Five Days in Vienna ~

As the train rumbled in to Vienna I stared out the window to catch my first glimpse of what I thought Vienna should look like.  What I saw did not fit the image in my mind’s eye; skyscrapers!  Wait, there are skyscrapers in Vienna?  I suppose in my wild imagination I thought everyone should have been waltzing along the River Danube.

A Blank Slate

Clearly, I had no idea what to expect of Vienna but who cares?  It’s totally okay to find yourself in a new destination with no set expectations.  It makes the adventure all the more interesting.  Truthfully, before we left home, we were so occupied with selling our house, putting our life in storage and applying for our Portuguese visas, I had precious little time to do any significant research aside from just mapping out our eight week Eurail journey.  Turns out, I’m glad we came uninformed, as it were, because we approached the city with a blank slate and we gleaned a few Ah-ha! moments.

Just Start Walking

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that we are walkers.  Our favorite way to get acquainted with a city is to just walk out the door of our accommodations and start walking.  We usually have a vague idea of where we’re headed as we start out, and then we just see where it leads us.  It’s an excellent way to get up close and personal with the city and it makes for great exercise.  When you stop for a pastry or ice cream you can totally justify the caloric yumminess because you walked there.

Walking our way around Vienna brought us to our first Ah-ha! moment when we came across the statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Oh, right!  He was Austrian.

Vienna

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I’ve been fascinated with the life of Marie Antoinette for years.  Seemingly, her life was never really hers to live and personally, I think she was set up to fail, but that’s another story.  The story here in Vienna is her mother, the Archduchess of Austria, Maria Theresa.  Maria Theresa reigned from 1740 – 1780; the only female Hapsburg to rule.  The Archduchess has quite the story, including the arranged marriages of her daughters to benefit the state.  Discovering her impressive memorial was another Ah-ha! moment for us.

Vienna

The Archduchess of Austria Maria Theresa

Vienna Dazzles

Vienna is vibrant and somewhat dazzling.  As we walked miles around the city we found ourselves in different neighborhoods with different vibes. I had no idea that Vienna showcases most of the top designers and labels in the world.  The downtown core hosts names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany, Rolex and the list goes on.  If you’re a serious shopper it’s really quite impressive.  The boulevards lined with shops feels very much like the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, or 5th Avenue in New York City, or the Champs-Elysess in Paris. No wonder the hotel clerk mentioned shopping when we checked in.

The Music of Vienna

We happened upon two musical experiences in our exploration of the city.  One was absolutely lovely and one was just plain silly, but fun just the same.  On our last day in Vienna we stepped inside a church fairly near our hotel and lucky us, a violin and cello group were rehearsing.  The notes of the music filled the ornately beautiful church and it was too serene to easily dismiss so we invited ourselves to a pew and let the music fill our souls.  This is just a snippet of the performance.

In stark contrast to the strings of the violins and cellos, later the same day we came across these three horse heads and they made us laugh.  Who doesn’t enjoy a fun street band?

Now that I think about it, I think our two musical experiences are a pretty good indication of what you’ll find in Vienna.  Classic music, beautiful architecture with a historical royal blood line, and just plain old fun street performers.  What more could you ask for?

 

Our Vienna City Cards were hosted by:

The Vienna Tourist Board

 

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12 Responses to Five Days in Vienna ~

  • That’s the best….I agree Patti, to just start walking and is exactly what we do in new ( and familiar!) places, it is a great way to discover surprises and be unscheduled and impetuous. I know nothing about Vienna, so this was a good introduction you offer up. We often do no research on a place ahead of time and while usually that makes for great “aha” moments as you say, it has also occassionally had us missing a particularly good whatever, because we failed to do the research. Haha. Sometimes quite obvious and definite must sees. So it goes….

    Fabulous to catch concerts in Europe in churches. Such incredible sound!

    • Oh, we’ve done that as well, Peta. Left somewhere only to do a face palm slap saying, I can’t believe we missed xyz. But then I think, well, it gives us a reason to return. And, yes, we’re always so pleased when we happen upon a rehearsal in a cathedral, the sound is wonderful.

  • We enjoy the occasional “happy accident,” but considering each destination might be a once in a lifetime experience, we tend to plan more than not. We were in Vienna two years ago and saw those same silly horsemen. I hope you visited Schronbrunn Palace and gardens and the Belvedere Castle. Viennese breakfast are the best! Your post makes me want to return.

    • Funny… I used to plan far more than I do these days. You know what they say, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans! 🙂 We did not visit Schronbrunn Palace on this visit as it was quite busy. Instead, we opted to take a day trip to tour the Melk Abby and cruise a section of the Danube which made for a fantastic day trip.

  • I have never visited Viena. I imagined it to be classical musicians everywhere, beautiful architecture, history in every corner and super clean. Walking all over the city would also be my favourite way of sightseeing

    • It was our first visit to Vienna as well and we really enjoyed it. I think your descriptions of what you imagine the city to be are spot on!

  • We also arrived in Vienna by train (from Munich) and also had the dichotomous musical experiences you did, starting with the animal head street musicians. A childhood friend of mine plays the violin with the Munich Symphony. They happened to be playing in Vienna one of the nights we were there, so we attended that and got to feel like Munich Philharmonic groupies waiting for him outside the stage door.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…15 Things to Do During an Airport LayoverMy Profile

    • Vienna definitely has a lot to offer; something for everyone from horse headed street musicians to classic. It’s a fun thing to be able to call yourself a Philharmonic groupie. Not everyone can say that! 🙂

  • Vienna is spectacular and breathtaking, Patti! Skyscrapers are the thing that amazed me most there, too!

  • There’s definitely money in Vienna! The train station alone is quite something. You should visit nearby Bratislava for a contrast and introduction to Eastern Europe…
    We actually weren’t big fans of Vienna. Just felt too clean, too staged for us…some incredible buildings through.

    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted…Split, Croatia Guide (with day trips)My Profile

    • The train station in Vienna is a city in itself! We’ve been to Prague and we’re now in Budapest, can definitely see and understand the differences.

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.

 

3 years, 70 days ago!

 

 

 

 

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