Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Analyzing Vienna

Last year, an hour train ride from Bratislava delivered us to Vienna, Austria, where we would spend the next 4 December nights and ring in 2013. We took a cab from the train station to our apartment in the Mariahilf neighborhood and shortly after arriving were met by the rest of our travel partners, there would be 6 of us in all. The apartment we had rented was perfect for us and a great location for walking around the city.

The city was completely decked out with Christmas lights, every neighborhood having a differently themed displayed hung over their streets. Some were sweet and simple, others grand! We spent the next few days exploring and were completely enchanted by all the various displays.

The city doesn't just have gorgeous light displays, the entire city is pretty spectacular.

There is a lot to see and do in the capitol. We started our stay with a morning visit to the Leopold Museum, well-know for it's collection of Gustav Klimt. And although we all joked about the "buttoned up-ness" of the Austrians, the joke was on us when we visited their special exhibit "Nude Men". The photo you see in the link was the poster that was hung all over the city to promote it. Just another spectacular sight in Vienna. And yes, I said hung.

It's an easy walk from the museum area, past the Hofburg Palace and into the well-preserved old town, you actually walk thru the old palace stables on your way. The buildings around town are all so grand, with lots of architectural details, that we didn't even mind gawking and revealing ourselves for the peeping tourists that we were.


Another morning we wandered through the Naschmarkt, filled with all sorts of produce, candy, seafood, and condiment stands. The market sits right along the Wein river and is a bustling place to shop, have a beer, have lunch, or just people watch.It's been going since the 16th century and doesn't show any intention of slowing down! Even on this cold December day, people were eating and drinking outside, toasting and dreaming of warmer days to come.


No trip to Vienna is complete without a palace tour so we decided on Schloss Belvedere. The grounds here are unbelievably beautiful. Keep in mind it was basically the dead of winter and it still was stunning, I can't even imagine how amazing it would be in the summer.


There is also a museum inside that you aren't allowed to take any photos in, but trust me when I say the collection is really wonderful. The palace is an absolute do not miss in my book, even considering the house envy we all were afflicted with.

The city was happy to show us a few stunners that we didn't know anything about but were happy to glimpse each reveal.
 


Of course we couldn't resist walking by the famed Opera House, we didn't go inside but we arrived just as the New Year's Day concert was letting out it's audience, including these ladies showing their fur coats off with pride.
We were lucky that the last days of the Christmas Market were still going on at the site of the amazing Rathaus. The market was full of festival food and craft stalls, and also a big screen were they were broadcasting the symphony. And of course there was the Christmas tree which looked to be reaching for the sky. It was almost as excess of beauty. 

My official diagnosis of Vienna is stunningly beautiful with a slight case of pomp and circumstance. Deeper analysis is needed.

More acute prettiness here.