When we arrived in Vienna, Sarah and I headed to St Stephens Cathedral which dominates the main square. There were frogs on the pulpit handrail! Close by, we went into the mostly bare house of Mozart. Here, you can see his music scores and listen to them through headphones.
We wandered to another square where the normal buildings are works of art. There were Christmas decorations and lights everywhere. We found the outer courtyards of the Hofburg winter palace- Heldenplatz and Josefplatz- where the famous Lipizzaner Spanish horses train.
The next day, we visited the gorgeous Schönbrunn Palace- the summer palace. Our tour of the inside revealed white rooms with gold decorations in Victorian Rocco style. There are portraits of emperors, uncomfortable looking beds and a green hall in the middle of palace that has a three stage ceiling fresco.
The east wing has different rooms like the Porcelain room, one with black Chinese walling and the room where Mozart did his first performance. The Walnut room with its wood panelling was my favourite.
I was attracted to the story of Empress Elizabeth of Austria, nicknamed Sisi, who was liberal thinker. She was married at 16 and had 16 children, but refused to conform and travelled around Europe without her husband.
Outside, it was lightly snowing in the bare rose garden. The wooded botanical garden had squirrels running around and there were lots of ducks in the Rundbassin. The wooden Tyrolean huts are now restaurants and the spring where palace gets it’s name wasn’t running. The view of the palace and Vienna beyond from the Gloriette above the Neptunebrunnen was awesome.
Our metro ticket lasted all day as it was Advent- one of the four Saturdays before Christmas. So we travelled to the Strauss monument in the city park which is like no other statue I had ever seen – gold surrounded by marble. We saw the Anker clock on an arch between two buildings and Beethoven’s house. Vienna sure seems to honour their famous musicians!
We went to Volksprater- an amusement park which was deserted at this time of year- and took a ride on the famous Riesenrad Ferris Wheel. It had a proper compartment to enable views of the city at night sheltered from the wintery weather.
It was snowing in Vienna when left on the train to Prague.
Related posts: Hungary, 1997, Romania, 1997, Bulgaria, 1997, Turkey, 1997, Greece, 1997, Italy, 1997, Part 2: Bella Italia, Italy, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to Florence, Spain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona, Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona, France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: Paris, Belgium, 1997, Holland, 1997, England, 1997, I first started travelling, By special request, Home is where you make it, I first started writing