Whenever we go away on a city break we do tend to visit the odd art gallery or two. So far we have done the Van Gough museum in Amsterdam, Mucha in Prague and today the Leopold Museum, home of the works of Gustav Klimt.  Well I say the home…..

The Leopold is a vast collection belonging to a private collector who donated it to the city in the 1990’s.  As you travel around the city you will see posters advertising it all over the place, usually featuring pictures of a piece of Klimt artwork. The truth of the matter is that all of these museums have a few of a famous artist’s pieces of work and then a lot of other lesser known artists.  They remind me of the “Now That’s What I Call Music” albums that I used to collect in the 80’s.  They would suck you in with tracks by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Duran Duran, but you knew that by the time you get the disc 2, side 2 (I had them all on vinyl) then they would slip in a tune by the Cocteau Twins or Classics Nouveau (Google them kids) that you never wanted to hear again, never mind own.

Leopald has about half a floor of Klimt, but another four and half floors of other stuff.  As I was wandering through the “other stuff” several rooms in front of Karen (I can appreciate art at speed) I noted the demographic of the gallery.  It was mainly women taking and interest in the art and men were wandering a few paces behind with that “when can we go for a coffee dear?” look on their face.  I have said before in one of these blogs (or at least I think I have. I might just have thought it.  I struggle to remember what  I have and haven’t said) how I find I spend more time reading the notes by the piece of artwork than actually looking at the picture.  Well one lady had an even more impressive system.

She stood about 4′ 10″ tall and looked a bit like Sandi Toksvig.  She moved through the galleries as though she was on a Sushi conveyor belt with a benign smile on her face muttering in German.  I watched her for a few minutes and concluded that she was taking approx. 3 seconds for the notes; 4 seconds for the picture and another 4 seconds for the blank bit of wall between the picture.  She obviously had done the maths and worked out what speed she had to move at to get around the required galleries in her allotted time.  It was a living, breathing example of German efficiency.

When we did eventually get to the half a floor of Klimt it was worth it.  One of the best displays was a selection of his postcards which he wrote to Emilie Floge.  As he travelled across Europe he sent over 400 postcards to his “life companion”.  These were little snap shots of his journeys.  It would appear that he mainly:

– complained about the weather
– complained about the food
– complained about the journey/travel arrangements
– complained about the snoring of people in adjoining rooms.

“What a grump” I thought.  I mean If I was travelling around Europe going to places like Prague, Vienna and Budapest, you wouldn’t catch me constantly writing home about all the stuff that was wrong with the journey….oh….hold on.
So there you have it.  As well as being an inspired artist, Gustav Klimt was the first holiday blogger.

Interestingly enough in the centre of Vienna there is a shop which is selling Klimt prints and furniture “inspired” by him.  They have laid it out like an art gallery, the only difference being that you can buy their art work.  A very clever idea.   I also think we actually saw more of his work there than we did in the museum!
Todays cake was an apricot torte, but really it was more like a cheesecake, but as smooth and light as a mousse.  Gorgeous.  Recipe as usual below.


Transport Tally
Cars x 1
Plane x 1
Train x 4
Bikes  x 1
Trams  x 8
Boats x 1
Bus x 2
Apricot Torte (but cheesecake really)
2 x eggs (for the sponge base)
1 cup caster sugar, (for the sponge base)
1 cup plain flour, (for the sponge base)
500 g mascarpone cheese
250 g sour cream (i use light sour cream)
3/4 -1 cups caster sugar ( for the top)
1 handful apricots, diced (i use canned)
11/2 Tbls gelatine
100 ml hot water
1 x aeroplane jelly mango mania 85g
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until pale in colour and doubled in volume (approx. 7 -10min). While whisking gradually add the sugar. The mixture must increase in volume. Stop beating. Add flour and mix gently with a wooden spoon. Stir in a circular motion from the bottom up until flour is completely mixed in. Put the mixture into prepared greased spring form. Smooth surface. Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
2. Dissolve gelatine in hot water.
3. Using electric mixture beat the mascarpone, sour cream and sugar until fluffy. Add gelatine and continue to beat for few seconds until combined. Add diced apricot and carefully mix in.
4. Pour mixture on top of sponge base. Leave in the refrigerator to set.
5. Decoration: Follow the instructions on the Jelly box to prepare jelly mixture. Place apricot halves on top of the cake and pour ½ of jelly mixture over the cake. Return to refrigerator to set.

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