The legacy of Hapusburg- Vienna
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 13 of 32 › view all entries
By now, some of you might wonder how this trip will be ended, so I will briefly sum up. Up to now, I have been mostly in the north, and Vienna is now about center. I am supposed to go down to Italy, and the southern end is Rome. In the meanwhile, the nature of Switzerland will reveal its beauty to us, and the Roman empire and Renaissance will boast their legacy relentlessly, and we were supposed to decide whether we go down to Naples or go up. As the trip required very much of physical strength and tight timetable, we decided to go to North and have good time in Paris where my aunt lives. It was a shelter in a sense, and to the end of trip, Paris became the center of all our remaining trip, though Normandy, Versaille,and many more became our targets for short trips from Paris.
Back to the train from Prague to Vienna, we arrived safely, and I instantly looked for Apotheke (Pharmacy)to stop coughing. I was still coughing although I was taking the cough-suppressant from Fussen. It became worse when I arrived in Vienna, so finally started taking some medicine. The Apotheke in Vienna station was just across the station, and the pharmacist was quite kind I remember. We directly went to the hotel first, and then started our journey right away. First, we went to stephansdom. In front of this church, you probably smell the excretion of horses, and really those touristic chariots are waiting for you to guide you to 19th century. The dom is so huge, and it cannot be taken as one picture just like the church in Prague I described. Next, you will see Vienna Staatoper. The home of Mozart, not Salzburg though, Vienna's staatoper provides really good opera programs throughout each year. Unfortunately, Staatoper was under reconstruction, so we could not see the entire architecture. If you love Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) , Le Nozze de Figaro (The marriage of Figaro), Cosi Fan Tutte (All ladies do it),or Wagner's Ring cycle operas, this is the place you want to book up a ticket. Indeed I am supposed to go to see The Magic flute at the Met very soon, and hope that I can see that again in Vienna Staatoper.
So what is so special about Vienna? Vienna has been the alamo of Europe to defend christianity against Osman Turk (Turkey of now) in 17th and 18th century. Especially in the mid 17th century, Vienna was almost fallen down after a miserable seige by Osman Turk, but then they overcome this and flourished their cultural venue. In central Europe, Vienna was undeniably superb cultural center, and only Paris can match to it. While Paris was the heart of Bourbon dynasty, Vienna was the heart of Hapusburg dynasty and later on Autro-Hungarian empire until 1918 when WW1 was over. For our ears, Strauss's the Radetzky march is always played every new year's day, and this is a new tradition. Enjoying a champagne while listening Radetzky March is a great gift indeed for new year's eve. Also Vienna is known for its coffee. Having coffee as beverage was started from Vienna in Europe, before that coffee was more of drug than beverage. Alongside with this coffee, the exquisite quality of bakery shops occupied Vienna, and this tradition is still alive. With Franz Joseph's era, perhaps the reign of Maria Theresia was equivalent to the the Elizabeth I in England to Austria. Remembering that the empire was having Czech, Hungary, Slovakia, Bohemia, Nothern Italy and Austria, it was much bigger than current size of Austria and Vienna was the center of the empire. Finally, Vienna has been known for its love for music, paintings and science. Perhaps it's good to know that it was Adolf Hitler from Linz who got rejected from Vienna Academy became a tyrant 20 years later.
To memorize her majesty's reign, there is Maria Theresien Strasse (Street). Maria Theresia is actually the mother of Marie Antoinette whose husband was Louis 16th, and both of them were beheaded by guilotine in the French revolution. Full of pride and sadness about their fallen down empire, Vienna became one of the famous espionage city in the world in 1950s when cold war was at its high peak. The reason of being is that Austria stated its neutrality like Switzerland, and both Russians and Americans, as well as French and British spies can work in the same small city of Vienna. As you may see in their name, still it is Osterreich,so it has Reich (Empire). Leaving behind these pieces of stories, we headed to the park, and there are statues of Mozart, bach and other musicians. It is quite pretty, and especially in summer night, you may even feel so much of peace. And then, in the park, there is a performance of ballet with strauss's music and people had champagne there with friends. This is especially amusing because of the dim light of summer and quite cheerful music. Although you have to pay, I believe this is one of the best thing you can do if you are a romantist in Vienna.
We also stopped by Vienna university to have lunch. It is pretty good quality with incredibly cheap price, and if you are on the budget, I strongly recommend you to go. Natural history museum and the statue of Maria Theresia are also good places to take pictures, while you still have more places to stop by such as Schonbrunn. I did not mention Vienna's subway system. Although Munich's U-bahn is the best I have ever seen, Vienna's subway is not that bad, and sometimes even better than the Tube of london as tube was really old. Most of sightseeing places are reachable by this subway system. I would stop here to have room for Shonbrunn and other palaces n our trip and Switzerland for next day.