
I’ve set aside the day to immerse myself in the art works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele at the Upper Belvedere and the Leopold Museum, respectively.
Vienna celebrates the 2018 year as the 100th anniversary of Vienna Modernism with four major figures: Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner. I’m pleasantly surprised, because I hadn’t expected both museums to allow visitors to photograph their collections. Sure, images for some of these paintings appear online, but I know the *act* of taking pictures of the famous paintings will deepen the memories of my visit.
In a massive crowd of people who are here to see the painting (or even if the simple desire is a quick selfie and leave), to stand in the immediate presence of “The Kiss” for a period of time is like gently swimming in a sea of gold. The speckle and sparkle seem to undulate from one Gustav Klimt painting to the next; it’s almost like changing ships in the sea. By comparison, I think Egon Schiele’s work is “sharp” with penetrating gazes and distinct lines. There’s no question Klimt’s naked women and Schiele’s direct questions caused discomfort and consternation among early 20th-century viewers in a conservative Vienna.
Seeing art is direct, personal, and visceral; the experience goes some way to complete research I’ve done in advance about historical and cultural context. Another pilgrimage is complete, one of many planned during this month-long journey in Austria.
Four images: “The Bride”, Gustav Klimt, 1917/1918. “Judith”, Gustav Klimt, 1901. “Self-portrait with Chinese lantern plant”, Egon Schiele, 1912. “The embrace (lovers)”, Egon Schiele, 1917.
Wien (Vienna), 🇦🇹 - 19 May 2018 (HL, x70 imgs). #wienermoderne #viennamodernism #gustavklimt #egonschiele #belvederevienna #mqvienna
Day 11, four weeks ago today:
The early-evening mood in Vienna’s Old Town is as ethereal as the remaining light scattered from the cobblestones. Grünangergasse was likely once the location of a green commons and, according to local legend, house #8 was where the first Kipfel / Kipferl / crescent / buttery croissant was made in the late 17th- to 18th-century to mark Vienna’s successful defence against the Ottomans’ second siege on the city. Ballgasse is a narrow cobblestone passage and one of the last remaining from medieval times, even though the surrounding buildings are much younger dating to the 18th-century. This short stretch of street, the lack of vehicles, and the sounds of quiet chatter are a slow relaxed trip back in time.
Wien (Vienna), 🇦🇹 - 18 May 2018 (HL, x70 img tags 3157, 3164).
Day 10, four weeks ago today:
I get to say “dobrý deň” again, at least for a day. Thanks to @TwinCityLiner, I’ve secured a seat on both legs of the catamaran service between the two neighbouring capital cities of Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Over the next 8-plus hours in Bratislava, I’m on the city’s streets, crossing the Danube river twice in the process. Bratislava’s Old Town is a big highlight, but I’ve cast sights on other parts of the city. That includes an example of street art (by @FatHeat at Stone Square), and a view from Castle Hill to the UFO Bridge and the much-maligned but ubiquitous “paneláky” where many in the city live. “Paneláky” are pre-fabricated apartment buildings from the former Soviet Union and its influence over countries behind the former Iron Curtain.
As much as I try avoiding it, ice hockey stalks me halfway around the world, because I end up in a fan park for the Slovakia national team who are in Denmark at the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship. Undoubtedly, it helps Bratislava is one of two cities to host the @IIHFHockey championship next year.
Bratislava, 🇸🇰 - 17 May 2018 (HL, x70 imgs). #visitbratislava #goodideaslovakia #fujix70 #fujifilmx70 #fotoeins
Day 9, four weeks ago today:
Throughout 2018, the Austrian capital city celebrates 100 years of Vienna Modernism by highlighting the work and achievements of Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner. Anyone spending any time in the city will have seen, brushed past, and likely, traveled within Otto Wagner’s architectural legacy. Examples of Wagner’s creations include the Pavilion at Karlsplatz and the Hofspavilion at Hietzing.
By 1894, the city of Vienna tasked Otto Wagner with the planning and construction of the new “Stadtbahn” or city railway. Not only was he responsible for planning the bridges, viaducts, and stations, he was charged with light fixtures, decorative features and colours, railings, signage, ticket counters, station gates, roof details, floor covering, furniture, etc. Today’s U4 and U6 subway lines and the S45 suburban rail line operate on part of the former Stadtbahn.
The Karlsplatz Pavilion is dominated by yellow sunflowers and green paint on a white background; the colours and motifs would be Wagner’s signature for his entire design of the early Vienna subway system. The Royal Pavilion at Hietzing was designed so the royals including Emperor Franz Josef could have their own separate entrance and exit to the subway apart from the commoners. Both buildings are lasting heritage to Wagner’s architectural vision of bringing Vienna from the 19th- to the 20th-century.
Wien (Vienna), 🇦🇹 - 16 May 2018 (HL, x70 img tags 2179, 2340). #wagner2018 #wienermoderne #viennamodernism
Day 8, four weeks ago today:
I enjoy the process of cooking: the preparation, and of course, the consumption. In a period of time of what seemed like a never-ending research dissertation, I liked how cooking had well-defined endpoints: a desirable start and a satisfying conclusion. Modern kitchen design invites repeated patterns of movement and action around where cookware, utensils, condiments, glassware, etc. are stored and where the central focus of cooking activity takes place. And so, if you have spent any time in a kitchen (which would be everybody), we have Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to thank.
In the early 1920s, Schütte-Lihotzky became Austria’s first woman architect. In 1926, she joined the municipal planning department in Frankfurt am Main. With her mind primed towards social housing, she designed a kitchen which was reproducible and built-in to the planned design, reducing overall construction time, money, and effort. As part of the “New Frankfurt” public housing program, over 10-thousand apartments were built with her kitchen design. By 1936, what became known as the “Frankfurt Kitchen” was included in Ernst Neufert’s standard book “Architects’ Data” (Bauentwurfslehre) which would be distributed and translated throughout the world.
Shortly after my arrival in Vienna, I head out on the U-Bahn to the MAK (Museum for Applied Arts) to learn more about Schütte-Lihotzky and her “Frankfurt Kitchen.” What we think about present-day kitchens is not yet a century old in concept, but because of its ubiquity in first-world apartments and houses, it’s difficult to conceive how new and innovative her kitchen design was at the time compared to what came before. In an interview on her 100th birthday in 1997, she said for someone who didn’t cook, she designed the kitchen not as a housewife but as an architect. The Frankfurt Kitchen appearing in the MAK is an idealized reconstruction enabled by Schütte-Lihotzky based upon her own memories.
Wien (Vienna) - 15 May 2018.
Day 7, four weeks ago today:
I want to see an important transport route and mountain crossing that’s been around for many millennia; the long history is a short summary of European history. At an elevation of 1370 metres (4500 feet), one of the lower Alpine mountain passes and crossings is at the border town of Brenner, Austria / Brennero, Italy whose population of about 500 mostly speaks German. With rail, truck, bus, and automobile, Brenner Pass is one of the most important ground passages for transporting people and goods on the European continent, linking Scandinavia in the north with the Mediterranean to the south. Lower motorway toll charges and gas prices have encouraged more shipping through Austria; over 2 million trucks transit Brenner annually. In local terms, paved motorway and standard-gauge track provide a direct connection between Innsbruck, Austria and Bolzano, Italy.
It's 40 minutes from Innsbruck to Brenner with an OEBB regional train. With the Brenner(o) train station entirely within Italy, there’s Trenitalia train service every 30 minutes to Bolzano, and hourly trains each to Merano and to Bologna.
Brenner, 🇦🇹 / Brennero, 🇮🇹 - Monday 14 May 2018 (HL, x70 imgs). @unsereoebb