The ILMAE meeting has now broken up. It’s been a difficult time for me as I have to write the UK handbook – which would have been easier (to write and understand) if I had been involved all the way through. However, I’ve still had time to spend a lot of time in Vienna, which is turning out to be a beautiful city.
I’d expected something as ‘in your cultural face’ as Paris or Berlin, but I don’t think that it is quite that – it has a hidden charm. We’ve been lucky to be shown around by the Austrian partners, especially Michaela who helped us to orient ourselves in the city on Friday evening. We’d been to the Vienna boys choir concert on Thursday and nothing was planned for Friday, so off we went, accompanied by warm sunshine.
Friday evening was a one-off, it was Austria’s ‘long night of the churches’ and for one night various activities were taking place in all of the specially opened up churches. We visited Karlskirche, which is right outside the -U-Bahn station we used for our city visits. We then toured the various big-name buildings to view later and eventually stopped in a back street pub that served cheap but excellent food. I had Goulasch and a beer! Then we had ice-cream.
On Saturday we had to finish off the meeting before we had more free time to visit the city. This time Sharon and I went alone. We started in the Volksgarten, where we’d been told we could get a good coffee and watch the world go by. Well, the garden was pleasant, with very much in-bloom rose gardens and the like, but the coffee shops looked dingy so we continued through the Hofburg and into Michaelerplatz, where there was a concert. As the weather was very pleasant and we’d managed to get some drinks, we sat down to listen for a while.
The whole atmosphere was special. We’ve been lucky enough to come on a festival weekend, so there was music being played everywhere, and lots of street entertainment. The bright, warm sunshine was also a pleasure.
We’d agreed to meet our colleagues (except the Czechs, who did their own thing) at Secession before taking advantage of a walk through the Naschmarkt to our planned restaurant. Unusually, the market was open in the evening as part of the festival. Music was planned and playing and the stallholders were still there sharing their wares. This was such a good market that we plan on going again tomorrow – Monday – rain or shine. Last night’s meal, the walk through Naschtmarkt, today’s rain and visit inside Schonbrunn, and our last day will be written later.