As Lisle remarked about her father, Captain von Trapp, “He’s a big naval hero. He was even decorated by the emperor.”
Saturday evening was warm and the streets of Vienna were filled with people enjoying “Long Night of the Museum.” We generally tend to stay away from the popular museums due to the crowds, and so plan the evening to enjoy the lesser known and not-always-open collections.
First up. A surgical-strike peek at Caneletto’s view of Vienna, an iconic painting of the city dating to the mid 1800s and currently on display at Schloss Belvedere. Fascinating, we thought, but not worth the €15,00 regular ticket purchase to view.
One of the Sphinx in Belvedere Gardens; peeking at them is free.
On our way to Stephansplatz. One would think that in a city renowned for music there would be street musicians everywhere, but leave it to Vienna to police that to its max. Only in recent years have there been designated places for musicians to perform, the Karlsplatz U-Bahn underground being one of them.
Always worthy of a look-up.
The Dom Museum, a collection of religious artifacts was our next stop, mostly to see the very first portrait painting in the Western World, a 14th century likeness of Hapsburg ruler Rudolf IV, who laid the foundations of Stephansdom.
Also on display, the remains of one of his vestiges, made in Persia. No explanation on how the material was acquired, unfortunately.
From the Dom Museum we made our way past the Hard Rock Cafe, its waitstaff wearing Trachten and celebrating Oktoberfest (it was all too much for us!) to the Museum Simon Wiesenthal, a small collection that rather well tells the story of the famed Nazi hunter.
Especially touching was this note from a Jewish person living in the U.S., who sent $5 to help Mr. Wiesenthal.
The plan from this point had been to take a small food break and then proceed to an art exhibit before calling it our own Long Night. Into Cafe Diglas we tucked, and shared the most unremarkable Tartare in memory and a couple glasses of wine. The dish was so unremarkable in flavor and presentation that I do not care to share the snap. “Tourist fare,” we groused.
Somewhere between the last nibble of Tartare and the glass of wine we changed up the plan and wandered instead to the K.u.K. Kreigsmarine Archiv, the Austro-Hungarian Naval Archive! Remember, once upon a time Croatia, Italy and their coasts were part of the Empire…
Knowing (and loving, for more than 25 years now…) the Sound of Music fan that I am, Tony walked me through the exhibits and pointed out the uniform Captain von Trapp would have worn; and the type of ship he commanded.
We also discovered the Austro-Americana Line, a passenger ship transiting between Trieste, Italy and New York City! This is the T.S.S. Martha Washington!
We weren’t entirely sure who the decorated naval attendees in the museum were, though, given that the Austro-Hungarian Navy ceased to exist some 100 years ago. But perhaps they, too, had been decorated by the Emperor.