Two things I've learned about Austrians: 1. They believe that eating or drinking cold food or drinks when the weather is cold will make them sick. The gelato place we visited yesterday is the only one open all year round because of this. Most of its patrons are tourists. 2. They believe that topfel (a kind of cheese) is a cure for many things. Apparently they tell their expecting mothers that in order to prepare themselves for breast feeding, they should smear (oh, I hate that word) topfel on their... areas..., cover it with foil, and let sit for an hour on a semi-regular basis. Curious. They also smear (what a sick, sick word) on their necks to address sore throats. I almost ordered topfel gelato.
Today was stupendous. I've taken many pictures, and I will upload them somewhere, I just don't have the ability to do that right now. We met Thomas's friend and his daughter for breakfast at Cafe Lutz. I found that I enjoy pistachio yogurt. We then walked to where the Lippizanner stallions were being exercised. Though there are many performances, one can see the riders work the horses for a couple of hours for much less money. Gorgeous horses, of course. From there, we went to what is referred to as the KHM Museum... the historical art museum, essentially is what it is. I was most impressed by the Rembrandts that I saw, but there was so much there, I probably got too overwhelmed to give enough attention to a lot of the paintings. Honestly, I like drawings/illustrations, sculpture, and more modern art, but I was really taken with a few of the portraits. That surprised me.
Let's see, from there Thomas's friend had to take his daughter on some errands, and so Thomas and I took a tour of the opera house. The crew was setting the stage for their production of Tosca tonight, which was pretty interesting to see. The auditorium seats 2300 people, and the house puts on 60 productions a season, being careful not to repeat any in the same week (I believe this is what the guide said). I was impressed. Thomas and I had schnitzel and bier at one of the outside vendors in the street after that tour. Though the weather is warm, it rained all day today, making tours and inside events more appropriate. We went back to Stephansdom for another brief experience there, and then on to the Opera Museum (admission included in the ticket for the tour of the opera house). I'd like to learn more about Gustav Mahler; when he was there from 1897 to 1907, he became known for being the first opera director to have full visual and artistic interest and taste in productions. Apparently the way the Viennese behaved as audience members changed when he was in charge-- they were no longer permitted to come and go at their leisure nor were they allowed, in a sense, to speak during performances.
After this, after all of that, we got on public transportation and slept all the way back to Thomas's cousin's, where we ate dinner and looked at pictures.
Tomorrow we leave for Bratislava, Slovakia. Yum.