Inside Austria: Hail to Wien

August 17, 2014 at 11:41 am 9 comments

vienna, austria
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.

our tour guide
 
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
St. Stephen’s Cathedral Hofburg Palace Entrance Gate
Imperial House Stable Kunsthistorisches Museum Entrance
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 Memorial
Josefsplatz In Memory of the Bomb Victims
Monument Against War and Fascism Michaelerplatz
Monument Against War and
Fascism
Michaelerplatz

 
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.

Vermeer - The Art of Painting Raphael - Madonna of the Meadow
The Art of Painting
Johan Vermeer
Madonna of the Meadow
Raphael
Rubens-the Head of Medusa
The Head of Medusa
Peter Paul Rubens
Rembrandt - Portrait of His Son Titus Albrecht Durer - Virgin and Child
Portrait of His Son Titus
Rembrandt
Virgin and Child
Albrecht Durer

 
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.

vienna, austria
 
A local artist copying Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting of The Hunters in the Snow. I watched her for a couple of minutes. She was very good.

Volksgarten Park Sign Volksgarten Fountain
Volksgarten Park Sign A Fountain in the Park
Volksgarten Park Volksgarten Fountain
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.

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weekly photo challenge: silhouette wordless wednesday: strange guard rails

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MaitoMike  |  August 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Vienna has always been on my bucket list. Thanks for reaffirming my desire to visit! Which bands were playing in the rock concert? I presume they were local?

    P.S. Getting caught up in the moment and forgetting to take pictures is a sign that you REALLY enjoy your trip. Happens to me all the time!

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  August 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      maitomike:

      it’s not only vienna but that part of the world is postcard-beautiful. i don’t know the names of the group but i assumed they were local as the songs were in german.

      as for taking pictures, sometimes it gets in the way that you end up not doing it anymore. 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. moondustwriter  |  August 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    good memories are made in Vienna

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  August 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      moondustwriter:

      i just wished i learned a little german before i went.

      Reply
  • 5. Amy  |  August 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you for the tour of Austria. We visited there a decade ago, it looks even more beautiful.

    Reply
    • 6. plaridel  |  August 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      amy:

      oh, you beat me to it. 🙂

      Reply
      • 7. Amy  |  August 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        🙂

        Reply
  • 8. Leigh W. Smith  |  August 18, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Lovely, Plaridel. I’m glad you had time to get caught up in the moment, especially a musical moment. Seems really fitting for the country that birthed Mozart. And those paintings, statuary, and gardens/park are breathtaking!

    Reply
    • 9. plaridel  |  August 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

      leigh:

      i always get caught up in the moment. that’s why i’m such a poor photographer. forget making it to national geographic. 🙂

      Reply

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