A Little Bit Eastern Europe, Part 1

29 Feb

Y’all, it is definitely feeling like Monday around here! We just got back last night from alot of ground covered in not alot of time and we are feeling it! But in a good way, of course 😉

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Last Wednesday, we set out for Vienna, Austria, the first of two new-to-us cities for this adventure. Six fairly quick hours later- thanks to the awesome views!- there we were!

StuttgarttoVienna

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Vienna is the capital and largest city (2.6 million people, 1/3 of the country’s total population!) of Austria. The city lies in the east of the country and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. It has the second largest number of German speakers in the world, following Berlin.

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Walking downtown Vienna…

Vienna has lots of nicknames, and rightfully so. The most common two are the ‘City of Music’ because of its musical legacy (countless composers, including Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart, did some of their best works here) and the ‘City of Dreams’ because it’s the birthplace of Sigmund Freud. It’s known for being an epicenter for culture, the arts and finance, as well as one of the best examples of urban planning in the world. Most significantly, for the last seven years and counting, it’s earned the title of ‘Most Livable City.’

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Middle of the city, this is apparently what you find if you just dig a little 😉

Stephensdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and built on the ruins of two previous churches that stood on the site. The current church, considered one of the great examples of Gothic architecture, was erected in the mid 1300s. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has, with its multi-colored tile roof, become one of the city’s most recognizable symbols. And just in case you’re thinking to yourself, ‘where have I heard of this cathedral?’ It was just featured on the MSN Homepage as one of the Ten Most Beautiful Cathedrals in the World ❤

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The bell tower is home to 23 bells, including the largest bell in Austria and the second largest in all of Europe. Originally cast in 1711 from cannons captured from Muslim invaders, it weighs over 44,000 pounds, is more than 10 feet in diameter and is only rung a few times a year for special occasions, including ringing in the New Year. How cool, right?!

And an interesting tidbit? Ludwig van Beethoven discovered the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying out of this bell tower as a result of the bells’ tolling but could not hear the bells.

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As taken as we were with Stephensdom, it was actually another church that really caught our attention- the smaller, more discrete Jesuit Church. It gives off this crazy ‘business on the outside, party on the inside’ vibe in that you’d never suspect the opulence waiting behind those modest doors. It was built in the 1600s.

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Yep, that’s all STONE. No paint.

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Built in the 13th century and expanded in the centuries since, the Hofburg Palace has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The area has been the documented seat of government since 1279 for various empires and republics.

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Just behind the Palace stands the National Library, a sight unto itself…

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We didn’t know it, but the famous Eistraum (Ice Dream) Festival was going on while we were in town. You’ve never seen so much ice skating- over 8000 sq. m. of rinks and alleys, including one straight through the Rathaus (Town Hall)! And of course, no fest is complete without delicious food and drinks all around!

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Ice Alleys winding all through the square…

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Obviously I didn’t take this one, but this gives you an idea of the size of this thing!

Vienna is a really snazzy place- it’s oozing with culture and sophistication.  And pretty buildings 🙂 Two days was definitely not long enough to see all that we’d like to, but it whet our palate just enough to make us want to return for a closer look! And with that, we continued our journey eastward…to Budapest. Stop back by tomorrow for a taste of Hungary!

And speaking of taste, who would’ve known that Vienna is sorta known for its ribs?! Not us! But they sure were tasty, especially when eaten below ground in a bunker from the 1600s!

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2 Responses to “A Little Bit Eastern Europe, Part 1”

  1. Eleanor March 1, 2016 at 2:55 AM #

    Love the pictures! Some reminded me of days In Rome when we wondered from Cathedral to Cathedral. Beautiful. Hope everyone loved it.

  2. Robin February 29, 2016 at 3:18 PM #

    Another place I haven’t been…. another place I would love to go. Great pictures. I especially love the smaller of the cathedrals.

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