Came back from Salzburg, Axel waited for me at the train station !
2 days with Joe, so it would be the start of my day & night with Axel !
Axel brought a friend (the bald guy) & we called up Matthias also.
Had a simple dinner at a restaurant; Couldn't remember what it's called now but it was a swell evening !
Another photo of me & Joe !
Cafe Sacher has its own history because many famous people have come here to sample Sacher Torte ! It is a cake with a torrid history; The story is like this :
2 'wars' were fought between Hotel Sacher & Cafe Demel in 1938 & 1953, over the origin of the cake !
The vital question was :
Should The Apricot Jam be Put Directly Under The Icing Or In The Middle Of The Cake ?!
So, you have to go there to answer the question, right !? Ha! Ha ! Ha !
The plan was : For the first 2 nights, I would be staying at Joe's place & he would have some plans to show me around the great sights at night !
The next 2 nights, I would be staying with Axel with his own plans to show me the areas around Vienna.
It was an excellent plan !
Nevertheless, just after we had the breakfast on that FIRST day, Axel would be taking me in his car to have a super great excursion around Wienerwald & The Danube Valley !
Mega excellent !
Along the way, I called another Viennese, who's also a VT member : Matthias !OUR EXCURSION STARTED IN WIENERWALD...[Click on Wienerwald to jump right into the first photo on our excursion].
Another photo of Joe & Axel.
Joe is a sports journalist (also compete in the World Judo Champinships !) & Axel works for a movie/theater company. He selects movies to be shown in Vienna.
Apart from my excursions around Vienna, we were also discussing which days I should be staying with EACH one of them; They were busy people.
Another photo of me & them; Different angle...
This was my very FIRST photo in Vienna !
I'm showing you guys some friends that I met in Vienna who made my stay (or rather the start of my big trip to Europe) such a pleasant one !
This photo was taken in the morning that I arrived in Vienna; Axel, on the left fetched me from the airport (he woke up early for that !).
Then, I called up Joe, who was also my host in Vienna.
Joe is on the right of the photo.
We were having breakfast at this fancy restaurant in 'The 1st District' & planning about my excursions around Vienna on that FIRST day I arrived !
Favorite thing: it's all about upmarket shopping here. the shopping districts manage to make materialism look elegant and refined, but it's basically a big mall with very fancy prices, but the fountains and sculptures are gorgeous. please avoid the H&M right before christmastime, as i will not be liable for you being stomped to death.
Take a tour of the Ring to get a general impression of the grandest face of Imperial Vienna. Circular lines 1 and 2, going clockwise and anti-clockwise respectively, enable you to see a number of monuments, buildings and parks: if you start at the the Opera, with the tram line Nr 1, you will see the Burggarten with the statues of Goethe and Mozart, Maria Theresien Platz with the twin buildings of the Kunsthistorisches and the Naturhistorisches museums, the Burgtor and the Heldenplatz, the Volksgarten, the Parliament, the Rathauspark and the Rathaus (City Hall), the Burgteater, the remains of the city walls, the University, the Stock Exchange, the Votivkirche, the Ruprechtskirche, the Postsparkasse, the Regierungsgebaude, the Academy of Applied Arts, the Stadtpark with the gilded statue of Strauss, the statue of Karl Philipp von Scharzenberg, and then you are back at the Opera.
What you get in such a tour is just a glimpse of things that you may wish to go back to, for a proper visit, and this is precisely what I hope you will do.
Favorite thing: Street Graben -as I have read- means "Drain" and it sounds really funny if you think about the centre of a town. :) For natives it shoudl be the place where all tourists should dissapear >:)... well, but Street Graben is the core of the old centre connecting the Stephansdom to Hofburg in general. Dominant of this street is pestiferous pole familiarly called Trinity pole. It is baroque 21 m high pole built thanks to the promise of Emperor Leopold to the Lord when black death hit Vienna in 1679. The first sillhouette of the pole appeared in the same year and it is a work of more masters such as Matthias Rauchmiller, J. B. Fischer of Erlach and finally in 1693 Lodovico Burnacini has seen it finished. The statue of kneeled Emperor created Paul Strudel (maybe also the apple strudel is named according to him :))and statue of St Trinity created Johann Kilian.
Favorite thing: The building of Parliament is from 1873-1883 built by Theophil Hansen. His aim was to evocate respect of Antic art and democracy what are the basic ideas in every parliament (wow, how ironic it sounds :)) Well, the building of Parliament is typical Greek style with tympanion and corinthian pillars, excellently decorated. In front of the building is a big fountain of Palas Athena and three lying persons representing rivers Danube, Morava, Labe and Inn. Vienna could be thankful for this fountain to sculptor Kundmann.
Favorite thing: There are some quite interesting places located near Ringstrasse, street that encircles old city of Vienna. Most interesting of them are Hofburg (Habsburg imperial palace), Maria Theresia Platz and museums around it, Austrian parliament, Votivkirsche and Rathaus. Not less interesting is the area of Karlsplatz and Schwartzenberg Platz and Belvedere castle just around the corner.
City centre of Vienna is area surrounded with so called Ring, circle of roads around the very heart of the city. For me it is a beautiful place with many roads, squares, churches and special places. Main pedestrian zone in this area consists of Kaertner strasse, Stephansplatz and Graben, but there are many other places worth visiting. It is also interesting to take tram 1 or 2 that are riding around the ring.
Fondest memory: Waliking around the city centre is something I like to do. Some places are special during the day while others are great during the night.
I only don't like how it looks on Saturday night.
Stephansdom is cathedral situated in the very city centre at Stephansplatz. It is beautiful and huge church, the biggest I have been to. Otherwise there are many beautiful churches in Vienna which makes this city great place for me since i love to visit churches and religious objects.
Stephansdom is open every day until 21 and it is certainly worth seeing. There are tombs of Habsburgs in the basement and stairs to church tower (both for admission). Sometimes there are organ concerts held around 19 or 20 in the church which I recommend.
Fondest memory: I was amazed by its beauty and size when I reached Vienna centre by U-bahn (subway train) for the first time. Stairs from Stephanplatz bring you directly in front of Stephansdom and when you look up you are shocked. At least I was.
A thing every visitor should do in Vienna, at least for a half day (a full day would be even better) is to put aside maps and guidebooks and wander about the streets of the old city centre (the area enclosed within the avenues of the Ring and the Donaukanal).
In this smallish area there is such a number of beautiful buildings and statues, churches, picturesque corners, elegant shops and nice cafes that you are not allowed to use the word "serendipity" when you describe your "discoveries".
Favorite thing: Antonio Canova was the favorite sculptor of imperial Vienna in the early 19th century. He received the commission to create this beautiful piece which commemorates the life of Maria Christina, who was the favorite daughter of Empress Maria Theresa. The sculpure was unveiled in 1805 and has been a "hit" ever since. It's an exquisite piece, rendered in Canova's popularly romantic style. What a sad lion!
Favorite thing: Just off the Stadt Park is this memorial to Vienna's favorite anti-semite. Dr. Karl Lueger was a tremendously popular mayor of Vienna at the turn of the 19th century into the 20th. Lueger combined an active social policy with pandering to the anti-semitism of Vienna's working classes. In effect, he helped to make Jew-baiting into a respectable and acceptable form of vote-getting. "I'll only be happy after the last Jew has disappeared from Vienna," he is reported to have said. The young Adolf Hitler was greatly influenced by Lueger's example and mentions him prominently in "Mein Kampf." Frankly, I found it eerie that there is still so much evidence of Lueger's popularity here: not only this monument, but also a church in the Zentralfriedhof and a significant section of the Ringstrasse are named after this great innovator in reprehensible politics.