23 February 2012

Vienna, Austria - Day 2

Wow!!!! It's 5.30am and Trini has had her 11 hours sleeping quota and she's up and hungry.  A slow breakfast with lots of really strong coffee is the only way to break into a day, especially for non-morning people like us.

Taking the tram directly outside our hotel we arrive at Maria-Theresien Platz (piazza). In the centre of the Platz is a grand statue of Empress Maria Theresa showing her holding the Pragmatic Section of 1713, an act decreed by her father enabling women to ascend to the throne.  The statues below Maria are her generals and principle nobles and advisors. 
Statue of Empress Maria-Theresien
On either side of the statue are two identical buildings built as museums in the late 19th century.  One is a Natural History Museum housing archeological and anthropological displays. The other is an Art History Museum with the most extraordinary collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities; sculptures and decorative arts from 15th - 18th centuries; painting collections the likes of Rubens and Peter Bruegel the Elder; and a coin collection dating back as far as the 16th century.

Art History Museum (AHM)

Richly detailed ceiling in the foyer of the Art History Museum
Taking an early morning ride outside the
National History Museum (NHM)

It took us eight hours to get through the two museums. The exhibitions are just as formidable as the lavish interiors which consist of grand entrances with detailed floor tiling, grand staircases, grand atriums and grand exhibition rooms with fresco ceilings, painted friezes and rich wood panelling. It was just as fascinating looking up at the ceiling as it was to look at the exhibition.

Aragonite Crystal found in Greece displayed in the
Mineralogy Exhibition Hall (NHM)
Looking up on the walls derived just as much pleasure
as the exhibitions (NHM)

Sargophagus of Pa-Nehem-Isis, 2nd century BC
Egyptian Collection (AHM)
Tower of Babel by Peter Bruegel the Elder, 1563 (AHM)

As the museum closed we returned to the hotel for a wiener schnitzel (again) and some delicious Austrian red wine. Before we finished dinner Trini had already stretched out on the bench and fallen asleep (it was only 7pm). Not that we were that far behind.

Perfectly angelic