Inside Austria: Hail to Wien
Somewhere in Stephansplatz, Vienna, Austria
It was only in June when I was in Vienna or Wien as the locals call it, but getting back into the normal schemes of things has made it seem like a long time ago. It was the last leg of my European holiday this year that took me to parts of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
A tourist once commented that Vienna is a place where you can spend all your money or spend close to nothing and be equally pleased. Although I won’t go that far, I’ll tell you this: I did enjoy my 2-day/2-night stay in this capital of Austria.
Vienna is a beautiful place with gorgeous buildings and plenty of ponds and gardens all around to delight the senses, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Among the cities in the world, the global consulting group, Mercer, has consistently put Vienna on top of its annual quality of living survey which includes several factors such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation, and transport.
We arrived in Vienna a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. after checking in at the hotel, our guide took us for a short walk around the neighborhood to get our bearings. Later in the evening, she accompanied us to a free rock concert performed by a local group in the park. Sorry, I was so caught up in the moment I forgot to take pictures.
Early in the morning of the following day, a local guide came and showed us around the city’s historic old town and provided interesting commentaries along the way.
|St. Stephen’s Cathedral||Hofburg Palace Entrance Gate|
|Hofburg Imperial Stable||Kunsthistorisches Museum|
It included a visit to the 12th century St. Stephen’s Cathedral that figured prominently in Austria’s history, followed by a walking tour of the Hofburg Palace, and finally a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
|Josefsplatz||In Memory of the Bomb Victims|
|Monument Against War and
The Hofburg Palace used to be the seat of the once powerful Habsburg dynasty also known as the Austro-Hungarian empire that lasted 800 years. It includes several imperial residences and structures occupying a land area the size of several city blocks.
|The Art of Painting
|Madonna of the Meadow
|The Head of Medusa
Peter Paul Rubens
|Portrait of His Son Titus
|Virgin and Child
The Kunsthistorisches Museum, which opened in 1891, contains the Habsburgs’ extensive art collections (see samples above) from the 15th century to the 18th century as well as antiquities from the early Roman, Greek, and Egyptian periods. It also has one of the largest coin collections in the world estimated to contain half a million objects.
|Volksgarten Park Sign||A Fountain in the Park|
|Rose Garden||Another Fountain in the Park|
The Kunsthistorisches Museum visit ended at past noon. I decided to join a couple for lunch at its elegant café. After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Volksgarten Park which was opened to the public in 1823. It was a great way to unwind and relax on our last day in Vienna.
We wrapped up the tour with a farewell dinner at Brezl Gwölb, one of the oldest restaurants in Vienna, established in the 13th century. While enjoying traditional Austrian cuisine, it was a moment to give a toast to and share memories with each other. It was an irony that, just as we started getting to know each other, it was time to say good-bye.