Vienna. A city that truly captures your heart. Beautiful and elegant architecture, grand palaces, horse drawn carriages, parks bursting with cherry blossoms, spectacular museums, apple strudel with clotted cream, and one of the most impressive libraries in the world.
This is my third time to this beautiful country over the course of ten years and I fall more deeply in love with the city of Vienna every time I return. You will have to excuse the quality of my photos, even the finest photographer cannot possibly do this gorgeous city justice, but I took these pictures on my iPhone.
Vienna is like a living historical fairytale. Gorgeous Baroque gardens and palaces that echo the rich history of the wealthy and prosperous former Austro-Hugarian Empire. Vienna is also known as the City of Music as a result of the marvellous Viennese composers who have shaped the classical music genre forevermore, names like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Johann Strauss are world renowned as the very best of all time. Vienna was also home to Sigmund Freud, the ingenious founder of Psychoanalysis. Today, Vienna is a cosy and compact city that is easily explored in a couple of days. On this trip I only had about six hours to explore as I was on a tight river cruising schedule. In that time I walked most of the city, ate a schnitzel the size of my head, and enjoyed the first signs of spring.
In the morning we ate our way through the Naschmarket, the most famous and luxurious food and produce market in Vienna. We were treated to samples of cheese, olives, and special Viennese crepes called Palatschinken, which are filled with apricot jam. We also tried traditional apple strudel and drank hot chocolate.
Afterwards we walked the whole city. It was March and spring was just beginning to bloom. The gardens were filled with cherry blossoms and bare gardens just starting to bud. The air was crisp, so we definitely needed plenty of layers and a warm jacket. We first stopped by the Spanish Riding School to see the glamorous Lipizzaner stallions prancing about, they are the Victoria Secret supermodels of the horse world, very chic and beautiful. Then we bee-lined for all the opulent architecture of St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, Rathaus, and Parliament.
Vienna is a handsome, lively city, and pleases me exceedingly – Frederic Chopin
However, the most stunning jewel in the crown was the magnificent Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (The Austrian National Library) located inside the Hofburg Palace. The largest library in Austria, and home to over 7 million items, many of which date back to the Middle Ages of 1350!
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library – Jorge Luis Borges
The world is quiet here – Lemony Snicket
The next morning we travelled to the outskirts of town to spend the morning wandering the opulent staterooms and gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn, the Summer Palace of the former Habsburg royal family. Painted in bright yellow, the palace was an enjoyable place to spend a couple of hours. Out of 1441 rooms, we were allowed access to only 30 rooms, and each one was ornately decorated with elaborate wallpaper, magnificent crystal chandeliers, luxurious curtains, and exquisite furniture. We saw the original private apartments of Franz Josef and his Queen Sisi, as well as the rooms occupied and designed by Queen Maria Theresa, the mother of Marie Antoinette. We were not able to take photographs inside the palace, but I can assure you that it was well worth the ticket price. After we finished our tour, the smell of chocolate and cinnamon wafted through the air, leading us to the Easter markets, a row of cute wooden stalls set up outside the palace selling bejewelled painted egg shells, freshly made waffles, and an array of special Easter treats for children and adults alike.
We then returned to the city centre and embarked on a little adventure through the backstreets of Vienna to find the Shakespeare & Co bookstore. I am always on the lookout for special bookstores in every city that I visit. I was not disappointed when my eyes were met with wall to wall colourful bookshelves. I treated myself to a book dedicated to Jane Austen’s most witty quotes, which made for a very entertaining read on the plane journey back to Melbourne.
It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying – Agatha Christie