Get Away With Fran

September 17, 2009

Anatomy is Destiny in Vienna

Filed under: Cruise,International — admin @ 11:08 pm

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In Vienna, the Danube does not run right through downtown, and it’s a big city. So you do need to do a little planning, or at least ask questions of your ship’s shore team, if you plan on setting out on your own. As each day, the Viking Legend passengeners were whisked off on buses for the daily complimentary excursion with local guides pointing out the major sights.

 Again, having seen the palaces, State Opera House, cathedral et al in Vienna on a previous visit, I had something else in mind, a little Sigmund Freud. I made my way on Vienna’s easy subway system to the university area and the home/office of Freud, now the Sigmund Freud Museum (the only slight confusion was when I emerged from underground and wasn’t sure which way to walk. No problem. I was near a university. The first young, blond, stud of a student I asked spoke perfect English and set me on my way.)

The museum is in a classy, classic building and you enter past a courtyard and go upstairs to ring a buzzer to getinside, kind of like visiting a shrink, I guess. Freud lived here from 1891 to 1938, when he emigrated to London (after daughter Anna was held for a day by the Gestapo, and the family realized it was not safe for Jews in Vienna). He died a year later in 1939. There was no tribute to Freud here until after 1968 when Austrian Chancellor Dr. Joseph Klaus visited the U.S. and was “discomforted” by questions why not? The Austrian and city governments got together and purchased the house. Anna, a renowned psychoanalyst herself, donated the furnishings of the original waiting room (below) and other memorabilia. There is also a Freud Museum in London.

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Commentary includes discussion of sexual drives and other theories – if you really want to learn, scroll through a complimentary notebook or purchase audio commentary of the exhibits (both available in English).

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My head spinning with theories of self love – and having purchased an “Anatomy is Destiny” t-shirt that someone will get as a holiday gift – I headed back on the subway downtown to grab lunch at the famous Café Sacher at the Sacher Hotel (across from the Opera House) – known for its chocolate sacher-torte dessert. OK, an admission here. I don’t care for sacher-torte, which in its original form is kind of dry and requires lots of whipped cream. But I do adore the classic, red, chandeliered interior of the café, and it’s history – aristocrats of the 1800s were known to have liaisons at the hotel. I enjoyed a perfect dish of fried chicken and veal on wonderful salad greens on top of a yummy German potato salad, and two cups of excellent coffee.

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Thus replenished, I figured I would see what was on at the Albertina palace across the street, built in 1529 and now housing one of the most important art museums in the world. I lucked into a major “Impressionists” show with hundreds of Monets and Manets, Renoirs, Cezannes and more. YAY. And I didn’t even have to wait in line for tickets (about $14).

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Two museums and I was kind of wiped out, yet I persevered, giving myself a couple of hour walking tour past more palaces and statues and the city’s numerous pedestrian streets with shops and shops and shops (window shopping never hurt anyone).

Viking Legend passengers had a nighttime excursion option for about $120 to see a performance featuring a little Mozart, a little Strauss, a little opera and a little ballet. It got raves from those who went.

Next stop, Melk.

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