Monday, November 19, 2012

Vienna Day 4: Walking Tour, Wiener Schitzel and St Stephensdom

Today was my last day in Vienna, and I was determined to get the walking tour that sets off from an associated hostel every second morning. We set out and got to the meeting point five minutes too late, but a man at the desk told us we could probably catch them up. After a bit of confusion about how long they could be possibly taking through the market, the large group appeared and we tagged on to them.

Our guide was very good, explaining all about the buildings and history of the city. The first building we saw was the one I may have mentioned the other day with the gold dome - the Secession Building. It was built as a gallery for artists who wanted to move away from the traditional styles at the turn of the twentieth century, and was the first art gallery to have clean white walls and very little decoration, in order to show off the art.

Next was the Vienna Opera House where you can see an opera for 3€ if you stand, and then the beginning of the Vienna Palace, which is a collection of buildings that goes on and on and on. Some of it is now used as an art gallery, some as libraries, and some as state offices.

It seems strange that you can just walk among all these buildings, staring up at the windows from the small courtyards and alleyways between them, where once I guess these were heavily guarded areas of the city. We also went past the Sacher Hotel, which I'm not exactly sure how to spell, but it's why the famous Sacher Torte is named as it is, and is also where that famous picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed was taken.

We walked down some of the most expensive shopping streets, and past an incredible monument to the plague that stretches up in three levels and has far more gold than you'd think would be on a monument outside H&M. The first level has an angel driving the personification of the plague into the ground, the next has the emperor with his gold sword praying on his knees (the only public place in Europe you will see a monarch on their knees) and above him are more angels and God.

The guide left us with recommendations for lunch, so a few of us had a good meal in a wood-panelled restaurant off a little alleyway. I was a bit worried about the Wiener schnitzel because I don't much like pork, but it was actually very good and came with salad and everything. No tomato sauce was required.

Nearby is the cathedral of St Stephen's, which we took a wander around inside after our lunch. It was once the tallest building in the world, and is pretty impressive from the outside with its towering pillars, incredible stonework and gold-and-black tiled roof. It was bombed during WWII, but was restored and reopened in 1955. You can't really tell there was ever anything done to it.

It was almost time to get my bus to the airport, so we went back to our hostel to get my bag. Now I'm sitting in the airport ...

... that was me realising that the screens said my flight was already boarding, and me realising that the gate was actually a lot farther away than I thought, and deciding that, though nice and modern, this airport possibly isn't very well designed because it's never quite clear how many more barriers and travelators there are until you reach your destination.

Incidentally, the flight is not boarding. They lied. Ah well. At least I'm here now. And contemplating the fact that I am severely behind on my word count for NaNoWriMo. This is what happens when you miss a day...


1 comment:

  1. hmm....wiener schnitzel traditionally is veal though - are you sure it was pork that you enjoyed? lol


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