Monday, February 8, 2016

Baroque and Busted

We found ourselves with several free hours on Saturday, but nothing long enough for a day trip further afield. A fellow Vienna blogger had been sharing photos of an exhibit at the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy that looked interesting; the sun was shining; and I was in the mood for a Backhendl lunch at our favorite place. We had a plan!  Plus, thanks to the Niederösterreich Card, entry to the exhibit was free!

The exhibit is called Baroque Baroque. The palace is Baroque and, apparently the exhibit is supposed to be something about Baroque superimposed on its self. We thought the exhibit was well done, even if we didn't understand it. An added bonus was the beauty of the palace.

"New Berlin Sphere"
"Your Uncertain Shadow"
Mirror Selfie in the Globe Room
Looking up at one of the palace chandeliers.
"Fivefold Tunnel"
A series of photos of Iceland, an "Endless Doughnut," and "Fivefold Cube." We thought this was a clever composition.
Another beautiful palace chandelier.


Surprise!  There is a mirror in the gallery that makes the sphere look intact. 
"Kaleidoscope"
The palace had been used by the Ministry of Finance for archival storage, and the frescoes in this room on the street level of the palace had been "hidden" for a long time by drop ceilings and fake walls; only within the last few years has it been restored.



Here's where the weekend goes "Busted" for the first of two food occasions. Our hands-down first restaurant choice for Backhendl had the "Auf Urlaub bis 15 Februar" sign on the door. Sigh. Our second choice had the sign, "Geschlossen am Samstag und Sonntag im Februar" on its door. (Closed on the weekends in February.) Our third choice, and this was a stretch, was only serving the Herringschmaus Menu in February. Creamed herring is never a substitute for fried chicken.

The clock ticking, we needed to eat lunch and get to Anna Grace's basketball game, so I suggested either a restaurant popular with tourists at which we had a rather disappointing meal in our early days, or street noodles. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, and maybe since it isn't really tourist season the food will have improved. Not so.

While the Backhendl looked fantastic and had the enticing aroma, the taste was incredibly lackluster. Ditto for Tony's Schnitzel. At nearly twice the cost of our favorite restaurant, in the end we could have had the same ordinary lunch from the Happy Noodle stand near Opera. 
The basketball game was fun. The Vienna International School is the closest AISV has to a "rival," and of course it's always fun to beat a rival. Go Knights!

After a weekend of successive dinner parties (including one at our home) and late nights, our plans for a long day trip to CZ had to be somewhat altered when our eyes didn't open until 0700 on Sunday morning, about an hour after we had hoped to be on the road. So we lingered over breakfast and mapped a route through Southern Moravia of a handful of castles and palaces we had not yet seen. That, and a delicious lunch of Czech food would be a good compromise.

Zamek Kravsko. Not on our list, but the sun was shining, the sunroof was open on the wagon, and we had nowhere to be, so we followed the signs. It's Classicist, if you're keeping track.
Hrad Vranov atop the river Dyje.  Lovely.
Apparently there is a lovers legend related to the castle and this viewpoint; not being fluent in Czech, and not being able to find anything on the Internet, the legend shall remain a mystery to us.

A closeup of the castle from the gates. The grounds do not open until April.
Because a rural village in southern Moravia is the ideal location for a Country Saloon. We doubted they served Czech food, so we kept on in search of lunch.
A drive through Jaromerice, where we hoped to stop for lunch. Every restaurant was closed.
Oh, look! Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant.
Moravsky Krumlov. One restaurant open in this village of 6.000, and the menu was only in Czech. I can "read" just a few Czech menu items, and none of them were listed. Onward. (Note to self: learn a little more Czech.)
Znojmo wouldn't let us down, right?  The border town of 33.000 inhabitants would certainly have an open restaurant or two or three; we assumed that even a tried-and-true place on the main square would be open. But, no. Lunch in CZ was another "Busted."
We admitted defeat. Our final stop was at a Znojmo grocery store to collect items for supper. The parking lot was about one-third filled with Austrian cars, naturally (those who don't really get into the Sunday Shutdown, either, we presumed). As for lunch? Why, it was sandwiches we prepared in the parking lot and sadly munched on as we motored back across the border.

February, we hate you.