A decent night’s sleep, breakfast, and then we were off to visit more Viennese museums. First stop was the National Library, which combined several separate museums under one umbrella. We went to the Michaelerplatz, I think, to buy our tickets and then we had to find the separate building which housed both the small Esperanto museum as well as the Globenmuseum, a large collection of globes over the ages.
The small Esperanto museum, which occupied only two small rooms, held our attention for a long time. We listened to spoken Esperanto as well as various other “planned languages”, from a simplified version of Latin to Starckdeutsch, a parody language created by German poet Matthias Koeppel, and even a bit of Hamlet in Klingon! There was a version of pac-man where you got points by eating the correct ghost with the answer to the question in Esperanto.
Upstairs we visited the Globenmuseum with its exquisite collection of globes in all sizes, including some enormous and very old globes by the Venetian Corelli (?) before America had formally been invented, as well as armillary spheres, celestial globes, moon globes, and even one of the planet Venus. We took our time in the small museum before we finally managed to leave and went for a drink at a café on the Michaelerplatz, where Ness had already gone ahead to wait for me.
The next stop on our list was another part of the National Library, the grand Prunksaal, a massive baroque library with fantastic frescoes, columns and ornamental cases full of old tomes. On panels along the length of the hall there was an exhibition covering cookbooks and cooking through the ages, with beautiful old as well as more recent cookbooks. Some great quotes had been lifted from some of the old books. A medieval writer complained that there was very little in the larder that could safely be eaten as this-and-that vegetable makes you flatulent and so on, or the classical writer (Roman/Greek?) who wrote, “to stinking meat one usually adds some pepper”, and many more incisive ones. It was no surprise that here too we spent a long time and by the time we left it was already well into the afternoon, but fortunately our final museum, the Leopoldsmuseum, was open late, or so we thought.
We walked the short distance from the Hofburg area across the spaces of the Heldenplatz, back along the KHM and to the far end of the Museumsquartier (MQ). At this side it was very different from the imperial Habsburg grandeur and more “South Bank” with banners bearing the MQ logo and more young, trendy, artsy types around. The MQ complex grouped together lots of design shops and companies and galleries and other creative businesses. Inside there was a large open courtyard space with lots of young artsy folks, mostly students by the looks, who sat around on the red circular seating blocks, perfect spots for just “kicking back” for a while. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the Leopoldsmuseum was about to close in less than an hour as it was an early night on wednesday, so we joined the rest and just plonked on one of the red blocks, lay back and let our minds wander.
We had fallen into a little “void” in our intensive cultural itinerary and were not sure what to do next. Too late for most museums, or not enough time left for them, and we were happy to just unwind. We went for a glass of wine at one of the open-air bars. The crowds built up around us, with the evening theatre crowd meeting for pre-performance drinks, and then it quietened down again as they went in. Meanwhile we continued to order more wine, as we still had no idea of what else to do and we were quite glad to have a change of scenery from the more traditional Viennese cafés. Our waiter had worked in London for a while. We agreed on the gruffness of the Viennese, not rude necessarily, but just gruff, bordering on the verge of rudeness. Typical big townies, wrapped up in their own worlds and status conscious.
Five glasses of wine later we managed to leave the bar and the MQ and returned to our neck of the woods, across the space of the Heldenplatz, now with the grand buildings lit up at night. I tried to take some pictures. As it was late by now we wanted to find somewhere quick for nosh again and ended up settling on a rather crappy Italian restaurant. They cocked up the order and it was pretty naff and we left rather unsatisfied but made up for it with a very tasty ice-cream at an ice-cream-only place a few streets away, a stylish modern small ice-creamery, known to locals in the know, so to speak. We topped it off with a drink at the small convivial café/bar near our hotel and then crashed out in our beds, having had rather too much to drink, hic!