Vienna, Austria

About the Photo Above: St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Big gothic churches are amazing to me; I love all the little jagged things which fill most every inch of the spiky spires and towers. Note the elaborate colored tile roof. This one is St. Stephen’s Cathedral which is in the old city section of Vienna.

Wien vs Vienna
Locals call their city Wien (pronounced Ween as in wiener schnitzel). Vienna is the former capital of the Austrian-Hungarian empire which at one time covered a large part of eastern Europe; I spent a week exploring and wandering around this wonderful place. Like most mega capitals, it has a lot of history and many big and beautiful buildings. The royal family decided they needed two palaces, one for the summer and another for the winter, but located them only a few miles from each other (about 30 minute walk).

Opera House Public Toilet
The Austrian sense of humor is a bit unique to say the least, and the public toilet near the main Austrian Opera is one such example. Obviously if you are going with an opera theme, you must have opera music playing when you enter and the attendant must be dressed in proper opera attire. The walls and urinals are decorated to look like an opera with the ceiling is filled with stage lighting making the whole experience a bit weird, especially when you arepeeing under what looks like the bar at the opera while listening to opera music running in the background.

Eating Wieners and Wienerschnitzel in Wien

I have a tradition which began in Hamburg, Germany. While visiting Hamburg in 2011, I decided it would be fun to eat a Hamburger in Hamburg.
Since then, anytime I visit a city where food has been named after it, I want to go eat that food. As such, one of my tourist activities was to seek out some local wienerschnitzel as well as Austrian wieners (hot dogs). Unlike American hot dogs, the Austrian versions are unique and nothing like other hot dogs I’ve had because the bun is a french bread roll with a round slot created in the middle just large enough for the dog to be inserted. Prior to serving it, the vendor will squirt ketchup and mustard inside. These are also the thicker 10 inch variety and cost about 3 euros (about $3). I have to say I liked it a lot better than the American variety, especially because of the quality of the bread and higher quality meat.

I Bought One Fart
Time for a lesson in basic German. The word for travel, drive, transport or ride… it is sort of a catch all word used for “going” when related to travel. You can “fahr” a car (drive a car), or “fahr” to Berlin (travel to Berlin). I thought it was rather amusing when I purchased my ticket for the metro that on the top left corner was printed that I had purchased “One Fahrt” (the noun version of the verb). It is, indeed, pronounced “fart” just like the word in English.

Amazing Architecture
I think almost ever newsletter I mention how much I enjoy just wandering around a city gawking at buildings and being amazed at architecture. Part of me wonders how they created such amazing designs hundreds or thousands of years ago. Maybe it is a combination of the beauty and the mind-boggling effect of trying to figure out how they did it that does it for me. Most streets in Vienna had me twisting my head about making me dizzy. It is a wonder I don’t need a chiropractor after walking among such amazing buildings.

Costs in Vienna
Costs were similar to the USA (except lodging of cheaper hostels).
Hostel: $17/night (shared dorm) including breakfast
Food: typically $3 to 8 meal for lunch or dinner (I ate a lot of Döners for $3 each)
Transportation: the metro was $2.50 one way

Karls Kirche (Carl’s Church)

One of my close friends in Florida is Carl Vandiver (who is an active Christian). When I saw this amazing church and learned it bore his name, I thought I should send him a picture. I especially like the spiral towers which are something I’ve not seen on other churches. It was quite impressive, but not enough for me to spend eight euros to peek inside (sorry Carl!).

Sunday Carriage Ride

Obviously these are tourists in the carriage, but a part of me likes to believe that local Austrians each have their own stable, carriage and driver for a Sunday ride around the palace.

Summer Palace

There are two main palaces in Vienna, the Summer and Winter Palace (because one isn’t enough for Austrian Royalty).

Spanish Riding School

Vienna is famous for it’s white horses from their special Spanish riding school. I didn’t pay to see them in action, but caught this photo of the horses in the stables.

Tile of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The double headed eagle is the official symbol of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and can be seen here on the roof of St. Stephen’s.

Inside St. Stephens

The inside was just as impressive as the outside with giant vaulted ceilings and gothic design everywhere you looked.

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