Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day four in Vienna

We started the day at the Belvedere Palace museum, where we saw many works by Gustav Klimpt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoshka. This palace was where the last of the Hapsburg dynasty lived, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 prompted the start of the first world war. In addition to providing residence for some of the Hapsburgs, it was also always an art museum.

We then went to the MAK museum of applied arts, where we saw the evolution of bent chair design and the collection of Wiener Werkstaette objects. The Wiener Werkstaette was a group of architects, artists, and designers who worked together to develop a style of art deco unique to Vienna. The group existed from 1903 to 1932 and their products and buildings are widely appreciated today. (No pictures were allowed in the museum, but I managed to sneak a couple of the interior of the building, but not of the actual collection.)

After a late lunch at a small, very crowded cafe (wienerschnitzel again, yum!), we then went to see St. Stephen's Cathedral and wandered around the shopping district taking pictures of their spectacular Christmas lights.

After a hot wine on the street, we then went into a casino where I played poker for an hour and a half, just long enough to lose up to my limit. I guess my poker skills need some honing before playing in grand European casinos again.

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