We visited the Belvedere Palace today, which is just around the corner from our hotel. The highlight of the visit was the large collection of Klimt paintings, including the ultra-famous “The Kiss.” The museum also has an extensive collection of Austrian and German paintings by lesser-known painters. I found the paintings by women especially good, as they seemed to capture the individuality and personality of their subjects so well.
While the Belvedere is just a minor palace compared to the Schönbrunn or the Hofburg, it is nonetheless a palace, with all the marble, gold accents, sweeping vistas, statues, fountains, etc. that one could wish. I find it quietly satisfying that where once these were the exclusive previews of the aristocratic uber-wealthy, they are now visited by the People, who gain experience, knowledge, and pleasure from these former haunts of the rich. I look forward to the day when we can tour the gaudy, overblown mansions of the likes of Dr. Oz, Joel Osteen, and other multi-billionaires. I shall take pleasure in dribbling melted ice cream on their marble terraces.
We ate outside in the museum cafe. The food was delicious. There were some yellowjacket-type waspy things that thought so, too. They haven’t anywhere near the mean aggression of an American yellowjacket. Those girls will take you down if you get in their way.
David, Susan, Linda, and Clod all departed today. We are staying for another two days, then on to Amsterdam again for a couple of days before returning home. We spent the afternoon doing nothing, which felt just right. Tom and I are both still feeling the after-affects of Covid and are more tired than usual.
We planned to take a train from Budapest to Vienna. I went down to the lobby a bit early, hoping for tea and maybe a pastry. When I sat down, the hotel manager asked if he could get me anything. I asked for tea and a pastry. He indicated the breakfast buffet in the bar and I said I didn’t want to buy a whole breakfast, thanks. He said he would see what he could do. A pot of tea and a basket of pastries arrived shortly, on the house.
The hotel arranged the train journey and called a cab, which was inadequate for the luggage of six people. The hotel manager took our overflow luggage to the train station in a separate cab, which he paid for himself because he said he should have ordered a larger cab. The service at the Clark Hotel is beyond amazing, and it was inexpensive, compared to a similar hotel in the US. Highly recommend.
The train ride was about 2.5 hours. We checked in to the Daniel Hotel in Vienna. The Daniel is a bit eccentric in a charming, hip and happening way. I could have done without the hammock in the room, which hit my head every time I walked by it, but I wound it up out of the way and only bumped into it occasionally after that. The roof of the hotel features a strange sculpture of a warping sailboat. They keep bees on the roof and sell the honey, which they also use in their unexpectedly delicious cafe food. There is an airstream trailer parked in the front garden, near the grape vines and rose garden.
We walked down to the Belvedere Palace, not far from the hotel. Apparently, a prince was given it for defeating Napoleon in a battle. It’s huge, with gardens and fountains and furbelows, and now houses an excellent art museum. We were on a mission to find an outdoor cafe, which we didn’t find for a while because we were not in the outdoor cafe section of town.
By the time we found an outdoor cafe, I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t realize it, but I had been experiencing lingering effects of Covid even though I was technically over it. We got a table and I nearly put my head down and cried before going to sleep, but managed to order smoked salmon instead. I felt marginally improved after eating, but took a taxi back to the hotel to take a nap while the others walked to the town center.
I found out later that I wasn’t the only one who had been feeling the after-effects of the disease. I guess I thought that once we passed the five-day mark, it would all be over, just like a cold—which is what it felt like. Not so, and I continued to feel ill for another day. So ill that I took a Covid test, convinced I was still sick with it, but it was negative. I guess I was pretty naive to think I could just bounce back, especially at my age. Thinking back, I had experienced a lot of pain and muscle weakness in Budapest that I passed off as caused by the extreme heat and my general lack of fitness.
The next day was pretty much a zero for me. The others visited the Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna. I elected not to go, which turned out to be a good call, as I felt very ill. (This is when I tested myself.) By evening, I was somewhat recovered.
We walked to a brewery restaurant for dinner known for its local specialties and beer. I knew I had never had good wiener schnitzel before—unless it is supposed to taste like extra-crispy shoe leather—so I ordered that, plus a beer which I knew nothing about. The beer was tasty. The wiener schnitzel arrived in two golden slabs, piping hot. I can now say I have had probably the best possible wiener schnitzel, and I intend never to order it again. It’s not bad, just kind of boring.
So hopefully, I have recovered from the lingering effects of Covid and can go enjoy Vienna!