Saturday, October 27, 2007

One Full Day is Fine, Thank You

After an incredible 12 hours of sleep, a record for me, we ventured over the train station for breakfast. Ibis charges 9 Euros for it, but the station has a plethora of choices and the Austrian breads are a carbo loaders dream come true. My fave is the roll with melted cheese plastered all over it mixed with pumpkin seeds. That and a coffee is all I needed to start the day.

We had saved our transport ticket for today (6.50
Euros savings with the Linz card), but our first stop was the Lentos Museum of Modern Art, so we walked there. The city was alive after the deathly quiet of yesterday's holiday. Linz is not an attractive city; there is no architecture to feast your eyes on. It is the plain Jane of cities, so it has to work extra hard with the make-up to be appealing in any way.

The Lentos is heralded as a magnificent piece of architecture that was specially designed to be the hallmark of modern art. From the bridge crossing the Danube, it looks like a glass box with a chunk carved out of it. Modern art is not a turn on for me, but Ron wanted to go. I was actually surprised at how many pieces I found enticing, though the permanent exhibits were cast aside for the special exhibit that would end at the end of this month. There were more appealing to me than Andy Warhol. Admission, normally 6.50 Euros was free with our card. Yesterday, was bright and sunny, but today is overcast and foggy, a perfect day for being indoors.

Intriguing, but we did not indulge were the nut vendors on the streets. They sell different types of hot roasted nuts as well as chestnuts for 2 Euros a bag and from the looks of things, they do a booming business. After a coffee, we went to the Ars Electronic Center. This is the "Museum of the Future" where everything is interactive. We were able to waive the 6 Euro entrance with our Linz card, so we explored and played with different exhibits. Though the explanations were in English, there were few that really made sense or did what they were supposed to do. At 1:30, we were part of a group that went into 'the cave'. Of course, the whole thing was in German only, so we made our escape. Just in time too, a group of school children had just arrived and swarmed the place.

We had heard about an old fashioned cable car that goes up the mountain. This was the next stop. Our pass did not cover the cable car ride, but there were plans to modernize it in 2008 ruining its appeal, so we were told. The tickets were 4 Euro each with a return. Up we chugged through the forest, past private homes for a ride that seemed to last for much longer than what I had timed on the return. The scenery was lovely and the trees were crispy colors. At the top, we found a walking trail leading us to the entrance of the 'Grotto Railway'. This statue should have been a clue, but...what the heck, it was free with our card.
The railway is a dragon shaped
'train' more of a kiddie adventure than one for overage adults, but we saw other adults enter, so we followed like sheep. Picture the Disney "It's a Small World After All" done in fairytale gnomes, animals, and insects. The ride circles three times, the first lighting all displays on the left, then on the right, and for the grand finale, the whole thing with colored lights blaring from the ceiling. Yea, okay, got it. Did it. Been there, done that, time to go.

The ride down the mountain only took 17 minutes not going any faster than going up
, surprising us as to why it seemed so much longer ascending. It was now 4:30 and we wanted to go to the Castle Museum, not for the history, but for the special exhibit on chocolate. We rushed over there to find that it closes at 5pm, not 6pm. We did not make it. We also missed out on the Dentistry Museum, the Collection of Military Lore, and Collection of historic data of customs and taxes. Wow, who cannot deny that this should be the European City of Culture with these offerings making up their list of 12 museums in the city? We thought we could take in the city tour that was part of our card and transported by the little yellow train. However, it stops running at 5pm also, after September 30th. Another missed opportunity.

Every block has at least one church, which we dutifully entered, not so much out of interest as to have something to do. Even with the stores open, I was not diverted into succumbing into my favorite hobby of shopping. There was nothing that screamed 'come look at me'.

Without the mobs of demonstrators, the central square was what, interesting? What more is there to say about it. The plantings were lovely? I was really at a loss to find superlatives to describe this city and even with a thesaurus, I would have come up short. The best I could do was to say it is a stopping off point to other more interesting places.

Along the main street, we found a place for dinner, a typical pub/restaurant that was crowded with locals, a good sign. The food was good, the beer was fine, the atmosphere was lively. After dinner, Ron wanted to see one of the gay bars that opens at 8pm. I thought for sure we were in for another dud experience, but to my surprise, it was jammed, standing room only. This could be due to the fact that it probably could only hold 100 people at the max and that is if everyone agreed to keep their arms at their sides and drink their drinks with long straws. Being no bigger than our living room and kitchen combined, it was enthralling to see the mix of men there. The only woman was the bartender. One quick drink was all we needed to satisfy our curiosity.

On the way back to the hotel, we discussed whether we really wanted to spend another night here on the way back from Cesky Krumlov and the answer was a resounding definitely not, more museum tickets and vouchers left untouched be damned. We had already recovered our 20 Euro investment for each of our Linz cards, so like gambling, quit while you are ahead of the game. We went to the train station and changed our reservations to return home on the 30th, then called the hotel we were booked at for the last night and canceled the reservation. Feeling at peace, we went back to the room and read.

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