Night at the Museums

Last night was the “long night of the museums” throughout Austria where selected museums opened their doors between 6pm and 1am (yes, as in AM!). In a city such as Vienna in which over 100 (yes, 100) museums participated, we had no choice but to dive right into the fun….and a fun evening it was indeed (especially for the kids who baked dozens of cookies with their babysitter last night and stayed up way past their bedtime!).
We were a bit overwhelmed with where to start so we dove right in and took the subway to the Museums Quarter which, as the name might suggest, houses a fair number of museums including the Kunsthalle, Mumok (modern art), and the Leopold museum, which was our first destination (and thankfully, we got there early enough to beat the crowds!).
View from the Leopold Museum overlooking the Museums Quarter. The sun was just setting…

The Leopold – cool building with interesting art work by Schiele and Klimt (of course, he is everywhere in Vienna!)

We then headed towards the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) and explored some of the smaller treasures such as the Ephesos Museum [part of the Kunsthistorische Museum] that houses Roman/Greek artifacts from the same-named city in modern era Turkey (and employed poor souls who were dressed in layers and layers of clothing to replicate Romans of that period….calling the museums “warm” places would be a bit of an understatement!).

A true find was the Papyrus Museum which is inside the National Library. It displays a number of ancient writings such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Next up was the State Room (Prunksaal) of the Imperial Palace…let’s just say the Habsburgs may have had a book or two in there.

Next, we headed towards what would be our favorite museum of the night (amazing building and exhibits), the Albertina (named, like the Leopold, after the collector whose art work is displayed). We saw the “Monet to Picasso” exhibit which was quite impressive as well as a photography exhibit but then one of us (me) desperately needed some fresh air (remember what I said about the temperature inside those museums?) and to get away from the crowds so we’re saving the remaining exhibitions for the next museum outing.

View of downtown Vienna from the Albertina entrance.

Albertina entrance…yes, it’s pretty grand…

And, since we were literally right next door to the State Opera, we hopped into the tiny Opera Museum.

Then, we walked by this grand place (Michaelerplatz) where I could not walk by without taking a picture (and thank our lucky stars that we were living here!).

We made our way to the eagerly-anticipated Demel Museum housed inside the Coffee house and bakery. The museum itself was teeny, tiny and a bit of a disappointment after having to wait over half an hour to get inside but the wait itself was pleasantly enhanced by this….

Sachertorte served warm, right outside to visitors….ohhhh, so good…

…happy museum go-er..

…inside the teeny, tiny museum (did I mention how small it was?), sculptures made of Marzipan…

And then, we thought – hey, yes it’s super late and we hadn’t really eaten anything (except that heavenly slice of Sachertorte), let’s just see how lost we can get to find our last spot for the night…

…which was right down this curvy, cobblestone road…and not signed very well, which had the pleasant effect of not being crowded …

yup, we checked out this guy’s house….Mozart composed the Marriage of Figaro there as well as a number of other compositions.

Then we were tired, our feet hurt (fine, my feet hurt), and one of us was hungry (apparently John got the bigger part of the Sachertorte)…so, we called it a night, took the tram home, stopped by our local cafe for a snack and a much-deserved cold drink (did I mention how hot it was inside some of those museums?), and walked up that long hill to our home to relieve the babysitter where we were greeted with dozens of cookies the kids had baked (and, thankfully (!) a clean kitchen!)… I think it was a win/win kind-of night for everyone!


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