Boxing Day

26 December

Boxing Day was our tourist day, but since the shops were closed (it was a Sunday, and they don’t do the whole Boxing Day sales thing) we did the whole museum and Palace thing. That morning we all met at the Schonbrunn Palace entrance. GoateeSister said that it was ‘nice to have guests. You never do these sorts of things when you live here.’ I agreed, and told her that I’d never been to Buckingham Palace, the Tower or even the London Eye simply because I’d never think to do so.

The Palace was amazing and any description I give would do it an injustice. But it wasn’t just the opulent rooms that made it special, it was the history that went along with it. I know so little about European history. Yes, it’s a sad failing of my education, but at least I can admit it. I had no idea that Austria had been an empire, or that their Royalty were executed and exiled. I didn’t know that the Hapsburg Empire was Austria and that they ruled for 500 years. When I think of Austria I think of The Sound of Music, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mozart and Nazis. I know, really ignorant. When I get back to Glasgow I’m going to get a book from the library on Austrian history. I all sounds so exciting.

We followed our audio tour into the Grand Hall. It was the where they held large receptions and balls. It’s ceilings must go up about three stories and the rooms are equally long. There are massive chandeliers and the wall coverings are kept in the tradition of the palace. They have it roped off into portions, but you still get a sense of the grandeur of the room.

Goatee walked to the middle of the room, motioned for me to come over to him, and he started humming a waltz. He took me by the waist and started twirling me around. He then said, ‘You’re my Queen, and we shall dance as such.’

Everyone was staring at us, then GoateeSon started dancing with his wife, and the kids started twirling about. Before we knew it, we were all having a giggle and a laugh, and security told us to please stop or we’d have to leave.

Afterwards, we went to the Museum Quarter. The kids were taken over to the children’s museum (Zoom Kindermuseum), and Goatee took me to this exhibition on Hyper Realism at the Modernist Museum.

I’m not usually into modern art, but this stuff was so cool. It’s paintings that are drawn in a way that they look like photos. They’re so detailed and specific that you have to get up really close to tell the difference. Goatee pointed out that in photography there will always be a focal point, and everywhere else will be variations of blurry. While hyper-real paintings are usually clear all over.

Painting by Richard Estes, 'Downtown', 1969

Also, there was an exhibit that discussed early twentieth century art and science, and there was a film from the silent era on Einstein’s theory of relativity. The way the film explained it – all without sound, only written frames and visual descriptions – made the concept seem so accessible. I’ve always been afraid of science as something I’m just not good at, but if I’d had things explained in a different way…who knows. Maybe I’d be a physicist. Well, maybe not. But the film was really cool all the same.

After the museums, we went to this great little café called Café Central for a coffee and a late lunch. GoateeBrother asked what I was doing for Hogmanay, and before I could answer Goatee said, ‘You’re coming back up to Glasgow.’

He and I had been over this a hundred times. I was NOT coming back to Glasgow for New Year. I have plans with D for New Year. I corrected him and said that I had plans in London. Goatee quickly changed the subject by asking his Grandson what he wanted for puddings.

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