7-Aug-1985 Venice to Florence – everybody wants to rule the world

7-Aug-1985 Venice => Florence

Left for Florence at 11:40 (after included breakfast after shower), arrived at 3:30.  En route at “balequs” (??) we picked up 2 Italian girls in our car — one who kept talking and occasionally sung a phrase from “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.  We eventually found a pension with a room with 2 oriental guys. They weren’t there when we checked in and we wandereed around the city looking for a restaurant in Frommers.  We found it, but it didn’t serve until 7:00, so we walked some more, found a place to have a coke.  Arrived at “xinex” (??) next to the Vecchio bridge and then back to restaurant (exchanging money on the way at the shifty establishment hole in the wall with a good rate).  The restaurant (to me anyway) was a big disappointment with small portions at a large price.  Ate some ice cream on way home.  We plan to leave for Paris Thursday night.  Check out time from here is 10:00am.  Tomorrow we see Florence.

The pattern of not being able to eat anything until 7:00 at night, and staying our hunger by getting bloated by a coke on an empty stomach, has become a bit of a legend in my mind.  Maybe it only happened this once.  But it’s not a bad plan for those of you in a similar situation.

Yes, I used the phrase “oriental guys”.  Listen – it’s 1985 — practically the stone age. They were Japanese I’m pretty sure.  I guess the room had four beds.  I remember I was wearing my “Save the Wales” t-shirt (1985 folks) which had the phrase printed in the languages of the four major outlaw whaling countries — including Japanese.  I was worried when they noticed me wearing it.  But actually, they were really cool.  We didn’t have a comprehensible conversation, but I think they dug it.   In fact, you know what, I’m going to get me another one of those t-shirts.  Saving the whales never goes out of fashion!

Posted in Europe1985, Florence, Venice

5-6 Aug 1985 – Vienna to Venice

Saw every species on earth, photograph of Brahms, Schönbrunn, and in our spare time … Venice.

5-Aug-1985 Vienna => 6-Aug-1985 Venice

Checked out at 10:00 went to Südbahnhof, put stuff in locker with broken key (had to use penknife to turn it).  At Karlplatz we went to work history museum of 1870 – 19-something.  Had rooms dedicated to Mahler, Schoenberg and Berg.  Saw pictures that [unintelligible] painted manuscripts and letters.  Saw some famous paintings.  Best part, I thought, was a late photograph of Johannes Brahms!  After this we ate at a stand and then to Hapsburg Palace.  Walked around a bit and found our way to Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Art was closed so we spent afternoon in the other.  Saw skeleton of Allosaurus, Diplodocus and Iguanodon and Ichthyosaurus.  Many prehistoric human bones and artifacts.  Extremely large collection of every possible mineral. And the top floor was a collection of every species on earth from tape worm to sea elephants.  From there we went back to center and ate at Nordsee and from there to Schönbrunn.  Walked around a bit, saw roman ruins and Gloria — wrote some postcards until place closed.

Ate again at cafe and made it to train station.  The cars were rather full when we got there — Frank was confused as to whether or not the train split & some cars didn’t go to Venice or not, but eventually found a cabin that was to ourselves (for the time being, anyway).  Managed to sleep a bit until the tip of Austria when the other four people came into our cabin — An English older couple & two young girls (Maggie and Barbara Streisand).  Slept a little more — train got more and more crowded — the hallways were packed with people.  Got to Venice at 9:35am.  I stood in line (probably needlessly) for 2 hours exchanging our shillings.  We found hotel right way — good second  class, we got a discount by showing Frommers.  Place is arranged strangely with very odd floors.  Room is very nice and big.

Then ate lunch at cafe by train station, came back in rain & slept until 7:30pm.  Walked around (quite a distance) for a while and took Vaporetto back — a really nice ride and the only time to get a good look at city properly.  Made it to restaurant just in time to eat something before it closed.  Came home and planned for Florence.

I think Dr. McVoy suggested we go to the Work History museum, which was worth it.   I didn’t mention the most memorable part of the Natural History Museum – the Selakant! Again, my memory of this place was that it was completely empty except for us.  Same with Schönbrunn.  I don’t think anyone else was there.  That’s weird.

Frank really loved the furniture in the Venice hotel room.  This was before I really paid any attention to that sort of thing (about 20 years before).  I had created a memory in my head that we had each eaten a large peach that we bought from a street vendor, which then put us to sleep for 12 hours.  I guess that’s not exactly right.  We bought the peaches, but we only slept through the afternoon.  The exaggeration makes sense in that, basically, it wiped out the one day we had to spend in Venice.  We never made it to St. Marks, and it rained most of the time.  But the boat ride was nice – Frank used his Italian version of Spanish for the first time to get the tickets.  And the dinner was monumental.  It was the first time I ever had espresso.  Frank had to explain it to me.  Where did he hear about all this fancy culture stuff like armoires and espresso?

Posted in Europe1985, Venice, Vienna

4-Aug-1985 – the humbling wheels and towers

4-Aug-1985 Sun. Vienna

Stayed inside most of the morning (it rained all morning), then went out – straight to the Prater. We rode one small looping rollercoaster, ate lunch, rode the Prater Wheel which was exciting — then walked around park until we could stand it no more (me anyway — crowds of people and very hot).

Then we rode U to Danube Park – very modern.  The whole beach set up on the bank of the Danube is a concrete sculpture – 1970s futuristic.  Looming above on one side was the International Centre – a 70s futuristic building complex (uno city).

Then, we rode up the Danube Tower – another 70s futuristic.  I really enjoyed it, although Frank was unimpressed.  Then around Park grounds until we found our way to Metro.  We took U to South Banhof to check if they had lockers big enough to hold packs the next day.  Came back to Stephen’s platz and tried to take pictures of Dom.  Found a Gasthof type restaurant on a back street with huge portions and extremely good.  Went back to hotel – found Lance, went to 12 Apostles wine cellar.  Had wine & started talking about future travels.  Then, we went to another place across from hotel & had beer.  Went to bed around 1:00.

The Prater wheel (“Wiener Riesenrad”) was very cool.  I can remember remembering the scene in The Third Man where Orson Wells talks about how insignificant individual people are — how they look just like ants.  In contrast the “Danube Park” was like going back to the future of 1975.  And it felt like an abandoned movie set.  The Prater was so crowded, but here I don’t remember seeing any other people — and it’s a vast park.    I remember earlier in the day describing to Frank how I thought that living in a foreign country was humbling, and he didn’t understand.  The guy in the Danube Tower ticket booth was really rude to Frank –  either because we didn’t understand him, or couldn’t figure out how much to pay him, or some stupid reason.  I think then Frank understood what I meant.

I don’t remember that evening specifically, but it was a good one.  I guess that’s the last time I saw Lance.

Posted in Europe1985, Vienna

2-3 Aug-1985 Salzburg => Vienna. Beethoven, Klimt and ducks eating bread

2-Aug-1985 Salzburg => Vienna

Managed to pack, ship suitcase, and eat something and say goodbye to Frau Gluck and make it to the 1:40 bus.  First class train ride was very nice save the 80 shillings I had to pay because I forgot to get my rail pass stamped.  After much walking (I feel sore already) we made it to the International Studenthaus only to mistakingly realize that we didn’t have enough money (@6:10) so we broke the world record of being in a strange city of making it to the Bahnhof and back by 7:15 using the train and subway. Met Lance for dinner and a bit of walking.  Heard fantastic Spanish folk music players with ukulele, guitars, pipes, and voices.  Ate ice cream.

Trying to find the hostel in Vienna was an ordeal.  We walked and walked and walked.  We had the address but it was only when Frank recognized the building that matched the photograph in the brochure we were carrying that we found it.  It was not on the main road.  And then we had to go all the way back to the train station to get money!   I can’t believe we had the strength to go out again that night.  The streets were filled with performers – musicians, jugglers, etc.  Much more lively than Salzburg.

3-Aug-1985 Sat. Vienna

Ate breakfast at around 8:30 with Lance. Then went to Opera house – saw tours were available, but skipped it.  Sat in front and arranged itinerary.  Eventually found way to the Historical Museum of Vienna by way of the Russian War Memorial – great fountain.  Spent too long seeing prehistoric to 1940s paintings and artifacts.  Then made our way to Belvedere.  Spent too long looking at Art Museum – a lot of great works, but no time to groove on them.  At that point we were incredibly hungry and made it to the Metroplatz-Interchange and ate at diner then went to Stadtpark.  A real difference from the rest of the city.  There’s a duck pond in the middle with large fish in it.  We sat by the pond for a while and some people came and starting feeding the ducks and pigeons.  The pigeons are incredibly domesticated – maybe because they’ve had to deal with man with so many more centuries.  The ducks and pigeons were all over and around our feet and at a start they would fly up and all around us.  The ducks would come on land, get a piece of bread, then back to the water’s edge to moisten the bread in order to swallow it.  From there we saw the house where Beethoven finished the 9th — a run-down, boarded up garage type of thing.  Then we came home and took a nap.  Then, with Lance, we went to the Stadtpark again to eat and watch and hear the Strauss waltzes being played as people danced – left there at 9:30 and came home.  I suppose it was the actual pavilion where the the waltzes were played by Strauss.

I have some pictures of Vienna that I need to post, but I don’t have them with me.  The Belvedere palace was very cool, I’m surprised I didn’t write more about it — especially in comparison to my lengthy description of ducks eating bread!  It took a while to get out to the house where Beethoven finished the 9th, and it was a disappointment.  We could just look at it, and turn around.  But even so, I remember it clearly.  The juxtaposition of the rundown house against the music that was written there was somehow appropriate — more appropriate, to me, then Klimt’s gaudy Beethovenfries at the Belvedere.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg, Vienna

31-July to 1-Aug-1985 Wed – Frank arrives

31-July-1985 Wed. – 1-Aug-1985 Thurs

Took my laundry to the laundromat and didn’t know whether she was going to take care of it or not – I looked at her, stumbling and she lost patience and said, “speak to me, sir, please speak to me!”.  Christ!  Settle down, woman.  Frank came in early and I hardly recognized him even after he called my name and I looked right at him.  We went home, Frank showered while I went to lunch (with John, Marci, and Colette). Came back, had beer with John and Joel. I picked up my laundry with Frank, went to Dom and fortress, then made it to dinner (with Tony) and to Xenakis. Concert was not as good as last one – although one piece had same percussionists. Then we went and met John, Marci, Joel, and Helga at Sternbrau. Then I realized that I had left my wallet at the Mozarteum.  F & I returned but all was closed. Went back to Altstadt to find Marci, John, and Joel saying goodbye to Helga.  F & I found a place for F to eat & walked home. In our room we found Kevin sleeping on the floor. He had *crawled up the drainpipe* to the balcony – I wish that I could somehow describe how incredibly funny that guy is. The morning came early – Kevin still had to pack. We all (except F) went down to BUSES and I saw the people off ——————————————————————–
Told people I’d come to Marci’s Thanksgiving party that she’s famous for.  She gave me a standing invitation to stop by anytime. Rode home with Lance.  Frank and I went to Bahnhof to get money, then ate breakfast across street. After getting lost all over Mozarteum we found the stage door to the Grosse Studio and my wallet was still there. After that we spent 2:15 hours in Residence Gallery – I would like to take time to describe the memorable pieces, but hey, forget it.  Bought postcards of some.  Then made tour of 3rd century church catacombs. That was old – 1000 years older than the fortress almost – Holy —.  Saw some other churches (Frozoshichte & Universität – in which the organist was practicing Bach fugues). We ate at Nordsee and then to Sternbrau for dessert and beer, then to Cafe Stein for view, bells, and *my* waitress. Started raining so I said “wiedershon” & we made it home to a seemingly empty house with Lance, John, and Joel gone.

That scene in the laundromat is classic, and shows I still was not completely adjusted to the place.  The Xenakis concert had some really cool elements to it.  One piece had the percussionists spread all over the theatre, and another was a tympani solo played by Xenakis himself.   That I didn’t totally freak out when I lost my wallet is pretty amazing. I think this is when I found a poster for the concert series and took it off the wall.

I drew out 8 lines that filled up the bottom of the page following the “saw people off” line.   That was the big transition.  Except for seeing Lance briefly in Vienna, I’ve never seen any of my Salzburg friends again.   And arriving was Frank, my friend since childhood.  I was thrilled to see Frank and looked forward to showing him around my new town.  But isn’t it weird how most of the references to Frank are just with an “F”?  On the one hand it’s just a sign of familiarity — who else could I be referring to?   But still, every other person in the diary has a completely spelled out name.  Was I sub-conciously signifying a difference between new and old friends – the newer being more more real to me at the time than the older?  Of course, now, the opposite is true.  But that month in Salzburg was so vivid, and while I’ve mythologized the people and events, it is still all so real.   I had never done anything like that, made friends so quickly, and lived so independently.   But now I was back with someone who liked to do and see the same things – spend hours looking at paintings, touring catacombs, going to concerts, listening to bells, … and we were about to tour Europe together.  It felt good.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

28-30 July-1985 the beginning of the end of Salzburg

28-July-1985 Sun

Went to Dom for mass with Joel & Marci.  I heard some Mozart, but there was also contemporary pieces (not very good).  The instrumentation was choir, organ, and string orchestra.  I lost Marci and Joel afterwards. I found a Picasso exhibit of his sketches and stuff.  Then ate at Nordsee — really good.  Went out around 6:00 with John to eat dinner, we ate twice.  Came home.

29-July-1985 Mon.

Went to class, heard Requiem.  Sang songs for Lance, Jen, & Debbie with Tony.  Midnight Sky goes over real good.  The Clap (to “One Arm Bandit”), and others.  Ate lunch.  Came home started finishing Mozart for test.  About 4:00, however, John, Joel, & I started drinking rum & cokes and we’re rather buzzed by dinner.  Marci gave me a whole bunch of Europe information — a lot on Vienna.  She assured me that I was the only one on this trip that she would even think of giving the material to.  We made our way back to the house for Lance’s big farewell beer bash in the back yard.  Aside from some major destruction by John who was really messed up — it all went well.  They played some good music — Alan Parson’s from Eve, Supertramp, and Meatloaf – the big favorite.  Danced with Colette & Barb.  I did OK with easy things – but really messed up with Paradise by the Dashboard Lights with Colette.  After that she danced with Carl.  Had a slow dance with Barb.  Everyone split — Lance left me in charge to put some things away.  Then — rather drunk I guess, I read the rest of Mozart.  Started taking notes.  Slept for about 2-1/2 hours ’till three — when John came in — completely gone — I’m lucky I survived.  Studied from about 4 to 5:30 then Lance came home.  Sort of slept ’til 6:30, got up, studied a bit before breakfast — Kevin cheered me up — I was feeling kind of ill!  Then I was in good spirits.

Another reference to that Midnight Sky song.  In the past few weeks while transcribing this journal I’ve remembered most of it.  It’s not bad.   “The Clap” was my music to Tony’s made up words.  I don’t feel a need to remember that one!   There were a couple songs like that.  Tony’s words were always pretty offensive.

Lance’s “beer bash” was basically 15-20 people in Frau Gluck’s back yard; maybe less.  I’m fairly certain I did pretty poorly in any attempt at dancing. What I remember most is stepping on toes.  Boy I sound like a real college student with the all night drunken studying.   I remember when John came home in the middle of the night — that was really surreal.  He was dying for a cigarette, but didn’t have any matches or his lighter.  He was really freaking out.  Believe it or not, I suggested he try to light his cigarette using Lance’s iron.  The visual of him sitting in a chair holding the hot iron up to his cigarette is very etched clearly in my mind.   What was I thinking?  What was he thinking?  What a riot.   I think Lance saved the day, when he came home with a match.

30-July-1985 Tues.

Got a 203 or 4 on final — that gives me an average of 101 — not bad!  After class Peter, Carl, and the other guy played with my superball in the school which is set for ultimate play.  I then walked around (missing – as I learned later, an opportunity to play for Shirley and Barb — and the last chance to see them as well) to the train station and to the Mozarteum to look for Xenakis posters.  Walked back to school, played piano.  Ate lunch with Joel and Colette.  Afterwards went shopping with them — bought Mozart record.  Came home, talked with John & Joel for a while — took shower.  John & Joel went to meet Marci and I went to dinner — ate with Tony & Colette, which was kind of sad thinking about how I may not see them for a long while if ever.

Afterwards, I walked to the river & was joined by Debbie (from South Carolina).  She is something of an extremely nice girl, extremely pretty as well.  She was all dressed up going to a meal and orientation for the Rome trip which leaves early tomorrow.  It was raining so she used my umbrella and I, my trench coat & hat.  I walked her to the hotel and she said, “I’ll never see you again in my entire life”.  I said, “well, I’ll write you a letter”.  She’s just as nice to everyone.  I then walked to a place on the way up to the fortress to hear bells.  They weren’t extremely impressive until the Dom bells went off.  I then walked over past Numberg Abbey to back of mountain and returned — got bus, came home.  At dinner Colette asked me what I thought of the people here.  I gave a very eloquent answer I think.

You must understand — the building where our classes were held was an 4 story atrium with the classrooms all around the sides.  So it really was the ultimate super ball court!  Who are all these people, and where did they all go?   I wonder what that “very eloquent” answer was that I gave to Colette.

The next day people start leaving…  And Frank arrives.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg

27-July-1985 bells and super balls

27-July-1985 Sat.

Slept too much all morning, when I should have been buying food & washing clothes.  Staggered down to lunch in bad mood.  Meal was not too horrendous.  Came home with Joel, read USA today, first time I’ve read the newspaper the entire trip.  Then did some wash and read Mozart.  Went down to Altstadt early before dinner in order to see when the next Xenakis concert was and then to dinner.  Sat next to Connie (who’s been a vegetarian for 7 years). Very attractive.  Left immediately afterwards and walked to Altstadt and halfway up to fortress in order to hear the bells.  I must have missed them, because at around 8 o’clock a few went off, but it was nothing too exciting.  Right when those few started, Kevin and Wendy walked by on the way to concert.

Kevin: “what are you waiting for”
Me: I’m waiting for the bells to ring”
Kevin: “what, no really”
[bells start ringing]
Me: “this is what I’ve been waiting for – the bells!”
Wendy: “he wants to hear the bells – we’re disturbing him”
Kevin: “oh, sorry we’ll move on then, see ya”
Me: “see ya”

Afterwards I started home, dribbling my super-ball.  Almost went into the Art & Music club by our house, but no action was going on and two people who looked weird came out.  I left in fear of anarchists.  Perhaps if something would have been happening inside I would have investigated.  Made it home by 9:15.

I don’t know what was going on in that last paragraph.  …”no action was going on” at the club?  “Perhaps if something was going on”?  Since when did I seek out places where something was going on?   I barely remember that scene.  I was afraid of crazy Euro-anarchists, however.  But that statement is slightly tongue-in-cheek, as in, “isn’t it silly that I’m afraid of anarchists”.  Anarchism as a political philosophy is really interesting, but who knows how badly these particular anarchists hated Americans.  But really, I’m walking through the streets of Salzburg “dribbling my super-ball”.  Your run-of-the-mill Euro-anarchist must have some appreciation for that!  There were other situations where I was drawn to hang out with people that I thought I could relate to — like a group of  people sitting by the river strumming guitars.  But I would never get up the nerve.  And just continue on my way.  With my super-ball.

Posted in Europe1985, Salzburg