Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Busy Times.

Woke up with a sore hip this morning.   Might have something to do with a certain amount of mileage being covered,  and how it's now turned slightly damp and cloudy.
I used to wonder about that when my dear ole Mom would comment,  and now I understand completely.   Just needed to get past that half century mark.

The car has been given a "rest",  and the last few days have been all about either being on foot or on the bike.  I find the bike program considerably easier on the joints,  so I chose to meet our visitors yesterday at a pre-arranged time in front of the Natural History Museum.

The authorities do frown on most anything with wheels on it in the park area in front of the building,  but there were several bikes around,  and nobody gave me a second look.  I didn't want to say anything,  but there's a whole list of fine print at either side,  listing all the things that are not permitted.  With skateboards being so blatantly obvious,  there's no way any boarder could quietly slide through,  so that was just fine with me.

I suppose I should recap what's been happening over the last few days.  Saturday was pretty much a day that vanished for our jet lagged visitors.  Even if there's a chance of sleeping on the flight,  going anywhere where there's a six hour time difference with put you in a tail spin for a day or so.
Sunday we had tickets for the Spanish Riding School. 
You'll notice that the links I'm putting in for these places are from Wikipedia,  and I do realise there are some shortcomings inherent with the use of that particular source of "information",  but the websites for any of these places in not only in German,  but are quite often poorly done to boot.
I figured we should go to a performance on the Sunday,  rather than one of the "tours" or "training sessions".   Trip Advisor has a host of information on just what to expect when it comes to these types of arrangements,  and my impression was that,  depending on who you get as a "tour guide",  they may or may not actually know that much about the horses.
It was a tad warm in the building,  since the Saturday had been blistering hot here.   Of course that meant that the couple next to me who brought in their spoiled little two year old son felt it necessary to fidget the entire time.   Eventually I just stood up and moved behind Gabe,  since I had visions of pitching the kid over the edge.  Considering it was perhaps 8-10 meters,  he might have got hurt.
I've never quite understood the thinking of some parents who somehow have the notion that their toddler is going to appreciate this kind of thing.   I feel a rant coming on here,  so I'd better let that go.
Just as a side note,  Gabe and I went to Shrems on Friday,  since the company that cannot be named was having an open house of sort,  with a factory tour to see first hand how all the little widgets get made,  and we noticed a building on the way back having to do with the summer residence of the Spanish Riding School.  Since I rarely take these kinds of things at face value,  I asked one of the employees on Sunday and sure enough,  the horses go "on vacation"  for a couple months in the summer.   Considering how hard they get worked for the rest of the year,  that kind of makes sense.   It's an intensive eight year training program,  so by the time the horse is 12, they're pretty well an extension of the rider.  I was going to mention something about teaching at an average college,  but didn't want to upset anyone.

Our visitors have now mastered the subway system,  which was part of the reason I was able to meet up with them yesterday.   I knew there was no way we could cover any more than a small fraction of the Natural History Museum,  but just seeing the building is a sight to behold on its own.
I'll give you a chance to gawk.

I'm sure I could go on and on about this place,  since it's pretty vast,  and unlike a regular art gallery such as the Louvre,  it's not just about the statues and paintings,  since there's also huge collections of most anything you can think of in the "natural" end of things.
In spite of having purchased a yearly pass,  I'm not sure I'll ever really see it all.

Oh,  almost forgot.

Went to the Opera Monday night!

Had a look on-line,  and Madame Butterfly was being performed on Monday,  and there were a few tickets left up in the "Mittelloge".   Had no clue where that was of course,  but any of the seats that had any kind of obstructed sight line were sold out anyway.  It was  either that,  or do that "standing room only" thing.
Don't think so.

Sorry about that link,  it was supposed to go to the seating plan.  See if you can fumble your way around.  There is an English page....

So here's how it works:  You go on-line and submit a "ticket request",  and then wait to hear back about how that might have turned out.  Good thing I didn't screw up my phone number,  since the ticket office called back about an hour later letting me know that well,  the tickets that I wanted were sold out.  That's how we ended up where we did,  since I hadn't set out to actually pony up quite that much dough,  but whatever.
Seems like a bit of an odd system,  since I'm pretty sure with an entity like Ticket Master,  if the tickets are available,  you'll know that right away when placing your order.  Isn't that why it's all handled by these computer things??
I dropped off our visitors outside of Stephansdom on Monday afternoon and walked up Kärtner Straße to pick up our tickets.   Even the ticket office was pretty spectacular.  No idea what it used to be....
Probably could have saved myself a trip and somehow picked them up on the way to the opera,  but I wanted to be in possession of those suckers,  since there was no way this could be a "do over".

Anyway,  in spite of it being once again a tad warm in the building,  it was a truly enjoyable experience. 

Not sure what our plans might be for today,  since it's presently raining like crazy out there.   There was some talk of a couple comic book stores,  or perhaps a trip to the Zoo.

The lines of communication have been open back and forth between here and Slovenia,  since we had no sooner hung up the phone last night from contacting Kathryn's friend Urska,  whom we'll be meeting on Friday,  when Magda phoned to enquire as to our plans.
We hope to be on the road early to get in to Ljubljana in the fore noon.   Slovenia is playing the USA in the World Cup later on Friday,  and we all want to be in front of a TV set somewhere for that one.

I'll let you guess whom we might be rooting for.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.