Tag Archives: Vienna

It’s a European Thing

A trip around Europe is a backpacker right of passage, especially if you’re an Aussie. Staying in hostels, bumping into the same people on same route and exploring the other side of the world.

Most enter through the gateway of Amsterdam, a city whose liberal attitude may appear shocking to most, intriguing to some and even normal to others.

I remember the flatness of Holland and the smallness of Belgium where you could pass through it and be in 3 countries in one day. There is the beauty of the canals of Bruges and the discovery of Italy, where every city is different.

There is the history of Rome and Pompeii, the craziness of Venice and the little gems you find along the way, like Verona. And then there are more ruins in Athens.

It’s the Asian culture of Istanbul that leaves you wanting more and the bleakness of Eastern Europe on the cusp of Russia. Closely followed by the opulence of Vienna.

Then there is the gothic wonderland of Prague, before finishing off with party time in Berlin.

My first trip to Europe still lives brightly in my memory, even though it was taken a lifetime ago. Each country had a different culture, language and even a different currency.

No matter how many times I go to Europe, there always seems to be more to see.

I have never been to Scandinavia, Liechtenstein or Poland. I missed Ghent in Belgium and countless other places in Italy.

Like Cinque Terre, Siena and the Amalfi coast. I never got to properly taste wine in Tuscany, see the fountains at Tivoli or go to the island of Sicily.

I missed out on visiting an island in Greece, I’m sure Eastern Europe is quite different now to what it was then; and the Cesky Kromlov seems to be the place to go now instead of Prague.

I know there is more to Germany than just Berlin, like Dresden, seeing Sleeping Beauty’s castle and shopping at a Christmas market.

I can’t wait for my next magical European experience even if it is not in the near future, because a continent this diverse is definitely worth waiting for.

Related posts: It’s an English Thing, It’s a Spanish Thing, It’s a water thing, It’s a French Thing, Europe, 2006, Europe, 2003, England, 2002, Berlin, 1997, Part 2: To the East

Austria, 1997

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, 1997Romania, 1997Bulgaria, 1997Turkey, 1997Greece, 1997Italy, 1997, Part 2: Bella ItaliaItaly, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to FlorenceSpain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona,  Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona,  France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: ParisBelgium, 1997Holland, 1997England, 1997I first started travellingBy special requestHome is where you make itI first started writing