The Brothers Josephu

The Brothers Josephu
Young Josef at work...circa 1917

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip - Day 1

Monday, May 30th.

I arrived in Vienna after a long but comfortable flight. The business elite seats on Delta were extremely comfortable; however I was unable to sleep more than 90 minutes. There’s a 6-hour time difference in Vienna (from NY), and I didn’t set my body clock forward…so I was stuck in NY time. I admit I was excitedly anticipating my trip, going over the plans in my head, and that contributed to my inability to sleep. The flight itself was easy, as was going through security in Kennedy Airport (NYC) and at the transfer point in Brussels. The connection flight from Brussels to Vienna was amusing: I was the only body sitting in the first class section, and the rest of the plane was a Chinese tour group. I an only wonder what they thought as they passed me headed to the rear of the plane.

My first vision, as I exited the luggage pick-up point of Vienna airport, was of my cousin, George Klein, and his lady, Brigitte Rabensteiner – my very own welcoming party! Hard to believe it’s been almost two years since their visit to New York.  At this point I had been awake about 18 hours, but was not ready to sleep. I was taken to Brigitte’s apartment where she conducts her therapy practice. It’s a comfortable flat in a quiet area, and will serve me well as my home away from home. We next went to Brigitte’s home, also comfortable and quiet…and where we would all share breakfast together each morning. Both apartments are decorated with plants and flowers, and a garden – Brigitte’s hobby. Something one notices everywhere in Vienna, the appreciation of a garden, in any size – from a single window box to a full yard, to the landscaped wonders of Belvedere or Schönbrunn.

George was ready to roll, and so was I…so, rather than waste the day sleeping, we went off in search of statues – or, what I call our statue scavenger hunt. We began with visiting the family grave in Baumgarten cemetery. The marker features a mosaic designed by my grandfather’s brother, Florian Josephu-Drouot. Florian did extensive research into the proper materials for use in mosaics (one of many mediums Florian excelled in) to insure the work lasted. His research paid off, for after all these years the weather elements have not affected his work, and this grave mosaic was in excellent shape.

We visited the ‘Police’ Church, St Hubert’s (Pfarramt St. Hubertus und Christophorous) at 2 Kardinal-Piffl-Gasse in the 13th district)…where outside, above the entry, is a large figure of the Holy Trinity by Josef. It can be seen in a photo in their web site. We then visited a granite statue by Florian best known as Mutter und Kind, but originally titled Ehre der Mutter by the artist. George periodically tends this statue, occasionally clearing away the brush and trees that block limit the view of the statue.

We then visited George’s apartment where I stayed for a bit as George attended to a personal matter. I made use of the time by organizing my notes, and my backpack. It was here where I first began to feel the affects of the long first day. When George returned we all went for a light supper, and the day ended with much needed sleep.

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