After Prague, we took the five hour train ride to the grand capital of Austria, Vienna, or Wien as its called in German. Vienna was my favorite of all the cities we visited in our two week stint around Europe. It was the most over-the-top place i'd ever seen, with just one extravagant old building after the next. There was tons of stuff to see and do, far too much than we had time for in the mere two days we were there. Vienna is definitely a city I would like to return to.
One final note, I just got a Macbook Pro and so I've been able to have some fun editing my pictures. So this thread will be slightly different from my others!
1 We'll start off at a place not very well known by tourists - a very large "market" just outside of downtown - where everything and anything is sold. From scented candles to fudge and fast food to elegant sit down restaurants, this place had it all. It was pretty awesome! Also, as this was the very first place we visited, it also gives you a good idea of the elegance that awaits just a short 5 minute walk to the other side of the ring road surrounding downtown...
3 It was a busy place!
5 On the "other" side of the ring road, in downtown
6 In this city known around the world for its classical music, a nice opera house is a necessity. We'll see more of it later...
8 I don't know what this was, but it had a cool rooftop restaurant or something. (Hence that large grey thing jutting to from the top)
11 Just one of many quaint little side streets running through downtown.
12 The Austrian National Library in the middle...
13 The Prunksaal
, or "Splendid Hall" of the library. Photos don't do this place justice. It was incredible.
14 These murals are awesome
16 And to think, it only took TWO years to complete!
19 Walking through the massive government complex. (This is only a small part)
24 On our way to the Rathaus (city hall).
26 This is the main national library, where people can actually go to read and check out books. The Prunksaal is basically just for show nowadays.
30 I'm pretty sure this is the Austrian Parliament, with the spire of the Rathaus behind it.
31 Next to the Parliament building:
33 Inside the Volksgarten
, or People's Garden, just behind where I was standing to take that last picture:
35 Getting closer!
37 The only two buildings I saw in the city that were built in this style, and they are right next to each other
38 That is a big museum in the background
40 If I were a millionaire, I would for sure live in one of these...
41 ...or these
42 Here we are, the Rathaus!
43 They were setting up for a big film fest set to start the next day. For any big film fest, you need a big tv:
45 This city was built to impress
47 Fancy condos / apartments around the Rathaus
49 Another theater, facing the Rathaus
52 Um, I actually don't know what this building is.
53 A large upscale shopping street, right next to...
54 ...the Opera House (again)! We took a 40 minute tour of the building the next day. We were impressed...
56 Little did I know, but Vienna was actually bombed during the war. One would never know from walking around the civic center, but the city was actually (according to Wikipedia) bombed a total of 52 times during the war resulting in 20% of the inner city being destroyed. The Opera House was partially destroyed and was later rebuilt in a simpler style. This is the original grand staircase, which was fortunately spared by the bombs:
57 This is one of several intermission rooms. This one was not
59 ...while this one was, apparently. It was rebuilt in a modern style in the '50s. It is still pretty nice though, I think.
60 This was the emperor's own *private* intermission room. Today it can be rented out for some really high price.
62 The seating area / stage was destroyed and was rebuilt in a simpler style.
63 We left the opera house and went to our hotel for a little bit, which was outside of downtown on the other side of the ring road. An area less glamorous but still very nice:
64 This was the street our hotel was on. This is what the average street looked like in the area:
65 The view from our room:
66 After a short pitstop at the hotel, we head back downtown...
67 We go out of our way i little to see the Church of St Charles...
68 ... thar 'tis:
69 It was completed in 1737
70 The hectic streets of downtown Vienna on a warm summer Saturday afternoon:
71 some magicians
72 St. Stephen's Cathedral, the most visible landmark downtown. Unfortunately, we couldn't go inside. It was also impossible to get a picture of the whole thing especially with all the people around.
73 That's part of the church on the left:
74 An interesting tidbit of history, from [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stephen's_Cathedral,_Vienna"]Wikipedia[/URL (because i'm too lazy to sum it up myself)]: During World War II, St. Stephen's Cathedral was saved from intentional destruction at the hands of retreating German forces when Captain Gerhard Klinkicht disregarded orders from the city commandant, Sepp Dietrich, to "fire a hundred shells and leave it in just debris and ashes." On 12 April 1945, however, fires from nearby shops—started by civilian plunderers as Russian troops entered the city—were carried to the cathedral by wind, severely damaging the roof and causing it to collapse. Fortunately, protective brick shells built around the pulpit, Frederick III's tomb, and other treasures, minimized damage to the most valuable artworks. The beautifully carved 1487 Rollinger choir stalls, however, could not be saved. Rebuilding began immediately, with a limited reopening on 12 December 1948 and a full reopening on 23 April 1952.
75 Around the church:
76 Just walking around
78 enjoying the solitude away from the masses
81 An exceptional name for a coffee shop:
82 Area around the Stadtpark
85 I don't know what this building is
91 Back into the masses:
94 St. Peter's Church
100 Going back to our hotel again, a small art museum:
102 More views from our room:
104 To finish off, we'll take a 15 minute ride on the U-Bahn to Schoenbrunn, the beautiful imperial palace / gardens:
105 The palace is about a 5 minute walk from the U-Bahn station. This is the backside of it:
108 On our way up the hill...
109 ...we see this fountain with, what is that in the corner? A duck ramp! I thought that was cute.
111 About halfway up the hill:
113 Here we are!
117 Back in the palace gardens, GIANT hedges:
121 That's Vienna.
Next up - Salzburg!
Hamburg, Part 1
Hamburg, Part 2