Vienna – Day 4

After breakfast in the hotel, Joel and I headed out for our last day of exploration of Vienna. Our first visit was to the Naschmarkt, the food and produce market which Peter had advised us to visit. It is located just behind his conference venue and he has made a number of visits there over the past few days.

We wandered through the stalls admiring the varieties of fruits and vegetables and sampling wasabi nuts, stuffed olives, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and dried fruits of many varieties. We purchased some olives, Turkish Delight with pistachios, salami, cheese and some dried apple, pineapple and pawpaw. Some of these we ate as we strolled, the cheese and salami were set aside for our lunch, and the others will be snacks for our journey tomorrow. We also selected a couple of interesting bread rolls to complete our lunch menu. We browsed and bargained at some of the other stalls and then made our way back to the hotel to have lunch and store the rest of our purchases.

Our afternoon included a quick trip into the city to purchase more goodies at the Manner chocolate shop and then we caught the train out across the river to the United Nations headquarters. We got out of the “U” at a station on a bridge crossing the Danube to take a photo of the river so we could show Peter we finally did get there. One more station on was the UNO city. The UN complex in Vienna is one of 4 UN headquarters across the world. The others are in New York, Geneva, and Nairobi. This is the first I have visited. We booked in for a guided tour and our small party of 9 was led through security and x-ray checks by our charming Namibian guide, Grace, who provided commentary in English. She led us into the wing which houses the offices of the International Atomic Energy Commission which is one of the two main UN organisations based in Vienna. A smaller adjacent wing houses the Economic Development Organisation. We learned that there are 192 countries which are members of the UN and all flags were displayed in alphabetical order outside around a large pool with fountain and again inside the main entry hall. Grace informed us that there were actually 193 flags on display as the Vatican City is not a member state but is a member of the Atomic Energy Commission.

We also learned about the buildings which were constructed to the winning design selected from over 600 entries submitted in an international competition held to determine the design. The winning entry was by an Austrian architect and the series of Y-shaped buildings enable every office to have natural light and the different heights of the various buildings mean that no building is ever overshadowed by another. The complex was paid for by Austria and the UN rents it for 7c per year. We were able to enter one of the small conference rooms, and then we went into the visitors’ gallery of one of the two large conference rooms. Headphones at each station enable delegates to hear translations in English, French, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, or Spanish. Our tour lasted about an hour and we then returned through security out of the neutral UN territory back into Austria.

Peter arrived home about 5pm – conference all completed. He wanted to walk to the river, but we said we could show him our photos. Instead we walked to Augarten, a nearby porcelain factory with extensive gardens. The factory was closed for the summer, but the grounds were open to visitors and many families were walking or playing games in the pleasant surroundings.

Waiting for the “U”

I then suggested we take the “U” to see Belvedere. It was one of the places on my list we had not managed to visit. They have an art gallery with an extensive collection of works by Gustav Klimt and artists such as Monet, Renoir and others. The gallery was closed by this time of night but we were still able to walk around the spectacular parterre gardens and ornamental pools that occupy some acres around the palace. We eventually returned to Taborstrasse and the cafe where we had dined the previous evening. This time we decided to choose from the menu without necessarily knowing completely what we would get. Joel placed the order in his best German and I had Essigwurst mit Kernol, Peter had Wurstsalat, and Joel had Rindsgulasch. We ordered the same drinks as the night before. The Kernol turned out to be pumpkin seed oil and Peter’s salad was also dressed with this. It was delicious although it had the unfortunate effect of turning our lips green. Joel’s goulash, we think, was made of venison. We all enjoyed our selections and returned to the hotel for our last sleep in Vienna.

Joel has started to become competitive with his photos, and is making an effort to take as many as Peter. This has not been hard to achieve over the past few days while Peter has been in his conference all day. We’ll see how he goes aver the next few days!