60 Day Europe Bash – Vienna

My self on the grounds of the Belvedere Palace, home to Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss," in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016

I’m in the city of Mozart, Gustav Klimp, chocolate and a history so deep, rich and plentiful there’s only one like it and that’s itself, Vienna, Austria. Took the less than 3-hour train ride in this morning from Budapest, Hungary, and then a cab to my hotel and the smallest room ever to fit a bed, a bathroom, an armoire, a small table, small television monitor and a chair. If I’ve ever had issues with claustrophobia, then this is the kind of place that would bring it out. But the location of the hotel could not be more central and perfect. And, the hotel itself could not be more old, quaint and charming.

Europe has the squares, ancient history and a living wage for the wait staff but what it doesn’t have is customer service. I guess with all the above, it doesn’t need it. But if I’ve ordered a glass of wine and that glass is now empty, how about asking if I’d like another one. Just sayin’. Of course I have no problem with asking for another glass of wine, but when I eat out, I like to be waited on. I like to be asked if there’s something else I might want or need. Okay, it’s my own pet peeve and I need to set it aside because I’m not at home, I’m in Europe.

At any rate, I digress. Vienna. I took an afternoon city tour with a tour of the Schonbrunn Palace. Either I’m jaded or I’ve had enough of crowds. Could be a lot of both, but the tour, which I had mistaken for a walking tour was actually a ride on a big bus full of people and let us point out the good stuff for you. Exactly the kind of thing I am not fond of. But I’m in Vienna. And, visiting the palace in Vienna is very much like visiting Versailles in France, packed with people, but oh so decadent and over the top. More on Vienna tomorrow.

My 60-Day Europe Bash, April 24 to June 22, 2016, travel blog is in six parts: Berlin, Heart of Europe, Adriatic, Balkans, Vienna and Munich. This is the Vienna, Austria, trip from June 12 to June 16, 2016. Follow along through the photos and captions. 

My old and gorgeous hotel in the heart of Vienna, Austria, dates back to 1896. I may have a small room but I’m in a very walkable area with so many of Vienna’s historical highlights within a few minutes walking distance. Plus, I’m surrounded by shops and restaurants in a pedestrian friendly area. I have to thank the Rick Steves guide book on “Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol,” for recommending the hotel. June 12, 2016
My hotel room in Vienna, Austria. It’s got the smallest floor space ever. I’ve had to put my suitcase on the only chair in the room because although there’s a table stand…that radiator looking thing in the photo…I’d probably break both of legs trying to get to the bathroom if it were up and fully extended. June 12, 2016
I did a tour today of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. No photographs are allowed of the interior…unfortunately. You’re told that any electrical device will set off an alarm. But at least once the tour is done the only exit available is through the gift shop so you could buy anything palace related that peeked your fancy…which I did not. What can I say, I’m in silent protest and refuse to purchase things I’ll have to carry around until the end of my trip. June 12, 2016
A close up view of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. June 12, 2016
An evening view of the main street shopping/pedestrian street just a minute’s walk from my hotel in Vienna. June 12, 2016

On my own schedule today and I liked it. Since there was no where I needed to be, I slept in and set a goal of accomplishing two things: enjoy the Vienna State Opera house and the St. Stephens Cathedral, two historical landmarks in Vienna, Austria. There’s so much in Vienna to gawk at and take in that my plan to pace myself made this an incredibly relaxed and enjoyable day. I was also able to take in the Imperial Crypt, a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery, where emperors and empresses are laid to rest in incredibly ornate sarcophagi.

The stately St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, marks the heart and center of the city. The cathedral has side chapels, several, a number of saints on pillars and other architectural gems throughout. June 13, 2016
The high altar of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, shows the “Stoning of St. Stephen” painting. The painting is dated 1647. June 13, 2016
A close up of the high altar of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, shows the “Stoning of St. Stephen” painting. The painting is dated 1647. June 13, 2016
The funerary monument of Emperor Frederick III, who. Died in 1493 in the choir room of St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The pulpit balustrade of this central pillar is graced by busts of four Latin church fathers who personify different temperaments inside the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The pulpit balustrade’s “window gawker” of the central pillar is said to be a selfie of the sculptor inside the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The Wiener Neustadter Altar of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. The year 1447 is inscribed on the polyptych. June 13, 2016
The Altar of Our Lady at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In Vienna, Austria. The painting, circa 1470, show the Virgin standing on the crescent moon with the divine infant on her arm. At her feet kneels the family of the unknown donor, immersed in eternal workshop. June 13, 2016
South tower of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral with its stunning roof mosaics in Vienna and the Capistran Chancel  statue/pulpit. The the pulpit, now outdoors, of St. John Capistrano and Hungarian general John Hunyadi preached a crusade in 1456 to repel Muslim invasions of Christian Europe. June 13, 2016
A close up of the Capistrano Chancel, a pulpit, now outdoors, of St. John Capistrano and Hungarian general John Hunyadi preached a crusade in 1456 to repel Muslim invasions of Christian Europe. June 13, 2016
The west facade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The Imperial Crypt also called the Capuchin Crypt, under renovation, is a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632, and located on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace. Since 1633, the Imperial Crypt has been the principal place of entombment for members of the House of Habsburg. The bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. June 13, 2016
An ornate sarcophagi inside the Imperial Crypt also called the Capuchin Crypt, a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
Another ornate sarcophagi inside the Imperial Crypt also called the Capuchin Crypt, a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The Vienna State Opera has a history that dates back to the mid-19th century. Work began on the opera house in 1861 but it was not completed until 1869. June 13, 2016
The marble staircase to the second floor of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The entrance staircase of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The auditorium with the stage lights on display at the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The Tea Salon, formerly the Emperor’s Salon, of the Vienna State Opera. The former Imperial box had been previously reserved for Vienna’s royalty and their guests. The ceiling and walls are decorated with 22 carat gold leaf. June 13, 2016
The marble stairway from the second floor of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The Vienna State Opera’s fountain in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016
The star of Alban Berg and three others are on the ground in front of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna. April 13, 2016
A live broadcast of tonight’s opera outside of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna, Austria. June 13, 2016

The main thing I wanted to see today was Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” housed at the and a ride a top the at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. And, since the weather was cool and unpredictable, I took the hop-on, hop-off sight seeing tour bus to get my fix of Vienna.

Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna, Austria. Part of the palace forms the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. The palace started small with the oldest parts dating back to the 13th century. It has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the principal imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was their summer residence. June 14, 2016
The Hofburg in Vienna, Austria, was the Imperial Palace for the Habsburgs for several centuries, although the current building that is bearing the name Hofburg was largely built in the 19th century and developed piece by piece with parts dating back to the 13th century. June 14, 2016
A bronze monument of Emperor Franz I in the Amalienburg wing of the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna. June 14, 2016
The Michaeler Cupola leads through to the St. Michael Wing of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016
The St. Michael Wing of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, with curving façade and its 50 meter high dome dominates the façade of the palace which faces the centre of the city. June 14, 2016
A closer view of the St. Michael Wing of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, with curving façade and its 50 meter high dome dominates the façade of the palace which faces the centre of the city. June 14, 2016
The St. Michael’s Square or Archangel Michael Square in Vienna.In the center of the square, there is the archaeological site of ancient Roman ruins. This is the remains of the ramparts of the ancient settlement. June 14, 2016
Maria-Theresien-Platz is a large public square in Vienna, Austria, that joins the Ringstrase with the Museumsquartier, a museum of modern arts located in the former Imperial Stables. Facing each other from the sides of the square are two near identical buildings, the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). At the center of the square is a large statue depicting Empress Maria Theresa, namesake of the square. June 14, 2016
The Parliament Building in the Greek-Roman style with the Pallas Athene statue in the front in Vienna. June 13, 2016

 

 

The beautiful architecture in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016
The Belvedere, which houses the original Gustav Klimt “The Kiss” painting, was built during a period of extensive construction in Vienna, Austria, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling Habsburg dynasty. June 14, 2016
Another view of the Belvedere, where the original Gustav Klimt “The Kiss” painting, is housed in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016
Different sphinx sculptures, like this one, are scattered throughout the gardens of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016
My self on the grounds of the Belvedere Palace, home to Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” in Vienna, Austria. June 14, 2016
“The Kiss” by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. Photos of the original painting are not allowed even though there are stores that sell vases, plates, notebooks, notecards, magnets, etc. with this painting. I found this version on the Internet…hope copyright infringement doesn’t apply. But there was a side room with a large poster of the painting available for those who wanted to do selfies however the coloring of the poster looked nothing like the original. Honestly, no copy I’ve seen, including this one, can duplicate the intensity of the original. The yellows are so bright, they sparkle. The spirals have depth. The colored circles look like Venetian glass and the kiss itself is warm, loving and eternal. June 14, 2016

I had scheduled a day tour, on my last day in Vienna, which included a boat ride along the Danube Valley to see the religious relics of the Benedictine Abbey in Austria.

There’s been a leisureliness to this side of my trip that I’ve enjoyed. And, as I get closer to the end of my 60-day trek, I’m so thrilled that I’ve been able to take in this wonderfully cultured city.

Have I seen and done all that I wanted to see and do here in Vienna? Well, I’ve definitely hit the highlights…at least for me. There may be horse drawn carriages that roam the streets but that genteel, aristocratic image of old is mainly present in the historical palaces, museums and paintings because the big, beautiful city of Vienna itself is primed for the tourist trade. And, why not? When you’ve got it and Vienna does, then why not flaunt it and encourage the world to see it. It was nice to spend the earlier part of my day gliding along the Danube and being able to spend the late, warmer part of my afternoon walking around a royal garden where I met the statue of Mozart, awed over more beautiful architecture than I could ever imagine, seen the rainbow flag flying proudly and take in the stunning architecture of this noble city.

Lush vineyards shape the landscape of the small village of Spitz along the banks of the Danube just outside of Vienna in Austria. June 15, 2016
Views along the Danube Valley on a boat ride to the Benedictine Abbey in Austria. June 15, 2016
Views along the Danube Valley on a boat ride to the Benedictine Abbey in Austria. June 15, 2016
The Melk Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the town of Melk, Austria, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river. Melk has been a spiritual and cultural center of the country for more than 1000 years, first as a castle, then from 1089 as a monastery. June 15, 2016
This more than 500-year-old Gothic winged altar piece was created by Jörg Breu for the Melk Abbey in Austria, and can be seen in the museum. June 15, 2016
Leaving the museum portion of the Melk Abbey, we entered the library, with countless medieval manuscripts, which led to the church. June 15, 2016
Inside the Melk Abbey church in Austria. June 15, 2016
A beautiful fresco on the ceiling of the Melk Abbey church of St. Benedict’s triumphal ascent to Heaven. June 15, 2016
A close up of the high altar in the Melk Abbey church in Austria. June 15, 2016
A view of the Danube river from the Benedictine Abbey in Austria. June 15, 2016
It turned out to be a gorgeous and I wanted to find and see this statue. It is the monument of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is inside the Burggarten…the Imperial Palace Gardens…in Vienna, Austria. Born 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. June 15, 2016
This week, in celebration of Gay Pride, Vienna, Austria, displayed the rainbow flag on various buildings including this one at the Vienna State Opera. June 15, 2016
Street signal lights in Vienna, Austria, showing two women holding hands, in celebration of Gay Pride. June 15, 2016
Street signal lights in Vienna, Austria, showing two men holding hands with a heart between them, in celebration of Gay Pride. June 15, 2016
Even the trams in Vienna, Austria, flew the rainbow flag in celebration of Gay Pride. June 15, 2016

I began my 60-day trip in Berlin, Germany, and I will close my trip, but not for another week, in Munich,Germany…which is where I’m heading tomorrow.