I’m back!! *waves*
Yup, for those who may still be unaware, after a whirlwind year in Portugal, Querido and I are embarking on our new life chapter in Singapore I was browsing through my blog entries for the past year and I’m glad to say that my life had been super eventful. Thank you Portugal for the wonderful memories!
For the past weeks, I was really bogged down with relocation matters. Furthermore, Querido and I were on the road – Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Berlin Now that I’m back, I’ll try to pen down these precious memories asap before life in Singapore overwhelms me. For some strange reason, I immediately felt more “stressed” upon landing in Singapore. Seriously, the air here smells of busy-ness.
So, how is Vienna? Some associate Vienna with the City of Music (think Mozart and Vienna Choir Boys) or the City of Dreams (think Sigmund Freud). As for me, in very simplistic terms, Vienna is pompous and exaggerated! The great age of Viennese Classicism lives on, as clearly evidenced by the elaborate architectural ensembles in its historic centre. Everything reeked of legacy wealth. Unintended turns and obscure passages led to unexpected surprises, which still emitted grandeur despite their discrete locations. I love the elegance of the city!
So, Querido and I basically spent the first day getting lost in the historic centre and being awed by how the area was so well-put-together. We did not purposely go in search of key attractions, but just enjoyed chance encounters. Apart from the Sisi Museum, the other notable monument we saw was the St Stephen’s Cathedral at Stephansplatz. By the way, the funeral of Vivaldi was held in this key religious building back in 1741. Its ornately-patterned roof also makes this Cathedral a recognizable symbol.
The following day was characterized by sweltering heat, so we headed to the Schönbrunn Palace (at least a significant part would be sheltered!), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photography was not permitted within the main building, so I only took photos in the gardens. That said, it was basically a display of obscene excesses enjoyed by The Habsburgs. Couldn’t believe that it was supposed to be the palatial hunting lodge for the heir to the throne back in the 17th century. Why would such a lodge require over 1,400 rooms?!
The trip made me realise that “it’s tough to be a princess” – Although the palace and the gardens were really beautiful, I could not imagine being cooped up in this “make believe world” and detached from reality. Hmmm, perhaps I’m really fated to be a commoner. Ha.
That night, Querido and I had our best meal in Vienna at Satrapezo. We had Georgian food! (The traditional Viennese sausages and schnitzels don’t appeal to me.) The herbs and spices really complemented the dishes well. The hummus was especially yummy! By the way, the traditional Georgian Khinkali is simply a bigger and coarser version of our Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai pork dumpling). Even the way of consuming the Khinkali is the same – sucking the juice before eating the filling! However, the top portion (where the pleats are) is not meant to be eaten as it is tough. Apparently, these discarded tops allow the diners to keep track of the number of Khinalis they have had.
On Day 3, we made our way to the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Our original intention was to spend the morning there, but it was such an awesome museum that we stayed past lunch! Querido even mentioned a couple of times that “This must be the best museum in Europe!” It had an extensive Egyptian collection, along with amazing Greek and Roman antiquities. I’m not an art fanatic, but the art gallery was “wow” with masterpieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio, Velázquez and other famous Italian Baroque painters. Once again, the collections were from the wealthy House of The Habsburgs.
Lunch was at the museum restaurant. The restaurant was waaaaaaay spectacular and perhaps, the most pompous I’d ever seen! The ambience was perfect and even the simple act of sipping tea in such a setting made me feel really happy. Fortunately, this was the case as the food was disappointing… That said, I would willingly be fleeced just to drink tea there again!
Thereafter, we roamed around the streets randomly, which was very pleasurable We also saw the Vienna stretch of the iconic Danube River. Naturally, the “Blue Danube” melody came to mind and I kept humming it for the rest of the day.
That’s all for Vienna. Next post: Budapest!