Category Archives: Architecture

Costumes from The Favourite on Display at Kensington Palace

Image Found on the Web.

There’s a small exhibition of costumes from The Favourite on display at Kensington Palace, the current home of Wills and Kate and Harry and Meghan.

Image Found on the Web.

Image Found on the Web.

Here’s a short “Making of…” video:

The exhibition is open daily until 8 February 2019.


*Harry and Meghan will be getting their own place soon. I supposed they doubled up to save money on heating bills and stuff.

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The Third Man, and Café Mozart

That scene contains the most frequently quoted passage from The Third Man, and as it ends, you can hear part of Anton Karas’s famous musical score, played on the zither.

The Third Man is a classic 1949 film noir set among the ruins of Vienna during the post-WWII occupation. An American, Holly Martins, spends much of the movie trying to find out what happened to his friend and potential employer, the mysterious Harry Lime. The film, with Joseph Cotten as Martins and Orson Welles as Lime, was written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. With that much talent involved, it’s not surprising that the British Film Institute named it as the greatest British film of all time.*

I’ve mentioned that one of my little side projects on this trip was an exploration of some of the historical cafés and coffee houses of Vienna. Here’s how The Third Man fits in.

Café Mozart is identified by name in the movie, but the scene that was set there was actually filmed at another Vienna café. The real significance of Café Mozart is that this is where Graham Greene worked on the script.


Coincidence

As I headed for the café, I walked past this building, and recognized it immediately.

In The Third Man, this is the entrance to Harry Lime’s apartment building. It looks unchanged from when the film was made in the 1940s.


Café Mozart

Café Mozart

Café Mozart

Café Mozart can trace its origins back to 1794, and was renovated in 1994.

Café Mozart Interior. Image found on the Web.

Café Mozart Interior. Image found on the Web.

Knowing myself as well as I do, I realized that once I was comfortably seated in a nice warm cafe, drinking a nice hot cup of chocolate, it would take an enormous effort to get me back onto the cold, windy streets of the city.

Mozart Schokolade

Mozart Schokolade

Hot chocolate, with a chocolate and pistachio sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

Cream Cheese Dumplings

Dumplings

Cream Cheese Dumplings on a berry compote.

Let’s just say I stayed a little longer than I’d planned, and much longer than was absolutely necessary. But can you think of a more pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a chilly afternoon?


*A solid choice, although I’d probably go with Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Downton Abbey — Look Out! Here It Comes Again!

Downton Abbey is coming back, this time in the form of a movie.

Most of the cast—except for Isis, the unfortunately named dog, and the actors whose characters were killed off by Lady Mary (aka “The Black Widow”) or by the murderous Mr and Mrs Bates and their creepy secret son, Norman—will return.

UK release is scheduled for 13 September 2019, with US release a week later.


While You’re Waiting…

Meanwhile, back at the stately manor, tickets are available for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in West Palm Beach, Florida, through late April 2019. No word yet on where the traveling show will land next.

Budapest at Night

I had business in Budapest, so I took the train from Vienna.

And there I was, prowling along the shadowy Hungarian streets on a cold, rainy Wednesday night in November, with film noir memories of spies and Eastern intrigue playing in my head, hoping the rendőrség wouldn’t look at my papers too closely, wondering if I could just drop the damn microfilm in a trash can and walk away, estimating how far it was to the Swedish embassy….

Sorry, got a little carried away there.

And then I walked into the light. Literally.

I was at the foot of Budapest’s Fashion Street, which was brilliantly lit for the holidays. The street, which had deteriorated badly because of the hardships of WWII and by the non-benign neglect of the following Communist government, has been beautifully restored and renovated. This year marks Fashion Street’s 10th Anniversary.

I lingered. This was my third trip to the city, and once again, I’d found something new and beautiful.


Here’s a drone’s eye view of the area:

Café Landtmann — Lunching with the Ghost of Dr Freud

Café Landtmann

Café Landtmann

Q: What did Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Stalin, Emperor Franz Joseph, and Sigmund Freud have in common?

A: In 1913, they all lived within a few miles of each other in Vienna.

It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, one of the European great powers, with 50 million inhabitants in its 15 constituent nations. In the years leading up to the first World War, the city was at the red-hot center of the intellectual world, and second only to Paris on the cutting edge of the arts. And where did all this intellectual heating and artistic cutting take place? In the city’s cafés and coffeehouses.

I had lunch at Café Landtmann, which was Freud’s favourite.

Café Landtmann Interior. Image found on the Web.

Café Landtmann Interior. Image found on the Web.

Mixed Sausages

Mixed Sausages

I went with Viennese classics, starting with an assortment of four kinds of sausages, which are barely visible at the top of this picture. They came with three dipping sauces and brown bread.

Viennese Chicken

Viennese Chicken

And for the main, Viennese Chicken. It reminded me of breaded veal—same look, same texture. Austrian/German cooking is not noted for its range or variety.

This was very good, though. Loved the crunch.

The Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, with Beef Goulash and a Side of Bruegel

Since my last posting in November, I’ve been in Vienna, except for one quick sidetrip to Budapest. I’m back in DC now, and I’ll be posting some travel pictures over the next few weeks. Not too many, though, because my last visits to both cities were fairly recent—I spent a couple of weeks in Vienna back in 2014, and some time in Budapest just last year. You can find those earlier posts in the archives. Rather than rehash my notes on museums and galleries, I’ll probably write more about restaurants and street scenes.

One of the reasons I returned to Vienna so soon was that the Kunsthistorisches Museum was commemorating the 450th anniversary of the death Pieter Bruegel the Elder by hosting a massive Bruegel exhibition. Over the past few years, I’ve developed something of an obsession with Bruegel—with all the Bruegels, really, and there are about half a dozen notable artists in that one extended family.

But for the reasons I posted above, I’m not going to post new images from the exhibition.  I’ve already posted a selection of Breugel paintings, which you can see at these links from my last visit to Kunsthistorisches Museum and from my trip to Brussels last Spring. Instead, I’m going to focus on something almost as important.


The Café-Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Image found on the Web.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
—Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; great minds discuss restaurants.”
—Attributed to Fran Lebowitz.

With some notable exceptions, “museum food” doesn’t have a great reputation. My meal at the Kunsthistorisches was not one of those exceptions. The drink and the beef goulash were forgettable at best, but I wasn’t there for the food.

I was there for the room.

The magnificent Café at the Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the Great Rooms, the kind of place that reminds you that you’re in one of the old imperial cities of Europe.

Image found on the Web.

Image found on the Web.

Pictures don’t begin to convey the breathtakingly beauty of this room.


Oh, yeah. One other thing…

I almost forgot to mention: The Bruegel exhibition?  Oh, It was glorious!

Museum Day Is Saturday


Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day is Saturday, 22 September 2018. More than 1,600 museums, galleries, and historic sites across the country will celebrate it by offering free admission with a downloaded voucher, which you can get here. The website includes an easy-to-use search engine that lets you to quickly discover the participating museums in your area.