European Lifestyle

The view of Vienna in the background

The view of Vienna in the background

Once we got to Langenlois we felt as if we were plunged into the past. The village is reminiscent of a movie set. The stone plaza, the plaster surfaced houses applied over the field stones that surfaced every spring, the cafes with patios circled around the tiny ring road of the town, the architecture that is so typical of Middle Eastern mountain towns spoke of a time travel experience. We had Viennese ice coffee sitting in the sun under an evergreen tree raised to the top of the catholic statue in the centre of town.The May tree according to some internet research that I did is a tradition of Maibaumfest which is a German ancient festival welcoming spring after a long, cold winter.

a packed house for opening of Disparate Voices, Austria

a packed house for opening of Disparate Voices, Austria

The opening of the art show was wonderful. I counted over 75 guests and the occasion was doubly a pleasure because Cameron played bass with two students from the local Viennese Music School. One of the guitar players is a plumber who has taken up music as a second career. Interesting because Cameron is a musician who has taken up electrical contracting as a second career.

Many people ended up returning to the exhibit on a following day. The gallery owner said that a local art professor at the University of Vienna brought a class down to view the exotic Canadian artists’ work: that would be me and Jean-Francois.

cleaning up before the show. Fire hung on wall.

cleaning up before the show. Fire hung on wall.

Cameron and I got up early the next day, we were on a different time rhthym, and walked around town. We really enjoyed the local park with a outdoor pool, outdoor shower and change room; sand volleyball pit; climbing wall; mini-tower; and see-saw swings that are attached to one another so two people swinging can set up a reaction in the partner’s swing. Cameron had unfair advantage and jerked me around like a puppet. We were both laughing outloud. We thoroughly enjoyed the time alone just to explore and enjoy the new environment.

Later that day we had lunch with Matthias’ family who kindly adopted us and extended every kindness to us. We met his Aunt who, married to a doctor, lives in Graz and teaches English in a local school. Interestingly enough, it is the gallery in Graz that expressed interest in doing another show with my work in it. So now after I get the yard and house back in order, I will send off a portfolio for the Graz Gallery. Who knows what possibilities exit.

When is a good time to write about an adventure?

During would be good if it weren’t truly an adventure. We spent so much time on the move and not hooked into internet during our journey that it was impossible to keep my site properly “fed”. However, now that we are back in Kelowna, I can begin to tell the tale.

overlooking vienna from a viewpoint

overlooking vienna from a viewpoint

The weeks preceding the journey were stressful and busy. With the passing away of my step-father, the journeys to take care of him and his affairs, time was distorted and disjointed. Two art shows right before I left further ate up my time. The actual preparation for the Vienna show seemed to take last place.

the beautiful suburb outside Vienna that we visited.

the beautiful suburb outside Vienna that we visited.

The plane trip took almost 17 hours and found us arriving at the Vienna airport in another time and space. The trip itself was smooth because Cameron does such a brilliant job of planning and anticipating transitions. We always knew exactly how much time we had to move from place to place. Wrangling the art work rolled in a lawn chair bag and carefully stowed in plumbing pipe that Cameron constructed as a waterproof tube was a feat. We had a backpack each. We each had a computer bag that we used as “hand bags” or in his case a “man bag.” In addition, we brought a suitcase with a suitcase in it.

We have travelled enough to know by now that that extra suitcase is necessary. We tend to pick up paper, books, receipts etc. until we expand and become quite heavy and awkward. From each trip we have returned with an additional, newly purchased suitcase. We decided that this time we would not add to our collection any further.

We were¬† very pleased to see Matthias’ smiling face at the airport. He took us to his cabin where we spent the first few days and we immediately went to sleep.

Vienna is a town full of parks

Vienna is a town full of parks

Very soon we were in the car to take my art work to the gallery in the suburb of Langenlois which is a charming winegrowing area. The town is typical of historic Austrian and Eastern European villages. The stones that the fields offered up each spring were used to construct the buildings. Covered with a mud-like substance, the walls were painted brightly and when the surface crumbles one can see the history of the area appearing in the walls.

overlooking the city and the river

overlooking the city and the river

Setting up the show went very smoothly and the gallery itself was spectacular. The view from the ultra modern structure of the village from the past was a delightful juxtaposition. The gallery owner’s family owns several businesses in Langenlois, including wine-making. They were wonderful hosts and went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Catching Up in Paris

The internet connection we had in Vienna was slow, slow, slow. That coupled with the necessity to get the show hung and ready for the opening was the principle focus.

We arrived in Vienna when it was quite cold and we were already tired. The last weeks of sitting vigil with my step-father, having a show at the show homes, being at WAM until after midnight were strenuous. We cleaned the house, made arrangements for care of plants etc. with our wonderful neighbours Ray and Sarah and Roger and Candy. Since the airporter was picking us up at 4:15 and we finally got to bed at midnight, we were stretched to the limit.

Gallery overlooks Langenlois

Gallery overlooks Langenlois

Setting off for our adventure in the dark of Kelowna, we met a couple from Baltimore in the van. They seemed lively and alert so we tried to appear awake.

When we began our adventure in the Kelowna airport, we transferred in Vancouver and again in Toronto. I was very excited because I had never seen Toronto before. Two of the Sedo family are living there so I called out, “Hi Mat. Hi Sara,” to the skyline.

I watched Doubt and almost all of Frost/Nixon on the flight. I missed the last few minutes because of announcements. Drat!

Matthias was in the Vienna airport to greet us and I felt like a slab of butchered meat but was very happy to see this charming, intelligent man. He took us to the family “cabina” which is a small, unheated cabin sitting on a tiny lake. The same type of ducks that Candy feeds out front of our houses were floating in the lake. These tiny cabins were build in 1910 and used for government workers as a perk… if I got that right.

Jean Francois, Matthias and Cameron

Jean Francois, Matthias and Cameron

Matthias was to bring Jean-Francois to us to visit but by the time they got back Cameron and I had collapsed into the bottom bunk of a bunk bed clinging to one another for warmth. We slept until Vienna’s midnight, got up and had buckwheat groats with an egg stirred in. Our hosts left milk, juice, fruit and grains for us. They were very generous.

In the morning we went to Matthias’ house which was five minutes walk away and visited with the family. Off to the art supply store to buy paint and then to buy lumber for framing. The next day we visited again then set off to Langonlois which is about two hours drive from Vienna and we were greeted with beautiful countryside and a picture-story book village.

We set up for most of the day then headed back to Vienna. The next afternoon we set off to stay in a wonderful little pensione and got to know the owner Brigitte over the breakfasts of cheeses, meats, cereal, yogurt, breads and fruit. We drank buckets of coffee and visited. The first night was the Vernissage and I counted well over 70 people who showed up to celebrate the art. The gallery owner’s son Alex was a wonderful host and really made us feel cared for. Cameron played at the opening with two young men on guitar who are music students at a university in Vienna. The opening was very successful because it was to take place from 7 until 9 but people stayed until well after 11. The tradition of offering bread with the wine is excellent and keeps the flow of free wine from

Matthias, Jean Francois, Cameron and I taking pictures

Matthias, Jean Francois, Cameron and I taking pictures

becoming a bad scene.

The next day Cameron and I walked the village taking a break for breakfast and met up with others when they rolled out late morning. It was beautiful to walk the streets with the texture and color of a culture available for study. Women on bicycles were shopping, buying breads, meats and flowers. On Sunday the streets were taken over by shiny convertibles and expensive cars driving to be seen through the narrow passways.

Pretending to use sugar as cell phone cafe langenlois

Pretending to use sugar as cell phone cafe langenlois

The last night a rock band played under our window all night and I only got three hours sleep. After weeks of lack of sleep, I just burst out crying on our way to lunch. It was not very sophisticated of me but I was just so done. The ride back in the car was an endurance event. Five of us were shoved in with our luggage and the temperature was over 25 celsius, I am sure.

Once we were back to Matthias’ house, we headed off to the cabina to just sleep. I collapsed and slept eleven hours.

Today we are in Paris in a luxury hotel room after a wonderful sleep. So nice to have a four star sink to wash one’s clothes in. We will be here for three full days and then off to the plane again. It is an exciting time to be looking forward to quiet time. Cameron is ready to seek food. I will be loading up more pictures when we have internet again.

In Vienna

We are in a small cabin on a lake away from the city. Love visiting with our friend Matthias and his family. Will load more later. Long, long plane ride after the Wilden show. We both collapsed in the bunk bed and slept for hours.

Off to have breakfast with Jean-Francois and Matthias in Vienna proper. Will load in images later. Stay tuned.

Vienna tomorrow..flight at 6 am

Finished Wilden show, WAM show, entry for Erotic Art, entry for Energy Gallery…now to pack for Vienna. Just not enough time in the universe. Hoping to sleep one day soon.

So many shows in hopes if having a sale. Stay tuned for the journey.