Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Where do you go for a waltzing lesson? Vienna of course. The best place in the world for learning to spin and turn, slip and slide, grip and glide. With one's husband, naturally, and one's older son and daughter in law. Two Gebbie couples, one instructor, and a dancing school called Talmeyer. I have to say, if you are going to Vienna (and we were, an early Xmas pressie from son and wife, who can't be with us for Xmas this year) a waltzing lesson is a stunningly good fun addition to the menu!
The waltzing horses are of course, the Lipizzaner stallions , seen at the Spanish Riding School. but although it was a beautiful sight, in a beautiful and historic building, and golly were we lucky to get tickets - I felt sad for these animals. There was something undignified about the thing. So there's a stallion running free. Not waltzing.
Vienna is gorgeous, stunning architcture - but I couldn't quite get the image of swastikas hanging from high windows out of my head. A small pilgrimage to Juden Platz and the Rachael Whiteread memorial to 65,000 Austrian Jews, victims of the Holocaust was good. But reading that local business people are complaining that their trade is damaged by proximity to the memorial, demanding it be removed - was not good.
The memorial is a 'library' of stone books placed in reverse on stone shelves. Spines (and therefore names) hidden. It is strong, and beautiful, and resonant.
Continuing the celebration of things Jewish, the Annie Liebovitz exhibition was hosted in Vienna by the Hundertwasser House. Nick wanted to go, and boy was I grateful he did. Those iconic portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, of the great and good of stage and screen. Movers and shakers in politics, royalty. And so many personal photos, some harrowing, some joyful.
And don't mention the Sacher torte...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic trip - and Christmas gift! And a lovely post, covering its many delights - and a few deep and disturbing reservations. Don't know Vienna, but crime novelist/psychologist Frank Tallis captures the 1900s atmosphere extraordinarily well (& how little it has changed, in many ways).
Love the Lippizaner, & agree about the sheer falsity of dressage. Was told by experts that it is horse-gymnastics, hence enjoyable for the skilled mount - but remain unconvinced. Nothing like a horse - esp a stallion - running free! Thanks, Vanessa.
PS Sachertorte - bah! Spoiled by the inclusion of apricot jam, in my (chocoholic) view.