Sunday, June 02, 2013

Viking's Grand European River Cruise: Vienna, Austria

Viking River Cruise, Day 12:  Vienna, Austria (Facebook collage)
(click any collage to enlarge)

If you remember my last post, you remember that we woke up to snow once entering Austria on Day 11.  So it shouldn't surprise you that we had snow in Vienna the next day, Day 12!  Vienna is Austria's capital and largest city. was Viking Idun's first birthday!  But more on that later.
Vienna was an all-day stop...morning, afternoon and evening...with lots of ground to cover.

First off in the morning was a nice bus tour all over the major part of the city.
We sat in the back of the bus, I on one side, snapping away...

...and Astrid on the other side, seeing things I couldn't snap, like the Parliament building and the city hall.
It was a good solution for the pass-through, short of eyes.

And yes, we saw lots of snow!

We even saw the Easter Bunny, this Wednesday before Easter Sunday.

 Once off the bus near city center, we started a walking tour with our guide,
The one place that stood out was the Spanish Riding School for the Lipizzan horses.
(The middle image of the man with horse is Astrid's!)

 But it was the Cathedral of St. Stephen we were dying to see, consecrated in 1147.
We had seen it's 450-ft. steeple peeking around almost every corner as we walked towards it.

Before entering the cathedral, we admired Sylvia Kummer's Rose of Jericho sculpture nearby.
Have you ever seen a Jericho rose in real life?  It's amazing.

Then inside....

How many times have I said these cathedrals are like museums to us!

With so many tourists inside taking pictures, I would think it'd be hard to worship.
But of course, the tourists don't take pictures during the services, which makes it feel better (read less guilty).

Once we were outside again, we saw the window cleaners.
Can you imagine that job!

And right there where we were standing, watching the cleaners on the cathedral,
the horse and carraiges were lined up for the us tourists.

One in particular really caught my eye:  the Horse Whisperer!

If we had been willing, we could have taken a buggy ride out-n-about.
It was more fun, and cheaper, to watch and take pictures.

But we did go into a souvenir shop to buy a Christmas-tree ornament.
What do YOU think of when you think of Vienna?  Mozart was everywhere!

Lots of impressions of Vienna... these fur coats.
Astrid says some of these coats are as old as the women wearing them.
Would we see them in America these days, I wonder?

Do you like to people watch?

Impressions.  Impressions.  Impressions.

And again.  More impressions. 

And then it was time to go back to the boat for lunch, which we did.
And that's when the birthday part of the day got fun.

 We were all invited outside after lunch to have our pictures taken...including the staff.
(Astrid took these 4 images above.)

If you squint, you can see me holding the first 'P' of HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
(image taken from the Viking Facebook page)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day...after the birthday pics, we headed off to the nearby St. Francis of Assisi church that we could see from the ship, just a short walk away.

 What a gorgeous piece of architecture on a glorious sunny afternoon!
It was consecrated in 1913 and thus seems very young to us now.

It was just as gorgeous inside.

And very bright and open and cheery...for a Roman Catholic church.
I think the younger the church is, the lighter?

And lucky for us, we had it all to ourselves,
except for Denise and Linus, our shipmates, who joined us.

Now THIS is what I could get used to.  A good way to end my day.

I say MY day because at that point I went back to the boat as Astrid went off on her own back to a canal to take graffiti pics.  We both needed our own "me" time again.  I'm 9 years older, remember.  HA!

 And when I returned, our boat was a happy camper, too, getting another bath.

Others went back to the city that evening for a paid Mozart and Strauss concert.  Others surely went back for the Vienna night life, since our ship didn't leave port till 12:30 a.m.  We were both very happy to just stay put.
Vienna didn't "do" that much for us, if you really want to know the truth.
Was it too overwhelming...or do we just really prefer OLD city centers?!?!
Or maybe we just need to go back one day and spend much more time?


  1. I've been so waiting for this particular post! Vienna...on my list! I have friends who rent an apartment there every year that overlooks the square. There are so many of your captures here that are outstanding...too many to list! Thanks always for sharing your adventures! I bet you just needed more time! :)

    1. I bet we needed more time, too, Robin. It was just too much to see in one day. However, we did get enough of a taste to say we're glad we saw least what we did. Once you tick it off your list, we'll want to compare notes. PLEASE!

  2. Vienna was a wish come true. I did not know what to expect. Yes, maybe it was too big, maybe we like the smaller cities better, or we need more than one day.
    However, we got a nice peek of a famous city.
    The snow was great, snow and Austria go together in my mind.
    In the afternoon I took many pictures of the graffiti along the Franz-Joseph-Kai.
    The celebration of 'our' first birthday was a happy occasion. The most funy past was that it was almost freezing, but the man from Hawaii thought it was warm enough to wear shorts....
    A wonderful series again of beautiful memories.
    Thank you so much.

    1. If we have the chance to go back, yes, we will go, but for at least a week. But we wouldn't go back for the culture or museums (we can get that in Amsterdam and Rotterdam). I'm not sure what we'd go back for...maybe the other big churches we totally missed? And surely there is more architecture to die for?!

      Maybe one day I can do a post on the graffiti you saw. Now THAT would be worth a post. Don't let me forget. :) Bedankt!

  3. this city seems to be an outdoor museum. everywhere you look there's something interesting and priceless - even the fur coat :)

    1. Well, that's definitely one way of putting it, Maria! I like that. Thanks. :)

  4. The Easter bunny & snow, sounds familar! and the window washers, so many windows!
    My favorite this time ... the beautiful horses!

    1. We had actually hoped for snow somewhere along the line, Susan, so you can imagine how delighted we were...especially in Austria, where it feeled so right. :) The horses really ARE beautiful, aren't they! Thank you.

  5. The answer would be the last one - spend more time. Vienna is AWESOME!!! I spent a semester there in the 1980's, went a little bit to University and did a bit of studying, but mainly I explored the city (this semester was a gift to myself for having survived studying in Taiwan...). I loved every single day and was very sad to leave again. I felt the pulse of this place, loved its little "outer" areas up in the hills (like Nussdorf), enjoyed the opera and the theater, got immersed into the "coffee culture" - oh, it was lovely. My best semester ever!

    1. Well then! Now we know it was just a matter of not spending enough time to see the city. That means we'll have to go back one day! Living there for an entire semester must have been like heaven for you. What an experience, Carola. Thanks for sharing it.

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