Vienna. My favorite city in my favorite country.
Vienna, or Wein (pronounced with a “V” sound in German), is absolutely beautiful. Over 50% of the city is devoted to parkland. Walking around there you forget you’re in an urban metropolis- not to mention its the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. Definitely puts Los Angeles to shame.
Gothic churches are a main focal point in Vienna. The central one is Stephensplatz, a huge Gothic masterpiece with high ceilinged arches and gargoyles leering down from every corner. Fun fact about gargoyles- they are meant to protect the church. They are different creatures made in the Devils image, since he was afraid of his own image. The only problem was no one knew what the Devil looked like, so no two gargoyles are alike. They tried to cover all their baseslightly eerie but so beautiful.
Im finding that on this extended trip the part of traveling I love most is the little things. Food markets filled with spices and novelties I’ve never even heard of.Cappuccinos and pastries on the sidewalk. Tripping along cobblestone streets with my neck craned upwards so I don’t miss a single bit of architecture. Not that I don’t appreciate the artistic masterpieces I’ve gotten to see, but it’s the little things rather than the famous museums and landmarks that I love.
My digression brings me to my favorite part of Vienna- the coffeehouses. Legend has it that Polish- Hapsburg soldiers found a number of sacks with strange beans. Initially, they thought it was camel feed and tried toburn it. Instead, the sacks were granted to Franciszek Kulcycki, who opened the first coffeehouse.
The coffee houses have become an institution in Vienna. Artists, politicians, and writers used to congregate there. And you don’t just order a coffee- at times it seemed more complicated than Starbucks. We needed Emma’s guidebook to decipher it all. My favorite is an Einsplanner, a large espresso with whipped cream.
Since we’ve been in Vienna for a week, we got to so some cool day trips as well. We went to Durnstein one day, a medieval town in the Wachau Valley now devoted to winemaking. Besides being unbelievably, fairytale picturesque, there are some awesome castle ruins atop the town, where King Richard the Lionheart (Robin Hood anyone?) was imprisoned when he returned home from the Crusades. So. Cool. The pics below are Emily and I atop the castle ruins.
Finally, when Emma got here, (our best friend from college who met up with us for a week) we went to Salzburg for the day. Aka the place where the Sound of Music was filmed. To my excitement and Emily’s dismay (she hates musicals but was a trooper and came along! Sign of a good travel buddy). We saw all the famous sites where Julie Andrews skipped along, including the Pegasus Fountain, “Do Re Mi” steps, the lake, and even the gazebo. Salzburg is also home to a giant fortress, nunnery, and monastery- the town is considered a world heritage site. And Mozart was born there.
And we went to the Viennese opera! Geez almost forgot. Vienna, being Mozart’s city, has become a city built on music. We bought standing room tickets at the opera and were able to go see a performance!
We’re in Prague now, freezing our California toes off but loving every minute! Ill update you all on Prague soon. Much love! ❤