Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Remembering and Representing: Germany Part II

Yes, I've been away, Christmas is coming and I have been crafting some beautiful things. Anyway...

Regular readers will know all about my obsession with Germany, today I even have Wir Sind Helden in the background. You will also know about my love for the British Museum. This Winter they made my dreams come true in producing Germany, Memories of a Nation.

(Memories of a Nation Trailer. Click  here to watch video. Copyright: British Museum)

Different Germanys
The exhibition showcases 600 years of German history starting by illustrating the many different Germanys that have existed over time and the uniqueness of the regions. This section sort of works, it certainly gives good context for newcomers, with quality maps, but the coin display was a bit lifeless and more akin to a bronze age exhibition.

Vorsprung durch technik
Germany's technical prowess is well documented from printing, to the Bauhaus movement, the incredible work in ceramics, the Meissen rhino really is quite impressively large. And its famous people are also well celebrated, both Hans Holbein's Erasmus and Tischbein's Goethe make an appearance, as does Napoleon's hat.

(Meissen Rhino)

New Learnings
Even for a massive Deutschophile there were things to learn. I learned that hidden in the Buchenwald Concentration camp gates was the hidden rebellion of a prisoner in the form of Art Deco script. I learnt the significance of Barlach's Hovering Angel, and the relevance of the face being modelled on the mourning mother and artist, Kathe Kollwitz.

(Buchenwald Gate)

One Nation?
One of the central events commemorated in the exhibition is the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. There is a great chunk of the wall outside the main exhibition space but this its relevance is mainly lost in the grand surroundings of the hall; unlike its counterpart the VW Beetle which holds its own in the glass temple. The more effective image is the protest poster, 'Wir sind ein Volk', indicative of many Germanys coming under one banner. I remain, however, unconvinced of this idea as a reality on the ground.

(Wir Sind Ein Volk)

Come and see the exhibition in real life and tell me what you think! The exhibition is open until 25th January. Or listen to the insightful radio series by Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, taking one object at a time and discussing its role in German history for 15 mins.

Further Reading
I've been to a couple of panels at the British Museum and they have introduced me to Philip Olterman  (amongst others) who writes hilarious tweets and also wrote a great book in 2012, 'Keeping up with the Germans' - both informative and funny, I now finally understand why Germans love 'Dinner for One'; an English farce that I had never heard of!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembering and representing: World War I

Every museum worth its salt has a World War I exhibition this Autumn. I’ve almost lost count of the exhibitions I’ve visited.

Imperial War: through an imperial lens

The IWM have just reopened their First World War galleries, when I visited a mere fortnight ago the museum was rammed with grandparents and grandchildren making the most of this new, free, interactive exhibition. For an imperial war museum they’ve done a good job.  Technology has been used to good effect to create interactive games, and a reconstruction of a trench.  Subject wise there was plenty on the war as class conflict, a section dedicated to conscientious objectors, as well as an informative area on the world war beyond Europe particularly in the Middle East. There was some effort to represent the home front, but I felt women were under-represented in the exhibition particularly with reference to activity on the Front – but then I suppose I did buy the book which brought women to my attention at the IWM so maybe its not all bad!

('The Din', Imperial War Museum Gallery)

Upstairs at the IWM they have a collection of paintings from the First World War which cover the gender angle much better – featuring several paintings by women from the conflict as well as several paintings by the Nash brothers.

The Passing Bells

Another commemorative TV series on the BBC this Autumn – borrowing its title from Wilfred Owen’s ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. TPB jumps a major hurdle to remembrance from the first scene in genuinely representing 3 different nationalities experience; German, English and Polish. The producers have worked hard to show the shared experiences and get some comment on most of the major events –  1914 Christmas peace, the Somme etc. I felt the role of women in TPC was well covered and nothing was over romanticised. That said, unlike Our World War the show is designed to feel like a period piece. War is not glamorised, the character of Derek (Brian Fletcher) is used to mirror some of the questions we are asking today ‘in a hundred years’ time, I wonder what they will make of this?’. You can catch The Passing Bells on iPlayer til Dec 3rd.

(Enemies side by side. Photo credit: BBC Media Centre)

Burgh House: bringing the war home

To bring the conflict back to a very local scale I visited the free exhibition at Burgh House, Hampstead. Hampstead Heath played host to training troops during the conflict and artists famous from the era – including the Nash brothers and Richard Carline. The exhibition featured a copy of the Vorticist magazine, Blast and an original World War I nurses uniform as well as several photos of people using the hospital and the nearby heath during war-time. The curators had made good use of poetry on the walls to set the scene, and helped to set an international crisis into a local perspective – the personal drawn into stark relief through the smaller objects – a Princess Mary tin, a postcard home. The exhibition is open until 14th December. They also do great food!

(Troops work out on the Heath)

(The doorstep of Burgh House)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Madrid: a voyage into the unknown

Normally when I set out on adventures my friends have lots of recommendations. Not so with Madrid, only one friend had visited Madrid, most said by qualification, ‘I went to Barcelona’. If you are looking for a destination for a long-weekend I’d definitely include Madrid on your list; there was plenty to keep us busy across three days.

Apartementos Madrid Huertas

We found our lovely restored 18th-century apartment on booking.com. The bonus of an apartment and your own front door is being able to come back at any point for a cheeky coffee, a nap or a shower - we learnt this in Venice. We also had a balcony; I really enjoyed jotting down some lines, chorizo in one hand, coffee in the other watching the world go by of an afternoon.

Searching for cheese and chorizo

Our apartment was very near Calle León a street full of food and curiosities. So the first morning whilst my amiga was recovering from her jet-lag I escaped in search of bread and pastries, cheese and chorizo; and I was not disappointed. The bakery had baguettes the length of my arm and giant napolitanas (I bought 2). Buoyed by the experience I found what purported to be a wine deli, but when I asked to buy chorizo the gentleman behind the counter produced a foot-long sausage and asked how much I wanted! That was a serious breakfast!

(Breakfast at the apartment!)

We visited several churches whilst in Madrid but deliberately passed San Jeronimo on the way to the Parque del Retiro and it was the first of several churches we visited whilst in Madrid. Whilst the exterior is very impressive the inside features a lot of plastic and this was a bit disappointing. Somehow putting a euro into a slot which then turns on a battery operated tea-light wasn’t quite the same! That said there were several interesting depictions of Christ inside and I particularly liked this stained-glass window.

(Electronic candles :( )

(Christ on the cross)

Parque del Buen Retiro

The PdBR is 350 acres of beautiful public park complete with statues, cocktails, the Crystal Palace, a rose garden and a lake. Not just any lake, a lake you can hire a boat and row on - all the way past a monument to Alfonso XII. We spent a good 3 or 4 hours in the park, boating, pausing, smelling the roses. A top class park thoroughly reminiscent of San SouciBerlin and Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris.

(The monument, and the boating lake)
El Prado

Did you know the Prado is open for free between 6-8pm on some weekdays? We made the most of this free window to see numerous works by Rubens. I particularly enjoyed comparing the pictures of Adam and Eve painted by Titian and then copied by Rubens – it was like those games of spot the difference! I prefer Rubens version because it’s got a parrot!

(Titian and Rubens - Adam and Eve)

The time we bought biscuits from a closed order of nuns...

I had read online that there was a closed order of nuns in the city who sold biscuits. We decided this was an opportunity not to be missed and thus dedicated a morning to finding the spot where ‘sweets are for sale’. We found the church attached to the convent and after a brief tour of Hapsburg Madrid to allow the school group to disperse we returned to the door. A cyclist emerged and we asked him about the protocol for acquiring the sweet treasure. He said very little, ‘you’ll have to find out for yourselves. A gnarled beggar woman rang the bell for us to tell the nuns we were on our way. 

The door shut behind us with a clunk and there we were in a silent convent in the middle of a bustling city. We couldn’t believe it. With little to go on we followed the tin-plate signs round the nunnery til we got to this hatch with a wooden door in it. The door appeared to have taken on the voice of an octogenarian nun, ‘Aqui!aqui?' Having established that ‘yes’, we were there, and ‘yes’, we wanted to buy biscuits, the lady rattled off a long list of biscuits they had for sale. We were still making up our minds when a beautifully packaged pack of nevanditos emerged and a request for 'dinero' was made. We put our cash down, and our change re-emerged as a part of this rotating transaction. The American and I made our way back to the front door still silent in awe of the whole experience and remained silent for quite some time.

(The mysterious revolving door)

Calle Cava Baja

This is the road for all your tapas needs! We were in quite a particular mood so it took us a few goes before we found our ideal spot but we did find it, the ever kitsch, La Perejila. The pictures of Spanish senoritas on the walls, all the lace, even the octopus on toast (tentacles still very much on!). We experienced great kindness from the waitress who plied us with free sherry and sugared almonds.

(La Perejila)

Palacio Real

Official residence of the Spanish Royal family and the biggest palace in Europe. The palace in its current form has been there since the mid-18th century but built on the same site as 9th century fort mayrit (from where we get the name ‘Madrid’). 

There were several overlaps between the Palacio in Madrid and the Hofburg in Vienna. I guess that is not so surprising when the connections between Philip IV of Spain and Leopold I of Austria are considered. Margaret Theresa (immortalised below by Velázquez) was betrothed to her cousin and uncle as a child, and married at 15; producing 4 children only one of whom survived her, when she died aged 21.

The palace itself is very impressive, particularly the murals, the clocks and ceiling paintings. They also have an extensive royal armoury. Well worth the 10 euros entry fee in my mind. If you don’t want to part with cash, the Palacio Real also offers a free entry time later in the day.

(Margaret Theresa)

(The ceiling at Palacio Real)

Temple of Debod

For our last adventure before flying home we went to Parque del Oeste to visit the Temple of Debod – an ancient Egyptian temple given to Spain by the Egyptians as a thank-you present for their help in preserving Abu Simbel. It’s a surreal experience being surrounded by hieroglyphs in the middle of Madrid but definitely worth the hike up the hill. Free entry.

Honourable mentions go to:

 The Gran Via, Puerta del Sol (only tube stop I’ve known named after a phone network) Café Mallorquina, numerous churros venues and the Brazilian couple we met who were fab, Plaza Mayor.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Our Girl & Our World War, Brick Lane, The Riot Club, Mind and Soul podcasts


I took a bit of a break, didn't I?! Whilst you've not heard from me in the online world, I have been up to an awful lot of things out there in that other world; a wedding, a baby dedication, several plays, many meals catching up with dear friends, making plans for new holidays, I even escaped to Madrid last week (more on that in subsequent posts). At one point I travelled some 493 miles in just 5 days without leaving the country.

I've had plenty to write about, but no time to process it. But here I am. Back at last. With a crisp that's even bigger than my mouth!

Our Girl & Our World War

I've still had time to keep up with some TV, particularly military dramas. Our Girl has just finished its second series starring Molly Dawes (Lacey Turner), a young army medic in Afghanistan.  Its quite unusual to present the active side of the military from a female perspective; unfortunately it does retain a fair amount of girl-fronted-TV-show traits, there's a strong focus on fashion and rom-com elements. I also think the fact that the show was brought back for a second series is interesting, indicative of the ways in which the British public have changed perspective on Afghanistan involvement over the last 5 years. In the final episode a mother who has lost both her sons to the conflict says 'I gave you my boys; and you gave me a flag'. Both sons chose to be soldiers, but the mother is left empty handed.

(Molly Dawes. Image Credit: Digital Spy)

By contrast Our World War is a drama series based on the first-hand accounts of soldiers in World War I. The series originally aired in August but I'm only just catching up with it now. Historic accounts can feel distant and difficult to engage with but the series' production team have really done their best to overcome this. Each episode begins with spy-series style mapping and info which means you don't have to know where Delville Wood is to understand the importance of location and action at that moment. A decision to film the series with a strong documentary flavour and a contemporary soundtrack also help to close the gap of a century and make the characters easy to relate to. Can't wait to finish episode 3!

(Image Credit: BBC)

Brick Lane: Monica Ali

Last Christmas I bought myself 5 fiction books about London including White Teeth (Zadie Smith), did we talk about that book? I can't remember. Anyway Brick Lane is in a similar vein but with a much tighter focus on one woman in one family. Nazneen is a Bengali woman who arrives in East London married to a much older man. The book addresses themes common to much of humanity; relationships, friendships, parenting, and employment, through the specific lens of a Bengali immigrant in East London.

I'll be honest, finishing Brick Lane has been difficult. I've been reading it for at least a month and I've still not finished it. I think it might be because it doesn't have that much drama, nothing drastic happens, its fairly run of the mill. That said, stylistically Ali is a pro, she captures the voice and grammar of Dhaka excellently, and the dialogue between characters is both distinct and believable. Ali clearly knows the locality of her book well, having spent some time in Tower Hamlets I recognised the roads and the shops mentioned. I'm determined to finish Brick Lane but she hasn't made it easy!

The Riot Club

TRC is a film based on the play POSH by Laura Wade, itself loosely based on the activity of Oxford society, The Bullingdon Club. The film focuses on one night, and 10 Riot Club members. Honestly, I'm a bit terrified that it will do Oxbridge a ton of disservice. The vast majority of people I met at Cambridge we're not like the cast of Made in Chelsea or The Riot Club - with more money than sense. The things I liked about the film were: the panoramas of Oxford, that scene on the roof top, the eccentric supervisions, the lunch where Tom Hollander plays a successful MP.

That said, I think the film failed to adapt the play enough to its medium. Plays are restricted by physical space so it makes sense to set 90% of the play in 1 room. On film multiple locations become more viable and hosting the majority of a film in the same 4 walls can lose pace and the film did feel like it was dragging sometimes.

(Image Credit: IMDB)

Mind and Soul Podcasts

My congratulations to you if you are still with me! Its been a lengthy one this week as I had so much to say. I just wanted to conclude by saying I've been listening to a series of talks by Christian Mental Health resource, Mind and Soul. They've recently released a couple of talks on Perfectionism, Worry and Guilt. I've found them all helpful. Give them a listen.

Next Time: Madrid! I had an incredible time, I'm still processing the experience.

Friday, 26 September 2014

James III: National Theatre Scotland

This week I had an extra special theatre experience at the National, watching the National Theatre of Scotland's James III - from the stage.

Jamie Sives (Game of Thrones) and Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing). 
King James III and Queen Margaret of Denmark.
Photo Credit: National Theatre.

Click here to see trailer.

Theatre in the round

James III is one of a trio of plays by Rona Munro charting the history of the first 3 James kings of Scotland. It was originally performed at Edinburgh International Festival in the round and they've copied this format for the performance in the Olivier Theatre. This meant I got to go back stage. It was so magical to see the engine rooms of the National Theatre, the backstage props and the perspective of performers looking out on an audience from the stage.

The play itself is a contemporary rendering of the history of James III of Scotland by Rona Munro. Both acts commence with a ceilidh band playing 'Born this way' and other modern classics which subtly allude to the plot. The characters wear modern dress with the odd nod to the fifteenth century (a la Robin Hood circa 2006).

Jester King

James' court is portrayed rather like that of King Henry VIII's in The Other Boleyn Girl, pretty poor girls, poor economic decisions and banishment of the privy council. I particularly enjoyed the moment where James III sacrifices the funds for a pilgrimage to Avignon to instead employ a choir to follow him round at all times to make life more 'beautiful'.

This play is all about the girls; the mistresses, the mothers and the formidable Danish queen, Margaret, who might be a bit past her best but has one hell of a head on her shoulders. Beyond the privy council, the nobles, Lord John and sibling rivalries the real power is held by the girls. There was a particularly strong performance from Sofie Gråbøl showing depth of character and progression.

Poignancy of timing

I watched this play one week after Scotland's referendum. There are plenty of references to the relationship between England and Scotland as James III constantly suffered the threat of English invasion and coercion. Munro illustrates the links between the historical political circumstance and that of today very well, so  little has changed in 500 years. A contemporary play, James III gave me an insight into how Shakespeare's history plays must have been received by the audience of the day; the parallels to their modern day circumstances must have been clear.

The show was a sensation, taught me loads of Scottish history and provided a unique backstage tour as part of the bargain. I'm really looking forward to seeing the first of the trio, James I, in a few weeks time.

King James is played by Game of Thrones star, Jamie Sives, and Margaret of Denmark by Sofie Gråbøl from The Killing. James III features full nudity and is not appropriate for those under 14 years old. The three James plays run daily in rotation, you can still get tickets for £15 until 29th October.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The big 100!

Today is a momentous day.

We discovered that Scotland as a whole wants to stay in the UK but with a substantial minority expressing discontent. The rhetoric is that everything will change, I've yet to be convinced...

This is also my 100th blog post.

Shankhill Road (Jan 2013)

It all began 3 and a bit years ago, during my MA when the interesting things I was discovering and thinking about wouldn't fit inside essays, so I wrote about them here. My first ever post here, was all about car gears and families. Perhaps I was an eccentric child.

Camino (June 2011)

Since then I'm on job number three, and living a mere 51.5 miles from where this story began. I've lived up to my adventurous moniker having visited 8 different countries and more than 14 cities across Europe - always returning to London with all that it has to offer.

St Paul's (Jan 2014)

I've mused on whether Santa is racist, if social media is bad for us, the masterful work of Luke Leighfield and Susan Abulhawa, and if we really need vision to experience the world around us.

Llanthony Castle (Sept 2012)

My most popular post to date is My Berlin Diaries II, with Offa's Dyke and a review of Skyfall coming in a close 2nd and 3rd illustrating that my travel diaries are your favourites.

Berlin (Sept 2013)

Predictably most of you are from the UK, but then the US and Russia follow next. Whilst I knew I had German readers I was surprised to find many page views from Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Latvia etc. So 'hi' if you are from those places, I hope you enjoy what you find here.

It turns out that 2014 has been a prolific year for me, completing a third of the content for this blog. I really am surprised by that fact. At least perhaps it has kept me in the habit of writing if nothing else!

I've no plans to stop just yet, the adventure is only just beginning!


Adventurous Wilkinson

Venice, August 2014

Friday, 12 September 2014

Venice: TGT Episode 6

Venezia: Venusia - land of drama and expense.

Population: 270, 843

Accommodation: Glass-blowers apartment on Campo San Maurizio through airb'n'b (highly recommend - central, high-spec apartment)

Highlights: Rialto bridge, Teatro Goldoni, Chiesa santa Maria della Consolazione, Arsenale, all of Castello.

So we arrived in Venice, this theatrical island where cars are rendered useless and delivering post requires a very clever trolley to mount the never ending stairs. There are several ways to get on and off the island; we arrived by train, naturally, but picked the rest of the family up on the airport ferry.

(View from the bedroom window)

We stayed in Venice for 4 days during high-season and there were people everywhere crowding the alleys, particularly at St Marks where you can expect to queue for over an hour to visit the church or climb the tower. We arrived early in the morning, queued for one hour but got the basilica to ourselves.

(View from the Basilica roof)

(Illicit photo inside the Basilica)

Venice is at its most magical when we explored at night. Coursing down the Rialto on top deck, with all the gothic buildings up-lit really was magical. As was another walk we went on after dinner one night - hearing the bands play on the San Marco square and walking winding alleys reminiscent of Medieval Shambles in York. Both of these were close to nightmarish during the day when there were people everywhere!

(Night-time Venice; musicians at St Marks)

One evening we went to a really eccentric Italian play with English subtitles at the Teatro Goldoni. The audience were mainly English tourists and the players all wore masks. It was a bit odd and reinforced my opinion that Venice is all about the drama.

(Rialto bridge)

During the day one of the best things we did was leave the central area of St Marks and explore Castello. The roads are wider, there are fewer gondolas with men singing the cornetto song (Mum says those blokes were the highlight of her holiday), food became more affordable and authentic too, we even found a supermarket. You also finally escape the street sellers with their fake handbags!



There are also churches in this area that are gorgeous and far less busy. Key mention here goes to Chiesa santa Maria della Consolazione one of the only buildings in all of Venice that John Ruskin actually liked, constructed 1470. We also enjoyed the hospital with its water taxis and long walks by the Arsenale - look carefully and you will spot 4 lions each in its own architectural style.

(Chiesa santa Maria)

For us, Airb'n'b changed everything, we wouldn't have afforded hotel rooms or to eat out all the time. There were definite advantages to living on the island, gelato less than 20 metres from my bedroom, seeing the sites without the crowds, being able to nip home for a siesta. Another time there are still other things I'd love to explore but I reckon they could be included in a day trip.

(The bus stop)

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Journey South: TGT Episode 5

And so we left Vienna, for Innsbruck. Breaking our habit of spending two nights somewhere before moving on in favour of progressing quickly to Venice we journeyed Vienna to Innsbruck, then onto Venice via Bolzano, Trento, Verona and Padua.


Innsbruck in August is a bit nippy and decidedly alpine; it is a famous Winter resort for a reason. There is a mountain at the end of every road, and the mist rolls down into the valley most mornings. We only overnighted in Innsbruck but I wish we'd had longer to explore.

(Mountain at the end of every road)

We stayed at Bistro B'n'b with the Sill River running past our window. The hotel itself was like something out of the late 70's but we got good sleep there. We made our way into town to find some dinner and stumbled across a Medieval Fayre complete with court jester in the Old Town. I was pleased to see that even out of season Innsbruck was making an effort to entertain.

(Stilt Walkers)

That evening we had my favourite meal of the whole holiday at Goldenes Dachl - a restaurant right beside the historic building of the same name. We really ate the view this time - Dad had gulash and I had Bauernschmaus with local beer but the real thing to write home about was the wine, Lagrein Doc, oh my goodness me!

(Goldenes Dachl)


Our journey to Venice was an incredible 7 hours of train travel. Innsbruck was decidedly chilly and hilly, as I've mentioned. Venice was warm and sunny and cloudless. We left Innsbruck in jumpers, we arrived in Italy in t-shirt and shorts. The bonus of rail travel though is that you see it all unfold before your eyes, there are no shocking temperature changes.

During our 7-hour journey we made friends with two American alcoholics and the Danish coffee lady who was working on the trains as her gap year opportunity to meet people. We stopped to change trains in Verona and the heat was immediately apparent. Relieved to join a train with air-con the mountains unfold to reveal the plains around Venice. Beautiful.



(Laguna Veneta)

Friday, 5 September 2014

Vienna: TGT Episode 4

Population: 1.731 million

Accommodation: IBIS hotel (budget) – we really felt the difference to IBIS Frankfurt.

We left Munich on Tuesday morning, pausing to post our cards and then board a proper international train. This journey gave me my first glimpse of the Alps, and of Austria more generally. I love train travel, all of the scenery unfolds before your eyes; flat urban areas, mountains, and then the plains.

Our arrival in Vienna was a wet one, but by now we were used to negotiating new underground systems, sandwich in hand, and emerged at our hotel right beside the famous Prater fairground. A short nap later we set out to explore the city by tram. In Vienna you can get cheap 4-journey tickets (like carnet-dix in Paris) and if you’re over 60 there are discounts to be found as well. The trams are gorgeous old vehicles and the metro looks like a 1960’s space-age – all silvery tin-foil. We looked at Viennese architecture and then ate steak for tea, making plans on serviettes and living the dream.

(Hofburg candlesticks)

Day 2 I climbed the Stephansdom South Tower for a better view of the Viennese skyline - just as Stephansdom dominates the view in Vienna it also penetrates much of Viennese history.  Having got my breath back I went to the Hofburg - I saw Queen Sisi’s chambers and their massive dinner services – they even had a whole dinner service just for taking onboard a ship, which was incredible! If you like visiting National Trust properties audio-guide in hand then the Hofburg will suit you down to the ground!

(The view from Stephansdom)

After the Hof I headed off for a piece of Sacher Torte - it was really tasty, and not as hideously overpriced as I had feared. From the Sacher Hotel I progressed to the Naschmarkt via a post office, where I successfully ordered stamps in German. I also bumped into the Spanish Riding School Ponies on the way. The Naschmarkt is a foodie paradise with as many different styles of cuisine as you can imagine. I enjoyed tasting, and then buying some raspberry vinegar, seeing the bottling process before my eyes was magical.

(Spanish Riding School Ponies)

(Sacher Torte)

(Naschmarkt Sausages)

From the Naschmarkt I went on to the Jewish Museum. When I visited there was a heightened focus in the press on Israeli-Palestine so there was a body guard on the door and visiting felt like making a political statement. The museum was the antithesis of the toy museum in Munich, it was interactive and expansive, used multimedia modes of explanation and created space for people to leave their responses to the material. I learned a lot, particularly about the roles of Jews in World War I. I was particularly challenged by a comedy piece written by Georg Kreisler, you can listen to it here - he satirises the horror of going to work alongside people who had behaved so atrociously towards you mere years before.  I also learned about the ongoing relationship between Jews and Vienna itself, how they had paid a special Jew-tax which paid for Stephansdom and that several rich Jewish women founded the intellectual salons of Vienna. It was well worth the 10E entry fee.

(Jewish Museum suitcase)

(Interactive displays)

After all that thinking and heritage I met up with Dad and we went for tea at the oldest beisl in Vienna, Beim Czaak. Visit if you can, the service, restaurant design and food were a complete novelty.

(Beim Czaak)

From the restaurant we travelled out to Schloss Schönbrunn to listen to some Mozart 'where Mozart actually played'. We felt the original price offered to us by a street salesman was too high; and got a 50% discount from attempting to walk away. A very civilised evening all round.

(Schloss Schönbrunn)

Before leaving Vienna I insisted we go to the Wien Museum, and I'm so glad I did. Its a high-quality museum with a variety of exhibits for every taste from Medieval sculpture to Klimt-originals, a temporary installation on the Viennese Great Exhibition, Ottoman Siege Maps, the entire flat of Franz Grillparzer, Austrian poet. I bought their Highlights Catalogue, in German. Has to be seen to be believed, Wien Museum gets an A* for me.

(Viennese Armoury)

Next time we cross the border to Italy.