- Day 1: Train to Vienna
- Day 2: Depart!
RTW Trip 2014: Peru→ Chile → Argentina → Antarctica → Argentina → Uruguay → Argentina→ Chile→ England → Morocco → Spain → France → Belgium → Netherlands → Germany → Czech Republic → Austria → Hungary → Croatia → Italy → Thailand → United States → Thailand → Laos → Vietnam → Cambodia → Australia → Taiwan
Dates: July 1-2, 2014
This was our more in depth route through Vienna’s city center. We toured the city in the evening which was a wonderful happenstance- it was the only time we had available to sight-see, and the city is stunningly lit up at night. The grand, over-the-top buildings seem to sparkle at night, and the city was abuzz with locals and tourists alike.
Our tour started at the Opera House, which, aside from being a lovely building, represents what Vienna is all about- culture, especially musical culture. Many famous musicians made Vienna their home, including Beethoven and Mozart. The night before we watched “Amadeus”, the award-winning film about Mozart’s adult life (which was largely filmed in Prague, actually), and we were grateful we did since it really have us that cultural context that enabled us to better appreciate the history of our tour.
One of our first stops was to the famous and historical Sacher Cafe, home of the chocolate cake with apricot jam filling that made the Sacher-torte cake a beloved Viennese treat. For 5 euros we split a slice and thought it was great!
Moving along through the city we arrived at Albertinaplatz, a square in front of the fine arts museum. This square contains the Monument Against War and Fascism, a moving collection of sculptures representing concentration camps, war violence, and one distinct image of a Jewish prisoner scrubbing anti-Nazi graffiti off of the floor. One third of Vienna’s 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps. Making the memorial even more meaningful, it sits on a site where bombs struck during WWII, demolishing a cellar and burying hundreds alive.
One of our favorite stops on this tour was at Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, built in 1300-1450. Since it was dusk, the interior of the cathedral was lit only by the prayer candles and the dim light from the stained glass windows. In the back, a man was playing the organ. Locals were coming in to pray. The entire scene was very beautiful and spiritual. What I appreciated the most was that this cathedral was being actively used for what it was meant for- and not just a tourist spot for visitors to come in, click their cameras a few times, and leave. Tim and I both consider this our favorite cathedral visit on this trip.
Our tour ended quite spectacularly at Heldenplatz, or Heroes Square, in front of the Hofburg palace which was home to the Hapsburgs for much of their rule. At night the palace and the Greek style gate beside it are beautifully lit, and with the clock tower of the Rathaus glowing in the distance and the crescent moon hugging it all, we can’t imagine a more perfect finale.
I’ve heard it said that people either love Vienna or they absolutely hate it, and that it doesn’t take much time to know which side you’re on. Can you guess ours?