Before I get started, a few food comments. Below, the Viennese equivalent of a hot dog. I got it from a kiosk, and was it good. Firstly, because it was not a hot dog per se, but rather a perfectly and freshly, immediately grilled sausage. Secondly, the bread was amazing. I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting, as what I got in Köln was basically a ciabatta 1/3 the size of the sausage itself. So anyway, I got this, in which the lady pre-inserted the ketchup (more akin to a watered-down mild barbeque sauce than Heinz) and mustard, and then the sausage.
Next, in the Volksgarten, the Temple of Theseus. Leave it to the Hapsburgs to create a mix of an English garden and a French garden; the fake ruins and the symmetry of the rose garden look so mutually incompatible!
Also, before the Blasmusikfest, I went to the Sisi Museum/Imperial Apartments. I also should have gone to the Imperial Silver Rooms, because it turned out to be the kitchens, but the name was discouraging because usually I'm not so into looking at old China patterns. Kitchens, along with bathrooms, I think are always the most interesting part of any home. Anwyay, the Sisi Museum was bizarre beyond words. I could not believe that the cult of celebrity for an empress dead 125 years was still so strong, and it was suggested to me by my Viennese-American hostess that the death of Princess Diana reawakened the cult of Sisi. The museum was staged dramatically, with lighting and Swarovski crystals everywhere (talk about product placement), but it was bizarre to see the right shoe Sisi wore on her 25th wedding anniversary. It was rather cool to see the triple-edged file that Luigi Lucheni used to assassinate her. Franz Joseph's apartments were very refreshing in their modesty. No pictures, because they were not allowed and there were gallery attendants all over the place.
So, the Blasmusikfest.
This was so cool! At 3pm, bands started marching up the Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Ring. The first band was from Süd Tirol, which is actually politically in Italy, but it was obvious due to the response of the crowd that it's still a sensitive issue. Relatedly, marches are the only form of patriotism/nationalism I can enjoy for extended periods of time, perhaps because they are music and above nationalism in most cases. Below, a selection of the marching band uniforms:
Then, after all of the bands had marched in, they gathered on the steps of the Rathaus and played together, which was beautiful. The whole Rathaus-Platz was full of people. I know they played all together St. Florian's Choral and Wach Auf by Wagner.
Last night, I saw Le conseguenze dell'amore, an Italian film, with German subtitles, at the Votivkino. The film was fascinating, and after the film was over, the entire audience kind of sat there for a good 30 seconds and you could have heard a pin drop. I've never had that experience before after a film was over. It was one of those films that could only be made by an Italian, because the character development happened mostly without words, which means that the director and lead actor/ess have to really be on point, and they were. It was a situation in which, while watching it, I could understand what was trying to be accomplished based on my knowledge of other Italian films. It was a great film, and it pains me that we get so little of foreign cinema in the US while crap American films flood the cinemas of the rest of the world, which severely limits funding for the movie industry in other countries. Le sigh. I'm also rather happy I've reached the point in my Italian that I can go and watch something and understand 90% of it without subtitles.