Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vienna, Austria

Four days after coming back from Luxembourg we found ourselves on another flight to Munich for a connection to Vienna. I know... poor us, right? With less than seven months to go we are trying to scratch off all of the cities and countries on our original list, which we will have accomplished before we leave. The longer we are here the more places we add to the list, especially Italian areas that we didn't even know existed and probably won't get back to, at least not in the near future. We have committed ourselves to traveling every weekend that Jon isn't on call, which means that we are out of the area two weekends a month, and are using his on-call weekends to relax or check out local Naples area sights. We're not going to lie, traveling is very tiring (and money draining), but these opportunities cannot be wasted and we're so excited to be able to visit these cities located a stone's throw away from our home.

This past weekend we found ourselves in what felt like the cultural capital of the world, Vienna. Filled with opera houses, theaters, museums, and parks, it was named 2012's most livable city in the world by the Mercer Survey. Green parks take up almost half of the area and the public transportation system is convenient and reliable.

One of the things that we noticed right away about Vienna is that all of the buildings are very stately and imposing. Every building is grandiose in nature, with dramatic entrances, windows, and designs.

Parliament House

A large shopping street
VIenna Courthouse (with a Christmas market outside)
Votivkirche Church


Vienna State Opera House

We took our time looking through the city, coming across a variety of noteworthy buildings, including the Hoffburg Palace. The Hoffburg Palace started construction in the 13th century and is the former imperial residence. Now it serves as the official residence of the President of Austria.

We also walked to the numerous Christmas Markets that Vienna has at this time of year. We sipped on gluhwein and browsed the stands that sell everything from ornaments to wooden toys to local food. We also went to Vienna's famous year round market, Naschmarkt, which has a variety of different foods, spices, and cuisines to taste.

More gluhwein!

Nothing to see here. Just walking a llama through the market.

Vienna has more than 100 museums under its belt containing everything from very famous and important paintings, to museums that simply show furniture. We went to the Belvedere Museum (housed in Belvedere Castle), which holds paintings and art from Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and a few from Claude Monet. We mainly went here because we wanted to see Klimt's famous painting, "The Kiss".

The Belvedere Museum

No pictures were allowed in the museum. This was taken from ABC Gallery

Music is one of Vienna's legacies so we thought it would be the best place to see our first opera. The famous Vienna State Opera House was sold out of tickets when we first started looking two months ago, so we opted for the showing of the Italian opera Tosca at the Volksopera theater on Friday night. I'll start by saying that we didn't hate it, but we didn't love it either. We had read up on the opera before we left so we knew the storyline, but we were somewhat disappointed that it was sung in German and not in its native Italian. We know, we're in Austria and we shouldn't have expected anything but German, but not being able to understand the words, especially during the slower parts of the opera left us a little bored. The singing, the acting, and the lavish costumes were amazing, as well as the story of Tosca, and we did enjoy some of it... just not all of it. We're glad that we tried it though... how do you know something isn't really for you unless you try it out?

Volksoper theater

Before the show
A final bow
Overall we had a nice time in Vienna and enjoyed the different atmosphere that it provided us. We took pleasure in passing the large buildings, listening to the classical music being played on the streets, and browsing through the different Christmas markets. This is definitely a different kind of city!

Next stop... Budapest! Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I would definitely like Vienna! You're absolutely right about the buildings, they are all simply gorgeous and stunning! (I actually pictured them to look this way). Every time I think that I have seen the most beautiful and extravagant church in Europe, there's always one more that's just as beautiful or more exquisite than the last one! There's one pic that you don't get to see every day, and that's the one of the woman walking the llama through the market! Very cool! Another thing I would love to see would be the Belvedere Musuem. If there's an art museum out there, anywhere, I'm there! Now we come to the Opera House! I can definitely see why you guys couldn't rave about it! First of all, I would think that one has to really love Opera to want to go to an Opera House. And then with it being sung in German instead of Italian, would especially make it much harder to enjoy it since you didn't know the German language. Honestly, I wouldn't go to see an Opera even if it was sung in English! It's just not my "cup of tea"! But at least you and Jon had the opportunity to try it and experience it! (I always love seeing the pics of you and Jon!) Sounds like it was a great trip! Looking forward to reading your next blog on Budapest!!