... we walked till we dropped!
30.12.2009 - 30.12.2009 6 °C
Today was a day of seriously looking around the main part of Vienna. It started by catching the #43 tram from near our hotel into the edge of the city and then it was on foot.
Vienna has a lot of important buildings around what they call the ring and our tram stop put us right on this ring, so we followed it around on foot for quite a way. I won't even try to recite the all the buildings we viewed - but some of the more significant ones were:
- Rathaus (council offices)
Justiz Palast (courts)
Then we proceeded to move inside the ring and walked through Maria Theresien Platz which is named after Empress Marie-Theresa of Austro-Hungaria who from 1740 - 1780 was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. By marriage, she was Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Duchess of Lorraine, German Queen and Holy Roman Empress. (one very powerful lady!) her statue also gives the impression that she was powerful. Either side of the Platz are the Natural History Museum and the Art History Museum which appear identical to each other and are very imposing.
From the platz we crossed the road into the Heldenplatz and the palace. It was here that we rested our feet for a while and took a ride on a Fiaker's Carriage (thanks very much to Dave & Alex who gave it to us as a Christmas present). this took us through the city and gave us a carriage seat view of many of the major sites - it was relaxing and a great way to see things.
Back on foot again we walked for a while then had a break for a coffee before covering even more ground. We walked from one end of the main tourist area to the other taking in the views of magnificent buildings and ever increasing numbers of tourists.
After a while we worked our way down to the StaatsOper (Opera House) where we booked a couple fo seats to see 'Die Fledermaus' on New Years Eve. Unfortunately we have got the cheap seats (good for my wallet!) and will be listening but not seeing much. We'll report on it later.
Time for more walking - this time going outside the Ring and working our way to Karlskirche and then to Schloss Belvedere. we hadn't originally planned to look at the Schloss (Palace) but saw it was near where we had walked to. It turned out to be a hidden gem consisting of two magnificent palaces in the middle of a splendid park. They were constructed for Prince Eugene of Savoy by J.L. von Hildebrandt, a famous Baroque architect. we didn't actually look in the places, but the grounds were truly magnificent.
Foot weary we hopped a tram - then hopped off after it got to the end of it's route and turned around, then hopped another and hopped off it when it started to head out of the city and hopped a third tram to take us to where we could have tea. The benefit of having an unlimited trip pass is that you don't need to plan each ride but rather just hop on and see!