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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 16, April 6, Vienna, Austria

St. Francis of Assisi Church
The hills are alive with the sound of ......... buses as they took us for our first look at this grand city!  The Ingvi arrived there about 6 AM.  We were up and at it fairly early as the buses left at 9 and we would not return till about 12:30 PM.  There was mostly riding on this tour so photo opportunities usually had window reflections in them.  After the shooting frenzy in Melk, Krems and the river scenes of yesterday I am a little shot out you might say.  Also, I had intensified my search for letters within structures.  'R and B are not easily found.

We travel on Lassallestra├če from the dock area passing the St. Francis of Assisi church.  It was erected in 1913 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.   Along the way we catch sight of the Wiener Riesenrad.  Several folks from the tour later made their way to the area and rode this Giant Ferris wheel.  Originally built in 1897 it was rebuilt following heavy damage in WWII.

Negotiating the huge tour bus through numerous unexpected detours we travel streets filled with beautiful architecture. The goal is to travel Vienna's Ringstrasse.  This circular avenue was built along the site of the old city wall.  Along this boulevard we saw palaces, Parliament and so many stunningly appointed buildings.

As with other cities there is the modern touch added in now and then in the older parts.  The new part of Vienna lies across the Danube.  Street side open flower markets are a delight to see.

Stadt Park - Johann Strauss Statue
Votivkirche, Votive Church
Monument to Mozart, Burggarten

Tile design on cathedral roof.
Since Vienna is so closely associated with music, there are tributes to Strauss and Mozart.  There are tributes to so many dukes, kings, generals, etc. frankly I can not even begin to remember a fraction of them.  It was like information overload.
We were sitting in the rear of the bus so I was taking photos out of the back window. The angles were such that identification of many of the buildings is impossible.  One is Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Hapsburgs (Habsburg).  Hofburg is home to the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizanner horses. Had hoped to see the horses but they were not practicing the time we had available the next day.
Have no clue.....

Another building is the State Opera.  After several hours researching on the internet and books purchased in Vienna, I declare uncle!  Just enjoy the beauty of the detail on the buildings and call it good!  I have identified where possible from my memory.
Old city train station on Karlsplaz
Hofburg palace
Once we made the loop on the Ringstrasse the bus tour came to an end.  We began the walking part of the tour.  As with other cities on the tour, the WWII treatment of the Jewish communities is addressed.  We were led through the Jewish Ghetto.  On the Kristallnacht (Crystal Night the pogrom of Jewish communities in Germany and Austria) all the synagogues in Vienna were destroyed.  Except one.  It was behind a courtyard entry.  The Nazis did not recognize it as a synagogue.  Those photos I recognize.  Back in 1670 Leopold I had destroyed two synagogues and built Leopold Church on their ruins....  Antisemitism not just a Nazi thing.
Seitenstetten Gaffe street
signs were on the buildings!
Entrance to only synagogue to survive
Crystal Night in Vienne

backside of Anchor clock
From this heart wrenching area we wound through the narrow, cobblestone streets to the Anchor Clock.  It was past the top of the hour when we arrived at the clock location so we missed the change of statues.  Still, quite the clock for an insurance company hall way.  Wonder how many little widows did not get the pay our to build this puppy!
Anchor Life entrance
Josef or wedding fountain

The area is named Hoher Market.  Another memorial statue.  Can you see the netting over the fountain? This is how to handle a bird poo problem.  We saw it throughout the trip, netting.

The guide now has us heading out again toward the St. Stephen Church, a center piece of the old city.

St. Stephen Church
Inside St. Stephen

Poo bags are strapped below the horses
Ornate for sure but not like Melk Abbey which was a former palace.  We putz around the plaza after checking out the inside of the church.  Looking for mini beer steins for our son.  Gotta conserve room in that last suitcase.  Not being taken by anything we decide it is time for some Viennese coffee and strudel.

We position ourselves in the street side chairs and enjoy people and horse watching.  There is a series of for hire carriages directly across from the cafe.  It is soon time to meet the troop to head back to the bus.  Oops, we heard the wrong time and missed the crew but a second group is heading back so at Deanna's encouragement we join them.  I saw a truck with a fun picture of sausages, not a USA sight.  Once more by the ferris wheel and we are back at the boat.

each of those gondolas will hold 12 people for a dinner
Back on board we have lunch then time for a little exploring on our own.  Hubby wants to ride the underground over to find the coffee shop where Freud would join friends for conversations and coffee.

With a marked up map, fresh doses of advil and plenty of euros off we go on yet another adventure.  We manage to get tickets with our euros cause the credit card is rejected. (no pin # >:( )  We work our way to the trains and are immediately without a clue. Finally I approach a nice young couple and, yes, they can speak English.  The young man shows us the basics of the words that are not a language we can read.  And tell us to get off at the 4th stop. And we are off for a cup of coffee.  Counting stops and negotiating escalators, stairs and quick doors to make the connection at a different platform.  And pushing buttons as we learned that lesson in Amsterdam.

We exit the underground at the exact location our sweet Tamara had recommended.  And head in the direction I think we should go which is opposite from Hubby's pick. Two blocks later we stop a lady and her daughter.  Again, multilingual family and we are sent in the proper direction.  Hubby was right so we hike the opposite direction and there it is.  Only Hubby does not believe me cause, well, my recent track record on direction.  He asks the waiter who is dressed in a tux and it is confirmed this is the place. BTW the ladies had said the place was expensive.  Tux = expensive?  That's a story for another blog.

We choose to sit outside and do more people watching.  Espresso for Hubs and cafe au lait for moi.  A lovely pastry to share and table side flowers complete the scene.  We savor the coffee, pastry and atmosphere.  Eventually we step inside for a loo break and quick look around.  The basement area has the oldest small stage in Vienna.  Interesting how everyone seems to want to be the oldest of something or the biggest of something.

Hubs is ready to head back.  I suggest we should walk around and see if we could find those mini steins.  We can take in a few more sights of this University area.  I even convinced Hubs to take a different route back on the underground to reach the station near the boat.

More amazing architecture but no steins.  Back to the underground, elevators instead of stairs and a little shopping in the underground shops.  Still no steins but flowers to replace our faded tulips were right there calling my name.  We made all the transfers just fine and exited exactly where we wanted.  Stopped by a drug store along the way to get a few supplies like nail polish. This money thing is getting a little easier.  The check out line felt like a Walgreen's.  Now, back to the boat.

We had almost 10,000 steps when we walked onto the boat.  I was so ready for down time.  And that heated floor in the bathroom was wonderful on my tired feet.  Late dinner in the Aquivit and off to bed.  Aaahhhhh, but that ice sure felt good on one tired knee! Night now and tomorrow we visit more of the Viennese beauty.

letter hunting

How many letters can you make out of the objects in this photo?

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