>Travel Pictures


Vienna 2004

Vienna is one of those cities in Europe that has so much history it is difficult to capture all that it is and all that it means.  Like so many cities in Europe, it has a 'history before history' from a Neolithic settlement (the famous Venus of Willendorf is from the Danube valley).  Celtic and Roman towns (if you would call them that) were built one on the other over centuries and development continues on to the present.  Of course, one must throw in Turks, Huns, Franks, Venetians and Nazis to round out any story about Vienna. 

These pictures are of St. Stephans in the Old Town of Vienna.  It was built in the mid -1300's by Habsburg Duke Rudolf IV on the base of an earlier Roman sanctuary. Its gorgeous spire is a classic example of Gothic architecture.  It, like so many buildings in Vienna, was badly damaged during WWII.  However, extensive rennovation makes the scars of this war almost invisible today - perhaps too much so. 

Vienna is a Catholic town and every Cathedral has rows and rows of devotional candles.  The kids were intrigued by this and wanted stories about all the deceased members of our family.  We had stories about great-grandpa George Wagner, yiayia Maria Panagoulias and great great Grandpa Rudolf Wunderlich. 

We had a time convincing Breck that devotional candles were not birthday candles.  After an interesting talk about people and spirits, he seemed to catch on and left them alone. 
The famous Wiener Neustadt Alter was carved in 1447. In the catacombs beneath the church are funeral urns containing the entrails of 56 royal Habsburg family members.   Mozart's pauper's funeral was also held here. 

The stone pulpit was carved by Anton Pilgrim and reflects life in medieval Vienna.
The area around St. Stephan's is a joy to explore.  All the buildings are Baroque and Renaissance, but they are all built on what was the interior Medieval city inside extensive walls (which came down during the reign of Fraz Josef who constructed the Ringstrasse instead). 
Vienna is and was a town of musicians.  Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler and Handal all composed here.  In St. Stephan's square, two men all painted gold (really!!) were statues of musicians.  If you put money in their boxes they would play.  We went to Christmas Eve service at St Stephan's and heard Mozart's Vesperae Solennes de Confessore - quite the experience.  The kids were especially taken with the fancy Cardinal's hat (is there a special name for that?). 
Fiacres lined many avenues in Vienna proper.  For 40 - 100 euros, they would escort you around town.  The famous Lipizzaner horses still train in the Spanish Riding School in the Hofberg complex, though I would guess only  those that fail the royal stud DNA bloodline test end up on the sidewalk hauling tourists around:)  We all chuckled at the poop catchers slung under each horses tail, though we appreciated them as we all walked around town with clean boots. 
Susan got her first taste of hot Christmas punsch in Vienna.  Wow.  She coughed and sputtered her way through it and decided the mulberry punsch (read Koolaid) in Schonbrunn was far superior to the stuff (read raw grain alcohol) they served in the Hofburg Square. 
Christmas punsch was everywhere.  Each stall had hot tea, too, and Alea acquired quite the taste for mint tea while on this trip. 
Vienna 2004 main page - Christkindl Markt - Schönbrunn Palace - Others

Main Austria page
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