Enchanting Vienna

Last week on Sunday, I said goodbye to this majestic city, taking a taxi from the beautiful Vienna state opera to the airport. As a Business tourist, my glimpse of this regal city was captured in hop on and off buses, quick walks to the subways and a few short strolls. I hope to come back and make time to celebrate one of the important things this city is renowned for – home to many great classical musicians and opera.

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Vienna State Opera theatre

Vienna presents an architectural feast within its city precincts by day and night. I found myself particularly enchanted by the romantic and mesmerising character it assumed as the buildings were lit up at night.

Among the great musicians who have lived and worked here are names such as: Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Christoph Willibald Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Otto Nicolai, Antonio Salieri, Arnold Schoenberg, Franz Schubert, Max Steiner, Robert Stolz, Oscar Straus, Johann Strauss senior and junior, Richard Strauss, Antonio Vivaldi, Hugo Wolf, Carl Michael Ziehrer and many more.

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Below is the iconic St Stephen’s Cathedral which is more than 700 years old. If you are fit for it, you can climb 343 steps to the top to get a beautiful view of the city. Alternatively, walk through the catacombs beneath this stunning church.

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St Stephens Cathedral: Vienna

Below – the exquisite artistry of this church where I stopped for a moment to light a candle and say a little prayer.

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The added romance of this city was to see horses and carriages lining up the streets, moving alongside traffic and doing a solitary midnight trek through a maze of deserted streets.

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I walked past this baroque style church several times without having the opportunity to go inside. Completed in the 1700s and emulating the design of St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican in Rome, it caught my attention especially when lit up at night.

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Vienna is a hive of activity with numerous cranes hovering in constant efforts to reclaim and  preserve these architectural and historical gems.

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Unlike Vienna where we still rely heavily on private vehicles in my country, I was struck by the very efficient public transport system which ranged from reasonably priced and comfortable airport buses, trains, trams, a very efficient and regular subway system and bicycles for those who preferred this option. There is of course a lot of walking to be done too.

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The Pestsäule (Plague Column) pictured below, is a memorial of the worst Viennese Plague in history.

The Great Plague of Vienna brought the imperial city to its knees. Death toll estimates range from  12,000 to 75,000 people. The killer is thought to be the same Bubonic Plague  that raged first in the 14th century, and began a second round in the 17th century. All across Europe, outbreaks of disease crippled towns, but Vienna, as a trade cross-road was perfectly placed to experience the true wrath of the raging epidemic.

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Beyond the inner sanctum of the city, Vienna is a very modern city as can be seen from this panoramic view that includes parts of the great Danube river.

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A gift to the UN includes this sculpture from the government of Iran. It includes tributes to people such as Omar Khayyam, a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. As a scholar, he is most notable for his work on cubic equations and his calendar reform.

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Of course, I had my share of the traditional Schnitzel served with cranberries in a cranberry sauce and a lovely potato salad. Typical of a modern city, we dined on many cosmopolitan meals. This Thai dish below which comprised of a piping hot chicken Thai curry and served with fat, flat, freshly made noodles, was definitely one of my favourite meals.

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In keeping with the glitz and glamour of this majestic city, we couldn’t help but admire this equally glamorous Tesla luxury car below. Aptly reflective picture, don’t you think?

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Join me next week in my visit to Prague and thank you for reading.