09 September 2009

Vienna Walking Tour with Nana

Vienna is such a wonderful city to walk around in we decided to spend the day walking with the kids and Nana. Here we are at one of Ollie's favorite fountains. He likes the statues and running water. The merpeople statues around Vienna are unique because they show the mermen and mermaids as having two legs (fins) instead of just one long fish tall.

Across the street from the Albertina palace/museum is a collection of outdoor sculptures. For some reason this picture just seems funny. Ollie and Elora really liked these mishapen statues.

Same statue but(t) from the rear side. The kids usually don't get to touch or get this close to statues so I think that's why they were so excited about it. We had an interesting conversation about modern sculptures. The rough, mishapen design that nearly all modern sculptures have does imbue the artwork with a raw, emotional quality, but it also seems like it's just "easier" for the artist to make his work more emotional. When you see a sculpture that is more true to life in its shape, beauty and proportions (see this Laoco├Ân sculpture halfway down the page from our visit to Rhodes) it seems to impress us more both for its beauty and ability to show emotion. Ok, enough art talk...

Since we didn't actually have a destination, but were more interested in the journey as we wandered around the city, we let the kids do a lot of walking. Nana was of course the favorite.

And we know why... she stopped at Burger King to pick up a drink and insisted on getting more ice in the cup. Europeans don't really like cold drinks. At restaurants people often prefer their water to be room temperature. But ice is always popular with the kids, and anytime Ollie sees someone drinking a cup with a straw he demands to be the one who gets to empty the cup of its contents then hork down all the ice cubes.

More sculptures. It's way too easy to take Vienna's historic architecture for granted. Of course, it must be a lost art because 90% of all the buildings designed since 1920 look terrible.

We visited a few churches this day. This church is the Votiv Kirche, one of the gothic style cathedrals in Vienna. We didn't have the right camera with us for a good picture of the stain glass, but the walls are all lined with really awesome glass.

More fountains, and more merpeople. These mermaids also have two fins (legs).

Elora loves to have people show her all the sculptures and paintings inside of churches. Here we are at St. Peters. We visited this church twice that day after noticing they had a free organ concert later in the afternoon.

Gold leafed sculptures...you see so many in Vienna that it becomes common place, but when you stop and look at them it's really amazing. Elora wanted a story about this group of figures so Chris told her Laman and Lemual were chasing their younger brother Nephi and beating him with sticks when an angel of the Lord appeared and commanded them to stop. Betcha didn't know the Catholics commissioned statues about that story, huh?

Elora being very reverent, while waiting for the organ concert to start. She is such a goober. We waited so long that about halfway through she was ready to leave. 3pm is way past her nap time! But we did enjoy a few songs before it was time to go.

On the way out she saw one of those velor rope stanchions (you know the divider things for crowd/line control like at the airport lines?) and seeing the nice curve of the rope, she thought it was sturdy enough to hang on, so she tried to sit on it. Which caused the heavy steel stanchion connected to the rope to lift off the ground (but not fall), much to the amazement of one of the church caretakers who was watching. Then she got off the rope and the stanchion came crashing down with a loud boom. Remember that scene in Indian Jones where he smashes the stanchion into the tiles of the library in Venice to get to the underground passageway? -- it sounded like that! Luckily, we high-tailed it out of there like a couple or Mormons in a Catholic church. Bet you've never seen the word stanchion used in a sentence so many times.

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