I can’t believe it’s already been 3 weeks! Tomorrow morning, we head for Salzburg – also in Austria, but at the western end, nearing Switzerland and curving back towards Southern Germany.
The highlight of the day probably wasn’t the laundromat – though they have machines that will wash AND dry AND automatically put in your detergent. But one thing you have to be careful of . . . is overloading the machine. 8 kg means 8 kg – don’t put more in than that! Or the machine will lock you out, with all your clothes inside. Yep. It did. Thankfully, we figured out how to get it unlocked and managed to rescue our still-wet clothes and get them into a stand-alone dryer. One load washed and dried, over 2 hours for a measly $20. Yeah. We thought so, too.
Fortunately, the highlight included a walking tour through Old Vienna. But it wasn’t like the other walking tour we did. This one was longer – and visited fewer places. However, our tour guide (Roderick – or Ricky as he preferred) was an amazing storyteller and brought a wealth of knowledge to the tour. My guess is that Sherry will recount more of the history of the city, including some significant facts about Hitler. You’ll have to check out her blog for “the rest of the story.” Bottom line; I was a bit disappointed that we spent 2 1/2 hours with Ricky and only visited 3 of the city’s sites. True, we did see St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a couple Royal palaces, but the time spent and the stories listened to . . . just didn’t do it for me. Sorry, Ricky. Or Roderick.
Besides the fact that I had an expectation that Vienna would be some quaint little European village-esque place, it just wasn’t like that at all. Vienna is an urban, thriving city of 2 million people! And, they’re just like every other city, trying to take advantage of a local hero that drives tourism. In this case, Mozart. He lived in about 18 different apartments in the city, and each one of them boasts “Mozart lived here!” all true, but just a bit misleading. But he did die here. On Dec 5, 1791.
What’s hard for me to get my arms around is the reality that so much of the city was decimated during WWII, and rebuilt since the late 40’s. You can find buildings that have foundations dating back to the 1400’s and 1500’s with modern structures above. And then there are the majestic 500 or 600 year-old buildings – or even older, like the ruins of the Roman wall we saw.
In the photos, below you see first the State Opera House, which was completely decimated during the Allied Bombing – and then rebuilt after the war ended. The story goes that the Allies mistook the Opera House for a munitions storage location . . . and bombed the living daylights out of it. Next is St Stephen’s Cathedral, which is only a few blocks away, but left untouched by the bombing. The North Tower in this photo was one of the highest buildings in Austria at 136 Meters high, built over 65 years, starting in 1368! The third photo is St Charles Church, built in 1713. The last photo is of the ruins of the Roman Wall around the City of Vienna. My photos of St Stephens and St Charles were a little pathetic, so I took advantage of some internet photos to give you a better vision of what we were seeing! Thomas Ledl is the owner of the St Charles photo and © Bwag is the owner of the St Stephens photo.
OK, coming to the end of this post. Last on my list is the Albertina Museum. We were excited to visit, seeing the promotions for Monet, Picasso and a couple of other very famous artists of the Renaissance and later periods. Never saw one of their paintings. In fact, the “art” we did see was a bit troubling at best, and horrible at worst. Now, I have to admit I’ve never lived in the art world and clearly don’t know real art, especially seeing what is on display in these very prominent and important museums! But you take a look at these and let me know what YOU think? OK, one of them might be the real deal, but the other 3 ????
Tomorrow? –> Salzburg