Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Skiing in Wengen/Touring in Vienna-Part II

Vienna (Wien)

Most of us on the trip went on to Vienna.

We stayed at a hotel across from the subway with easy access to most of the center of town and the main tourist attractions. Internet access was free and the breakfasts were much better. We ate dinners out at various places within small groups of us. The subway was on an honor system and I ended up purchasing each ticket separately from a machine.

The first thing I wanted to see was the Vienna Boys Choir. I had purchased tickets in November and asked if others if they wanted to join me and took the first 3 volunteers, enough to fill a taxi.

So first thing Sunday morning off we go, arriving early with a seat in the front row. I was pretty ignorant of the format and overall was disappointed because my expectations were entirely out of line. We were told that no photographs are allowed but when the boys come down to the front photos are allowed.

So I sat through a high catholic mass spoken in German/Latin for 90 minutes listening occasionally to some religious music from the recessed third balcony behind us. The Boys Choir was invisible for the entire 90 minutes. Meanwhile I squirmed in my seat not wanting to be rude by sleeping or reviewing my camera stored pictures and watched the assorted costumed players move through their all too familiar roles with the enthusiasm of robots. Occasionally, a bell would be rung or someone would enter with some swinging incense burners or liven things up. My companions turned out to be catholic so I am sure their experience was better than mine. Okay, the Boys Choir were singing their hearts out and they sounded great but their was nothing to watch. Nothing!

Finally, at the very end of the service they matched in front of us and sang one number. It was a thrilling moment.

Afterwards we visited the
Museum of Art History
(Kunsthistorisches) which
opened in 1891 under
Emperor Franz-Joseph and
houses the Hapsburgs'
formidable art collect. Several
famous painting are exhibited
here but two of my favorites
by Pieter Bruegel are "The Peasant Wedding" and

"Hunters in the Snow"

These are the stairs leading up to the art galleries and museum restaurant, showing the museum itself is quite a work of art.

The next evening, armed with 3 new companions for the night, we went to the Kursalon, built in
1865-67 in the Renaissance style. It.s one of the most splendid buildings in Vienna. We dined to a four course dinner before the concert then went up to the concert hall where we were entertained with a medley of Strauss and Mozart complete with opera singers, ballet dancers and a vigorous virtuosic orchestra. We heard waltzes, polkas, and operatic melodies.

For me it was easily the best evening of the trip.

What is necessary to complete a three night stay in Vienna? How about an opera?

This is the interior of the Vienna Opera House. Eight of us went to see the opera "Tosca" by Puccini. Thankfully, the libretto was provided in English at each seat. However, some of us were in the cheap seats and the sight lines were terrible. Any action on the right half of the stage could not be seen without standing up and leaning forward, but like I said, we were in the cheap seats. Only we didn't know when we paid our money that it would be like this. Probably some of the arias were known by real opera buffs, but once I get past "Carmen", "Madam Butterfly" or "Aida", I am at a loss. It.s a big hole in my cultural appreciation, but something I can live with. Still I am glad I went and experience the opera house and the smartly dressed patrons promenading around the refreshment hall during intermissions.

But, to me, an absolute mission was to see the Freud Museum. (Click on picture to see details.)

Freud and Einstein were two people that brought great change to the 20th century, but their impacts are not fully appreciated. I think this is
evidenced by the fact that no one wanted to go with me to find and see the museum.

The Freud Museum is his actual his living quarters, library, and office. I took two subways and four blocks of walking guided by helpful directions of locals to arrive at this narrow street and Berggasse 19.

Freud set up his medical practice here in 1891 and practiced and wrote his findings until he was forced into exile by the Nazis in 1938 at age 82. Freud.s immediate family also left Vienna including his daughter Anna, who went on to become a noted psychoanalysis herself and was instrumental in the Freud Museum being established. Freud.s brother and 4 sisters were not allowed to leave and were eventually killed in concentration camps.

In 1896, in his paper "The Actiology of Hysteria" Freud first used the term Psycho-Analysis. The goal of psycho-analysis is to uncover what is unconscious in mental life. It provides a self awareness on how experiences in childhood development years drive adult thoughts and actions.
I say without any embarrassment, that my experiences in psycho-analysis helped me become a much better person. At a pace that was right for me, I was able to release past emotional pains, which then changed my thinking and allowed me to choose better options on how to conduct myself. It also brought to consciousness that most of world "acts out" their buried pains in a variety of self destructive ways. So George W. Bush (and many other world leaders, present and past) here is my advice to you-----

Freud's couch.


GETkristiLOVE said...

How much would you give to lay in Freud's couch?

sv said...

Welcome to the blogosphere! That couch looks like shit. I'd rather lay on my own couch. Or perhaps I just don't want people asking about my mother.

vikkitikkitavi said...

This is strict Freudian analysis! No comfy couches for you!