What I Spent In Linz, Austria (Just kidding.)

I love the “What We Spent” posts that Ali writes when she travels, and I wanted to do one for my side trip to Linz, Austria last month.  Alas, I didn’t track my spending very accurately.    I can tell you that I spent somewhere around sixty euros for all my food in Linz, and I can tell you that I spent €12 on a ticket for an art exhibition, which I will come back to later in this post.  I also spent around ten euros for various public transit needs around the city, €6,30 of which was just for the Pöstlingbergbahn.

It turns out that tracking my spending in such minute detail isn’t really my style, so I’ll leave that to Ali and go back to doing what I do best-  posting waaaaaaaay too many photographs.  Seriously, I came back from a twelve day trip with roughly five hundred photographs, and I did not take a dedicated camera.

While the overall trip ran about twelve days, I was only in Linz for about a day and a a half.  I started off on Tuesday morning from Regensburg, traveling in one of my all-time favorite conveyances, a Deutsche Bahn high speed ICE train.

After I reached Linz, I dropped my bag off at the hotel and set out immediately to start my tourism.  Here’s the highlights of a brief visit to Linz.

The Mariendom. 

Also known as the New Cathedral, this very enormous cathedral is the largest in Austria, although not the tallest.  The style is very similar to the cathedrals in Regensburg and Cologne, although this one only has the one spire.  It was really difficult to get the entire thing into a single photograph.

I took a bunch of pictures inside, but I think this one gives you a sense of the size while also showing you some pretty, pretty stained glass.

Schubert, Kepler, and Mozart all lived here.

While I was in the city, I sought out the listed former homes of Kepler and Mozart.  The Mozarthaus is actually kind of difficult to spot because it’s part local government office (hence the Austria and European Union banners on the building) and part cultural location with shops and restaurants.   The only obvious sign I could find was a bust of Mozart and some commemorative placards just inside that archway.

The Kepler house was much easier to spot-  the sign over the door says that Johannes Kepler lived in this house, and the little one off to the right has a bunch more information.

I didn’t set out to find the Schubert sign on purpose, I just sort of stumbled across this one.  Basically, it indicates that Franz Schubert came here to visit family friend Josef von Spaun.  The bottom floor of this building now holds a Douglas, which is a perfume and cosmetics store.

Höhenrausch.

Höhenrausch is an art exhibit that Linz puts on every summer.  This year, it runs from late May to mid-October.   The theme this year is “The Other Shore,” and everything has to do with water in some form.  There are regular exhibit rooms, but the true delight of Höhenrausch is that it winds its way over the rooftops of the city, through church and building attics, and up a custom-built tower.  This is the flyer they give you at the start, showing you the full path you take for the exhibit.

I paid my twelve euro admission, climbed over the starting barricades seen all the way to the left of this flyer, and moved onward.  On a nice sunny day, the views as you clamber over the rooftops are spectacular.

I’m curious to know whether these walkways stay up year round, or whether they build them anew every year like they do for the decks at Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls.

After I first emerged on the outdoor portions of this exhibit, I saw the sculture man in the distance.  I didn’t yet realize how large he is.

It had rained before and after my day in Linz, and this was a perfect day for this part of the trip.

As I got closer, I saw just how large the  sculpted man is.  His name is El Pensador, sculpted by Cuban artist K’cho.  He is made from the remains of Cuban fishing boats.

The tower behind El Pensador is called the Oberösterreich-Turm, which just translates to Tower Over Austria, I think.   Regardless, it was tall and I wanted to climb it.  Long time readers know that I always like to climb the tallest thing in any new city I visit-  I get a little bit King Kongy when I travel.  I wasn’t able to climb the spire at Mariendom because that’s only allowed during tours and my visit didn’t coincide with any tours. So, I climbed this instead!

Partway up the sculpture was “The Flying Ship,” said to signify a “new departure.”

Here’s one of the views from about two thirds of the way up the tower, looking toward the top of the Flying Ship sculpture.

Here’s one last look at the Linz skyline from the rooftops of Höhenrausch, before I head back inside.  Nice view of the Mariendom’s spire from here, don’t you think?

I took lots of photos of the art inside of Höhenrausch, but most of those photos were set aside before I started writing this post because I already had more than thirty shots to include.   Besides,  I feel like most of the art in this exhibit loses something in a still photograph.

Even this piece, “Uncertain Journey,” a dense network of woolen threads created by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, loses a lot of its impact in a single photograph.  Pretty neat though.  I wonder if this was created within the space it currently occupies, or if it was made elsewhere and then installed here.

These pictures are only a fraction of the Höhenrausch exhibit, and if you have a chance to swing by Linz before it closes in mid-October, I highly recommend checking it out.

Hauptplatz and the Trinity Column

Hauptplatz is one of the largest city squares in Europe, and it’s home to the Dreifaltigkeitssäule, or Trinity Column.   The column is a giant Baroque sculpture which was installed in 1723 as a monument to those who had died in plague epidemics.

This building is in the square, and this interesting relief work on the building was directly over a restaurant.  I have no idea what the history is on this, but it looked pretty nifty.

Hauptplatz is also the launching point for this adorable little tour train that goes through the old city, as well as the end point for the Pöstlingbergbahn.

The Pöstlingbergbahn and Pöstlingberg.

Linz has a wonderful system of Straßenbahn (street cars,) but the Pöstlingbergbahn is a special part of the tram network.  The Pöstlingbergbahn is considered the steepest mountain rail in the world.  It was built in 1898 although it has since been modified to use updated rail technology with a more commonly used gauge of track.  To ride the Pöstlingbergbahn up to Pöstlingberg, you will need to pay for a round trip ticket, and then wait-  it comes once every thirty minutes.   The ride is picturesque as you climb the mountain.  The Pöstlingberg stop at the very top is quite pretty for a tram stop.

This is the door to the men’s room at the tram stop.  I just thought this was hilarious and kind of adorable.  And I cracked my head on low hanging stone at least twice trying to get a good photograph.  I feel like this is what it would have been like if Gandalf needed to take a whiz in the Shire.

When you walk out of the tram stop, there’s a sign to let you know that you are at the very border of Linz.

As you walk into Pöstlingberg, you quickly come across an open space that looks over Linz.

Pöstlingberg is high on a hill, on the bank of the Donau (Danube) river.  At 539 meters (1,768 feet,) the view of Linz is pretty great.  This was not the same day as the earlier pictures from Höhenrausch, and you can tell that this was a much more hazy day than in the Höhenrausch shots.

One of the big draws for families in Pöstlingberg is the Grottenbahn, a train ride geared toward small children.    As you approach it, fairytale creatures help to point the way.

I found the entrance to the Grottenbahn, but decided not to ride because there was a pretty large number of small children already waiting to ride and I just didn’t feel like waiting.  I will say that the walkway leading up to it was cooler than the rest of the hilltop by several degrees, and this was a very refreshing place to walk.

The decorations on the entrance walkway give you an idea of what you can expect inside.

Another major point of interest in Pöstlingberg is the Pöstlingbergkirche, a large pilgrimage church built at one of the highest points on the hill.

The walkway leading up to the door of the church has a fenced platform which has begun to collect Europe’s ever-present love locks.

I honestly have run out of things to say about the inside of churches throughout Europe.  They’re all pretty ornate and they’re all very impressive.   And most of the time, the people I find inside them are tourists rather than congregants.

The Ars Electronica Center.

After I rode the Pöstlingbergbahn back down the hill, I got off the tram one stop earlier than Hauptplatz so that I could go to the Ars Electronica Center.  It’s a museum that has exhibits related to technology, and I was curious to spend a few hours checking it out.  I had heard that it was a really cool place to visit.

Unfortunately, it was closed.  I didn’t catch that on their website-  they opened up again about a week after I left.    I got to see the entry vestibule, but that’s about it.  Anyway, the building is right on the bank of the Donau, directly across from Hauptplatz, so I walked back over the river.

Four random pictures that don’t fall into the rest of the narrative for this post.

This street is Landstraße.  I spent a lot of time traversing this street because it was kind of central to everything else I was doing, and it led directly to Hauptplatz.  It was also the path that most of my tram usage required, including going to and from the train station.

I hate a couple of times at Deli-Linz while I was in town, and this was my favorite snack of the visit-  Peanut Butter Bread with bananas and cracked cocoa beans.  With a Fritz-Kola.  Sehr lecker.

Last, but certainly not least, I saw a great many interesting vehicles during my visit.  This brightly colored Vespa was just too cute.

Have you ever been to Linz?

More Tom Otterness in Minneapolis!

There’s only about ten more posts remaining from my time in Japan.  However, I think it’s a good idea to take a break from talking about Japan every so often to look at something else.  Besides, I haven’t finished talking about Minneapolis!

During my trip to Minneapolis back in April, I rented a Nice Ride bike to get around the city a little more quickly.  On my way between the Walker Art Center and the riverfront, I saw some sculptures that looked really familiar.  I was so excited to see them that I dropped the bike on my foot, which caused some bruising and left me limping for the rest of the day.

What I was so excited to see was a courtyard full of these little round bodied statues.

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The last time I had seen these little fellows was at an outdoor sculpture garden in The Hague, in the Netherlands.  I looked into it, and sure enough, it was Tom Otterness again.

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The location, I found out later, is the Minneapolis U.S. Courthouse Plaza, constructed in 1997.

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The oddly shaped mounds of earth and grass are called Drumlins.  According to the downtown Minneapolis Skyway-Myway blog, the mounds “suggest the glacial drumlins (an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial ice; the word is derived from the Gaelic word druim “rounded hill,” or “mound”).”

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I also learned from the aforementioned blog that the little round bodied sculptures are called “Rockman.”

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These two Rockman are my favorite.  (I’m declaring right here and right now that the plural of Rockman is also Rockman.)

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I suppose this little fellow would be a Rockturtle?

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I also really like this one, and I kinda feel like he’s just doing what I was doing that day.

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I’m glad that I stumbled across this little sculpture garden.  I found out from my research that there are other places in the US with little collections of Rockman by Tom Otterness.  I feel like I need to go see them all!

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What’s your favorite sculpture?

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

I thought it might be nice to take a quick break from Japan to show you art in Minnesota.  While I was in Minneapolis, I took some time to visit the Walker Art Center.  I particularly liked the sculpture garden.

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This piece is called Spoonbridge and Cherry, and it was designed by a husband and wife team in the 1980s.  I just like it because it’s an enormous spoon.

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I don’t have commentary for every photograph.  I really like sculpture though.

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Horse!

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This is the outside of the Walker, showcasing the displays that were ongoing while I was there.  The Walker was celebrating 75 years while I was visiting, so there were two different “75 years” themed installations.  International Pop  covered the emergence of Pop art from the 1950s to the early 1970s.

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I like the little round grass patches in front of the building.

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This item was part of the “75 Gifts for 75 Years” exhibition.

There was a sign on the floor stating that you should take selfies here and post them to social media with the tag #AtTheWalker.  I am a slave to trendiness.  Also, I’m partial to this piece because I have a tiny metal version of this piece at home, which I’ve had for years because it came from my grandmother’s house when she passed away.

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I think I saw these in the lighting section at Ikea.

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It was all done with mirrors!

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I read recently about the artist who does these bendy trucks actually getting a parking ticket on his art installation in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany.  That’s hilarious.

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Um.  America!

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Whatever your artistic preferences, it’s important to beeeeee yourself.

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I like the pieces that are sort of political-cartoonish.

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I also like the pieces that are kind of random.   That tiger must have had a really good idea!

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This bit here made me hungry…

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This was one of the most showcased items in the Pop art exhibit.

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I thought this metal pressed newspaper was amazing.

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…made you look!

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I like the classic sci-fi feel to this bit of wall art.

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There was a film explaining this piece-  the artist Yves Klein got naked models to dip themselves in blue paint and then press themselves against the canvas.

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Do you have a favorite sculpture?  Have you ever been to the Walker Art Center?

Bratislava

Caveat:  Many of the pictures in this post might look a little familiar if you read Confuzzledom, because Bev and Jan went to Bratislava the day after I did, and they took the same free walking tour that I did.  We saw a lot of the same things, and even had (delicious traditional) lunch in the same tourist-trap restaurant.  She was much faster about getting her Bratislava post up than I was, however.

The last time I was in Vienna, I took a day trip to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.  Bratislava is only about an hour away from Vienna by regular commuter train, and you can even take a boat along the Danube river to get there.

If your only exposure to Bratislava before now is based on the movie Eurotrip, then this is what you’ll expect the city to look like.  These are actual screen captures from the Bratislava section of a very funny movie that gets traveling through Europe dead wrong.

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Bratislava is far from the post-Communism wasteland depicted in the movie- it’s actually a really pleasant little town. Outside of the center it’s nothing too pretty, but the old part of the city is compact and lovely.

I felt like the center of the city bears marked similarities to Prague, which makes sense if you consider that prior to the Velvet Divorce in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country.

Here’s a fountain in Hviezdoslav Square, a pretty little central area in the city.

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Hviezdoslav Square is named after Pavol Hviezdoslav, a Slovak poet.

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Slovak National Theatre.  Check.

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I meant to check out this place, but didn’t have the chance.  Not a wardrobe in sight!

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Bratislava is filled with amazing statues in random places.  This Man At Work, named Čumil, is very popular.  He is sometimes referred to as The Peeper, because he’s checkin’ out the ladies.

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Of course Man At Work is so low to the ground that he’s been run over a few times.  The sign helps his visibility a little bit.

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Several of the statues are actually owned by restaurants, like this one.  This is a statue of  Schöner Náci, a carpet cleaner who reportedly dressed in a black suit and top hat during the communist days of the city, offering gifts to pretty women.

There was also a well known statue called the Paparazzi statue in Bratislava- it peeked around a corner with a camera.  I asked my tour guide about it, but the Paparazzi statue was owned by a restaurant of the same name, and both restaurant and statue are now gone.

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The Roland Fountain (Rolandova fontána)  was commissioned by Hungarian King Maximilian in 1527, and was the first fountain in Bratislava.

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Here’s another one of Bratislava’s great statues.  It’s a deliberately unflattering image of a Napoleonic soldier, because Bratislavans have a long memory when it comes to Napoleon’s siege.

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See the black metal ball to the left of the window in this tower?  That’s a cannonball.  This is the old Town Hall tower, and the cannonball is meant to be a reminder of Napoleon’s impact, no pun intended, on the city of Bratislava.

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These Berlin Bears are all over Europe.  I’ve seen more in Berlin than anywhere else, of course, but they’ve made it to other cities.  This one has the coat of arms of Bratislava on the paw on the right (the one that looks like a little castle), and the coat of arms of Slovakia containing the double-barred cross on the left paw.

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This is the tower of Michael’s Gate, one of the four original main gates to the city.  The distinctive roof is made of copper.  I thought I had taken a picture where you can see both the tower and the gateway beneath it in one shot, but I guess I only got it in separate photos.

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This is the old city gate at the base of the tower from the previous photo.  Michael’s Gate was constructed in the 14th century.

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Next to the tower is the thinnest store in the city of Bratislava.  It’s been many things over the years, but right now, it’s a Döner Kebab stand.    I imagine you can fit almost two people in there at once, but they weren’t open when I walked by so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

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That long flat buiding on the hill in the left half of this photo is Bratislava Castle.  I didn’t get any closer than this.  The building on the right is just a picturesque church.

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This is the Church Of St. Elisabeth, also known as the Blue Church.  I can’t imagine why they call it that.

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This church is built in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style by Ödön Lechner, a Hungarian architect who was nicknamed the “Hungarian Gaudí“.

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Even the inside is mostly blue!

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It kind of looks like a wedding cake, don’t you think?

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Ödön Lechner also designed this building next to the Blue Church, in the same style.  This is the Gymnázium Grösslingová, and if I remember correctly, it’s being used as a school now.

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Also across the street from the Blue Church, on the other side, is this creepy abandoned Communist-era hospital.

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I can’t actually remember the deal with this statue, but I thought it was neat looking.

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After the tour, I stopped at a recommended local restaurant for a lunch of traditional Slovakian food. I can’t for the life of me remember what this dish is called, but it basically tasted like macaroni and cheese with bacon.  It was utterly delicious.

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I walked past this stately building on my way back to the train station to leave the city.  This is Grassalkovich Palace, the residence of the President of Slovakia.

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Have you ever been to Slovakia?

Nepal Himalaya Pavilion

Not far from Regensburg is a Nepalese temple and garden called the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion.

The Pavilion was originally constructed in Hanover for the 2000 World’s Fair Expo, which ran from Jun to October of that year.  The Nepalese exhibit was incredibly popular, with about 3.5 million visitors during the 2000 Expo.  After the World’s Fair concluded, the Pavilion was dismantled, transported here, and then reconstructed.  It reopened in 2003, and opens seasonally every year.

Most of these pictures don’t have commentary from me, because I don’t have much more to add.  This was a nice garden, and a lovely way to spend a few hours.

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The brightly colored cloth hanging from the pavilion are prayers.

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First, he got the disk spinning with the long pole.

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Next, he used the spinning disk as a giant pottery wheel.

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The entrance to the China Garden part of the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion.

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Nice hooters, eh?

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Shakey rope bridge!

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…Fighting the urge to walk in the opposite direction here…

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Have you ever been to the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion?  How about Nepal?