Monday: Paris

We went to Museum L’Orangerie this morning and viewed the eight Water Lillies murals by Claude Monet. I never realized these paintings were so huge, and so dark. It was nice to spend time looking at those and some other exhibits at the art museum.

We had lunch in a pub in the Tuileries/museum area, then walked over to Notre Dame, where a tragic fire in April destroyed part of the roof and the spire, among other serious damage. There is a fence around the cathedral because construction and restoration is going on, and there is scaffolding all over the building.

From there we went to the iconic Shakespeare & Company – an English language bookstore in a charming shop with many small rooms. It was not crowded but I can imagine it can be claustrophobic with many people browsing.

From there we walked across the bridge to the Ile Saint-Louis, an island with a population of about 4,000. It has a nice city center. We stopped for coffee and then began our walk back. Public transportation is still very much on strike so the car traffic is a mess.

photos: the Seine today; Notre Dame; traffic standstill in Paris

Thursday, Thanksgiving: Vienna

Weekly-ish laundry day took us to another part of Vienna about ten miles away. There was no laundromat we could walk to.

That was okay since we were within a nice walking distance of the Belvedere Palace, a beautiful art museum outside the center of the city.

The Belvedere is fantastic, with paintings by Van Gogh and Monet, and also by Austria’s most celebrated painter, Gustav Klimt. His masterpiece, The Kiss, is one reason people visit the museum and they were crowded around it. The painting is beautiful and made me want to learn more about Klimt and his unique style. I had not known of him before today.

There was a holiday market close to the museum and we walked through that before making our way back to our car.

We dropped the car off, then returned to the center of the city for an early dinner. Yesterday we tried to book a table at one of the two places where American Thanksgiving dinner was being served, but had no luck. I had chicken anyway, and we met a family from California who were fun to chat with. We checked out the holiday decorations that seem to be multiplying daily, and had coffee and strudel at a coffeehouse we found. It was a nice Thanksgiving and certainly we have a lot to be very thankful for.

photos: The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt; Three stages of man: young, middle age, old; the Belevedere Palace