A selection of photos from our recent trip to Vienna.
Mostly when we go away it is warmer in the destination than it is back home but not this weekend. While the weather here has been warm (low 20’s) and dry (at least during the day) it has also been windy which has ensured that it has felt pleasant without being overbearing. That doesn’t seem to be the case back home where temperatures have been nudging 30 so it will be interesting getting off the plane late this afternoon.
The last two days we have set out with a particular goal in mind or have followed a walking tour from the GPSMyCity app. Today we wandered just soaking up the sights. What this did show is that plenty of places were closer to each other than we had imagined. You look up and there is the fountain that we passed on the way to the Belvedere which seemed a long way out but in fact was near to a park that I’d thought was in the centre. Maybe it’s just my ability to read a map that’s at fault!
So we leave Vienna having enjoyed our weekend. It is an attractive city but it is still missing that one landmark that everyone would identify with it. Having spent the weekend here its hard to think what that might be – think they’ll just have to build something.
We started our second day in Vienna at the Belvedere, a large area of formal gardens, a botanic garden and two former palaces that now house art collections. There is certainly enough to do there to fill several hours.
I’m fairly particular about the sort of art I like, most leaves me cold, but I was keen to go into the Upper museum to see the Klimt collection there. This includes the most famous piece of his work – the Kiss. Turns out that there weren’t as many pieces there as I expected but what they had was excellent. He certainly was an accomplished painter and his portraits we so good that they were photo realistic.
The Kiss is a fascinating piece and certainly gathered the biggest crowds who stood a couple of metres away so as to get the best picture of the picture. This left me with a bit of a dilemma as I wanted to go up close and see the paint work itself. In the end I got fed up of waiting and just went up so some Chinese tourist has me in their shot too.
The room immediately next to the one housing the Kiss was empty and contained a facsimile where you could take a selfie, which we did!
— Neil Thompson (@NeilThompson) June 17, 2017
Lunch was the typically Germanic fare of sausage, mustard and horseradish. It was pretty good and the horseradish had a bit of a kick to it.
After lunch we went into the botanic gardens which were a bit of a relief after the formal space between the two museums. After which we walked back into town. We had intended to get the tram back but it proved to be impossible to find anywhere to sell us a ticket. Turns out that you need to buy a ticket at the underground station. Surely if you’re at the underground buying a ticket you’d just carry on down and get that? Anyway not getting the tram ensured that we easily made our 10,000 steps today.
We also got to see more of these really rather cute pedestrian crossing lights.
So when I go away for a city break I can usually build an itinerary in my head. Paris? So the Eiffel Tower, definitely, Arc du Triomphe, probably and possibly the Louvre. Barcelona then the Sagrada Famila or for sporting fans the Nou Camp. And I would have no difficulty thinking of things to do around London. When I think of Austria, however, what immediately comes to mind are apple strudel, Niki Lauda and raindrops on kittens (sic) and none of those are likely to figure in a weekend away in Vienna. so, basically, we landed at Vienna airport last night with a blank canvas.
Our introduction to the citizens of Austria was via the taxi driver that took us from the airport to the hotel. He spent the whole journey muttering to himself as I had the temerity to suggest that I might pay for the trip on a card. As it was we weren’t with him very long as he was clearly as keen to get the journey over as we were and he went like a rocket to get us to our destination. He thawed slightly when I produced cash and a tip that I’m not convinced he really had earned.
The hotel room provided the next surprise when, along with all the usual items left in the room were two sets of ear plugs. This was accompanied by a short note apologising for the building work going on opposite hence the offer of ear plugs. Fortunately there wasn’t any work being carried out over night but I was alarmed!
Following breakfast we made our way, via the efficient underground, to the Schloss Schonbrunn with its palace and gardens. We didn’t go into the house, we never tend to, and instead walked around the very extensive (and free) gardens. These were laid out in a very formal style with high hedges alongside gravel paths. We did pay to go into the palm and dessert glasshouses which were an interesting interlude from the garden. The dessert glasshouse contained the most vicious tortoises I have ever seen – they were really going for each other with teeth bared.
We spent a couple of hours walking around the gardens before coming back to the house. It’s a vast but soulless looking place which wouldn’t have looked out of place on a film lot. The place and grounds are the number one attraction in most guide books but I couldn’t get that excited by them.
Back in the city itself we followed a prepared walk around some of the highlights and there the buildings were architecturally more interesting. We ended up outside the Rathaus a beautiful building but why is it whenever we travel the best buildings are either shrouded in scaffolding or have something camped in front of them spoiling the view?
Tomorrow I might get a kiss…