Saturday morning Clara and West headed back to St. Stephen’s Cathedral to ascend the spire steps and descend into the depths of its catacombs. Meanwhile, Tawny and I set out to explore nearby Karlskirche. We had a few hours to kill before meeting with our high school friend Kudra who moved to Vienna years ago to pursue her acting career.
We bought a ticket to enter Karlskirche not really knowing what we were buying a ticket for. We followed a sign upstairs to see a small and uninspired display of religious artifacts. As we walked back down in disappointment we pondered asking for our money back. But then we noticed a door to the main church. Upon entering we were surprised to see two gigantic orbs suspended from the ceiling. It was an unexpected art display with a small queue waiting for an elevator to take you into the dome of the church to see the paintings on the ceiling up close as well as view the orbs from above. It was a very cool and impressive art exhibit.
As we exited the church we heard from Kudra and made arrangements to meet at St. Stephens where Clara and West already were. Once together we headed to Naschmarkt for lunch and to catch up on old times. It was a gloriously sunny and warm day. It seemed the whole city sprung from hibernation and the city buzzed with frühlingsgefühle. The market was packed and we took our time at lunch with a pint or two as we reminisced about old times and passed on the latest news of mutual friends.
After lunch, we connected Clara and West with Kudra’s daughter Ella who toured them around the city and introduced them to her friends. Meanwhile, instead of touring the typical sites of Vienna (Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg Imperial Palace, or the Giant Ferris Wheel, we opted instead to head to the Austrian countryside and the small village where Kudra lives to see her home and meet her husband Marcello. We enjoyed their company with a glass of wine (or two…or three) and an excellent dinner at a nearby Greek restaurant – Der Grieche.
Somehow through all that time together we neglected to get a picture of us all together. But I did get a picture of their cute snaggle-toothed cat and their tireless dog.
It was great seeing Kudra, meeting Marcello, and having Ella show Clara and West around the city. But it had been a long day and Marcello graciously offered to take us back to Vienna and drop us at our hotel. “Where are you staying?” We told him Hotel Imperial. When he drove us to that neighborhood and I pointed to the hotel he commented, “I thought you were kidding. That’s where all the rich and famous stay when they visit Vienna!”.
The next morning we had a few more hours to kill before heading to the train station for our 4.5-hour journey to Prague. While Clara and West went to see the orbs of Karlskirche, we headed to The Secession museum to see Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze. It was impressive and beautiful. While there we also encountered some unusual and more challenging art.