Wednesday, December 16, 2015
A Viennese Afternoon
Stephansplatz in the heart of Wien is a happening place. Nearby on Graben is the imposing column pictured here, The Vienna Pestsaule, memorializes the victims of the Plague of 1679 and celebrates the survivors, among them Emperor Leopold I who upon his return to the city after the disaster had passed ordered the construction of this thing. Numerous plague columns across Europe were modeled after this one.
One observation I made as I traveled across Western Europe was that Europeans had a penchant for committing statuary. The artist in this case did that with a vengeance, stacking stuff, well you see it.
Strolling the platz is fine entertainment for tourists who I am sure are an impediment to the daily chores of the busy Viennese who have to dodge the tourists in the pursuit of their endeavors. Of course we contributed our share of roadblocking, stopping and staring at all the wonders.
Street performers were fairly common and one could be entertained for a long time were he to stop and appreciate each artist or actor. And one afternoon stop we did for there under an awning pitched in the middle of the street stood a very nice looking young woman in an artistic pose. There she stood, stock still, naked as Eve before the fig leaf apron.
She was being painted by an artist. No, he was not painting a picture of her on a canvas: he was painting her. Literally. I closed my mouth, picked up my eyeballs and inserted them back into their sockets.
The stream of Wieners continued to flow quickly past, but trust me, there was a crowd of tourists gathered here. We had with us two boys, ages fifteen and sixteen. Suffice it to say, they were transfixed, rendered immobile. And speechless. The adults were eventually able to prod the boys into moving along.
Word of the day: impediment