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.
|A large shopping street|
|VIenna Courthouse (with a Christmas market outside)|
|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.
|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?
|Before the show|
|A final bow|
Next stop... Budapest! Stay tuned!