I realised I still had a few photos from February in Austria left unposted, so here they are. Strange to think that six weeks ago I was travelling around Central Europe for work, and now I don’t venture more than a mile or two from home.
To travel in between Vienna and Graz, until the never-ending tunnel under the mountains is finished later this decade, you have to take the train over the top of the Semmering Pass, going up and down over the Alps. You get some spectacular views, and the trainline itself is a UNESCO site. It’s hard to take good photos out of the train window, so here’s my playlist for over the mountain.
I also visited Vienna Architecture Centre- I’d never been inside this small museum before, but the entry was thrown in free with the bundle ticket I bought for the other exhibitions.
About 15 minutes walk from the school I was working at in Vienna, and next door to the University of Life Sciences was Türkenschanz Park
On a rare day off in Vienna I went to the Open Studio day at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. This is the top art school in Austria, and also the same institution that famously rejected Hitler twice for his lack of creativity. The studios are in this impressive building, the Semperdepot, which was originally built to store theatre scenery and props.
The Kunsthalle Wien holds temporary exhibitions- I caught the last day of this show. It definitely isn’t the best thing I’ve seen there- I’ve previously been to blockbuster Basquiat, Haring and Švankmajer shows there, but it was included in the Combi-ticket I bought for the other museums, so I made sure to see it.
I’ve been back in Vienna since Saturday, but I was busy at the annual work conference. Last year was the first in a decade that I didn’t spend any time in Vienna, and that was strange. Vienna is a very big and grand capital city for a small country of six million sparsely spread mountain people, a remnant of the days when it was the capital of the whole Austro-Hungarian empire, covering Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Romania and Poland.
So I’m back in the UK. For good now. Most of this week has been taken up with house-hunting, arranging vans etc. More on that soon. I don’t like to count my chickens before they’re hatched.
However, I was tidying up the folders on my computer this week, and found these miscellaneous photos of Vienna from February.
I have been in Austria for a week and a half now for teaching work. I meant to update last week, but some brutal 7.30 am start times, heavy snow, a lot of planning to do outside the classroom, and a diet of pure stodge in a small town with few dining options (and even fewer options for vegetarians) tired me out. It feels strange to be in small-town Austria, where not much tends to happen, while political turmoil with dire consequences for many vulnerable people goes on around the world.
I used to go to Austria quite a lot to run workshops in schools, travelling from school to school each week. I started writing this zine after my first trip to Vienna in 2010, didn’t finish it, and then finished it off a couple of years later. I made a few copies at the time, but then mislaid the pages again when moving house, so barely anyone has read it. I recently found them again, and scanned them, so people can order it now!
I’ve spent most of the past month travelling around Germany and Austria teaching. It’s for an extra-curricular school programme. You do activities to boost the children’s speaking confidence in English, work on creative projects, and put on a show for the parents with presentations of the projects, and drama written by the students. You don’t need to speak German to do the job, and you never speak German in the classroom, but of course it comes in useful to understand if the kids are being naughty, and in your time outside the classroom.
Every so often I like to write on here about things I like, and why I like them. I’ve (finally) been finishing my zine about Vienna, and there’s a section about Hundertwasser in there, but I didn’t really have enough space to say everything that I wanted to say, and in a b&w zine obviously you totally miss out on the colours, which are a major part of his work, so here is a longer thing about him and his work. I’ve visited the Kunsthaus/Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna quite a few times, and I wrote about one of my visits here. I first came across his work in 2001, when I was 16/17, and bought a £3 book from a discount shop because it looked interesting from a quick flick through. I’m glad I did! All the pictures in this entry are either taken by me, or come from hundertwasser.at. I don’t feel like I’ve really caught my exact favourites here, but collecting images from lots of different sources and making sure they were all credited properly would have taken a long, long time. Here’s an overview of some things.
In September I returned to Vienna to teach another English in Action programme. I’ve got photos of galleries and exhibitions I need to sort out still. Here’s some odds and ends of photos of other stuff.
After going to the Hundertwasser places, I met up with the other teachers, and we went to the Nachtmarkt. Basically there were loads of food and drink stalls arranged on a square outside the town hall, and they were playing a classical concert on a giant screen outside the town hall. The food wasn’t cheap, but it was very good (I only really had snacks and some beer though, seeing as the liason teacher from the Vienna school had taken us out for a very good dinner at a Japanese restaurant at lunch). I particularly like the chandeliers the stall in the first photo has. Pity it was selling melon flavoured drinks, I’m not a big fan of melon.
Also on my to-do list was the Hundertwasser museum. If you’re not familiar with him he was an Austrian painter, architect, graphic designer, environmentalist and all round interesting eccentric
There was a b&w photobooth round the corner from my hotel in Vienna that was €2 a pop. I took a strip most days to document what I’d been doing . I also had some with Delal, and some of me holding up signs, but I’ve cut them up for zine use now, and I can’t find what I did with the photo of the whole strips.
I was working in Vienna a few weeks ago, and I haven’t got round to uploading photos and putting them here. There’s plenty to come. I went to as many art exhibits as I could in the week I was working in Vienna. I’ve never felt so spoilt by all the free entry in London. I think I spent about €40 overall just on museum entries. It was worth it to see some things in the flesh though.