The next stop on our tour was Vienna. We had a morning tour of the city, then had the afternoon on our own.

We wandered around the Hofburg palace for a while, which was the Habsburg’s winter residence.

Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace

We got to go past the stables of the famous Lipizzaner horses, but as they were out for a performance, all we saw was the rear end of a single horse in the stables. So instead of a Lipizzan stallion, I’ll show you this lion statue, which guards the palace:

Lion Statue at the Hofburg Palace

Lion Statue at the Hofburg Palace

I love statues, and of course, Europe is filled with them. Statues, fountains, gargoyles and building adornments. All such magnificent works of art. One in particular caught my eye – the fountain behind the Vienna Opera building:

Fountain behind the Vienna Opera House

Fountain behind the Vienna Opera House

I couldn’t help but think of Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball. Perhaps this was her inspiration?

The historic center of Vienna is street after street lined with magnificent palaces. It’s a bit overwhelming.

Street in Vienna

Street in Vienna

And of course, there are the churches and the cathedral. It’s a common tourist joke to refer to “ABC”… Another Bloody Church. It’s true that you do tend to suffer from cathedral overload after seeing a few. As magnificent as each one is, after a while, they tend to be just more of the same. But still, I always feel a sense of awe when I walk into one. Just the sheer size alone is amazing, especially when you consider how long ago they were built.

This is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with an interesting multi-colored tile roof (which you can’t really see well in this photo):

St. Stephan's Cathedral

St. Stephan’s Cathedral

And a photo of the interior. If you’ll notice at the very bottom of the photo, you might see the tops of some people’s heads. That might possibly give you an idea of just how huge the building is:

Interior of St. Stephan's Cathedral

Interior of St. Stephan’s Cathedral

But as it turns out, we stumbled upon a church that we liked even better. The Jesuit Church. It’s fairly plain on the outside, and the interior is adorned mostly with paint and frescoes rather than expensive woodwork or statues, but it was lovely. It had some interesting spiral columns (you can see one in this photo about 1/3 across from the right edge), and painted ceiling that looks like a dome, but is actually flat.

Interior of Jesuit Church

Interior of Jesuit Church

But of course, we didn’t spend all our time in churches. We made sure to stop at a coffee house for coffee and pastries (they even had a gluten free cake), and a bit of lunch later in the afternoon.

Pastries at Cafe Mozart

Pastries at Cafe Mozart

And in the evening, we had the pleasure of attending a concert by the Vienna Residence Orchestra at the Palais Auersperg, which was built in 1710. Mozart and Haydn had actually performed in that very room! It was a chamber orchestra along with some opera singers and ballet dancers. The solo violinist, Alan Vizvary, was playing a 1716 Stradivarius violin (“Milstein”). The soprano, Alicia O’Neill was from the U.S.  It was a fun concert – the acoustics were excellent. The first half was Mozart, and the second half was Strauss. At intermission we had a glass of sparkling wine. The concert was kind of on the short side (which was good since we were tired), but it was just long enough to keep our interest. This was the first performance where they were using the Stradivarius, and the performance was being filmed for some sort of show.

Larry at the Palais Auersperg

Larry at the Palais Auersperg

We barely scratched the surface of Vienna – it would have been nice to have had the chance to see some of the museums and tour the Opera House. We didn’t go see the Schönbrunn Palace (the Habsburg summer residence), which was an optional tour, because it would have taken up the whole afternoon and we wanted to spend some time on our own. But I heard it was spectacular.

If you haven’t had enough of Vienna, here are more photos.

All posts for this vacation can be found with this tag: Europe2013

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7 Responses to Vienna

  1. margene says:

    I’m glad I know nothing about Miley to ruin my vision of the fountain. The churches are spectacular. I had no idea they were that fascinating and ornate.

  2. Carole says:

    Vienna sounds awesome.

  3. Marilyn says:

    The Jesuit ceiling is flat?!? Wow. All of the ornateness is beautiful but I can see where it could be overwhelming after a few churches!

  4. Kym says:

    Vienna is one of my dream destinations! Someday . . .

  5. pacalaga says:

    Fabulous. Time to plan your return, I guess. 😊

  6. kiwiyarns says:

    It makes me wonder how people got the money to build those absolutely astounding structures and art. And what did the wealth that we see left behind in the building signify about their quality of life and standards of living? Gosh, it makes me want to run to the history books!! Thanks for the lovely post and incredible pictures.

  7. Ron says:

    Wonderful ! The Palais where Mozart played !

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