I have wonderful images and memories of Austria running around my mind today. My first must be Gustav Klimt. I went through a HUGE Klimt phase. I loved how his paintings sparkled and reflected light; I loved their size and presence. I bought dozens of hand painted replicas and stretched them over frames and added bits of gold leaf to create the right effect. I grouped them in one huge ensemble in the stairwell of our old house. These paintings are now spread through almost every room in our current house. The famous mother and child was featured in my son's nursery. I have visited almost every major gallery in the world where Klimts are hung.
My second would need to be Marion. She was an AuPair of my dear friend and she delighted all those around her. She understood my love for Klimt which was in full bloom when she was living in Canada. A couple of years later, I had an invite to present a paper in Athens and I arranged for us to stop in Vienna on our way there. Marion was a gracious hostess and took us all around to the sights we would likely not have seen on our own. My favourite was the Belvedere (of course), followed by the Natural History Museum, followed by the flee market, and then--ah...the palace of the Empress Sissi.
My imagination was sparked by Sissi, which led to a full blown Sissi craze. I bought dolls and stars. I bought them for myself and gave them as gifts to others. I even had my very own set of stars made by a jeweller in India--they convert to pendant, necklace and brooch.
And now, another connection with the wonderful culture of Austria is coming my way. Our next student arrives from Austria in about one month's time. We are so excited. I want for her to love Canada as much as I love her country!