After Salzburg and I officially (and sadly) parted ways, we finally arrived in Vienna! The first place we went upon arrival (even before putting our bags down, actually) was St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The cathedral, as most in Europe are, is a work of art: very detailed, ornate, and old, with a really cool patterned roof on that can be seen from the side. What we didn’t expect, however, was that part of the cathedral stone was blackened by pollution (Apparently, this happens and they have to clean it every so often although the cleaning process takes quite a long time.) Nonetheless, it did not disappoint and further proves my belief that the first thing you should do when traveling is find the cathedral.While we stood outside, admiring the architecture, there was a rather large group of people, dressed in costume selling tickets to a show where classical music from various composers and styles would be performed. They later ended up selling us one after giving us “two free passes, just buy the other two since you’re students”. I actually thought they were scamming us, but after some thorough online research, we found that they were actually legitimate, and went to the show that night. I will admit, it wasn’t the fancy, grand concert hall that you imagine and it was a small ensemble of musicians, but it was nice, and the only way we would have seen a concert otherwise. We’re language assistants after all, and therefore too poor to afford fancy things.
After we dropped our bags, we took a walk around the city, wandering in the general diretion of “where things are”. While on our walk, we were able to pass by and see the Rathaus, or the government building of Vienna. We then proceeded to walk into a public entrance and walked around the lobby taking a peek at all of the pamphlets, none of which we could actually read. After a bit more snooping, we made our way to Karlskirche, a church with an inside equally as beautiful as the outside. They were doing repairs on the inside, however, so we were unfortunately unable to see it unobstructed. I do hope it will be finished for other passers by, because what I saw, was definitely worth the time spent!
The following day, we made our way once again, toward the Rathaus, only this time, saw the actual front of it. The main part of the Rathaus is a big square, equipped with a large ice skating rink, and stands to buy food, coffee, and of course, hot wine. We took our time, walking through the square, enjoying the people watching, before we stopped at the other side, to see the Burgtheater, or Austrian National Theater. Unfortunately, we were not there to see a full tour, but we were able to go in and explore the lobby.
We then continued on our way, taking a very cold and snowy walk though Volksgarten, which I’m positive would have been much more pleasant in the spring, when I didn’t feel like my toes were about to fall off from the cold. Nonetheless it was pretty, and we continued to Heldenplatz, a large square holding two equestrian statues and the Austrian National Library, stopping in to warm up a bit.
The last, and final stop we made before our final night and meal in Vienna, was to go on a tour of the Vienna Opera. This was one thing that I definitely did not want to miss, as it is one of the must see parts of the city. Unfortunately, we did not have time to see a show, although you can get standing room seats for quite cheap if you are able to stay on your feet for five or six hours at a time. I definitely recommend the tour, as it shows you much more than you would see otherwise,and give some interesting history and insight to the building and organisation.
After the tour, we went back to the airbnb to pack, before setting out to one final dinner and hot wine by the ice skating rink. The next morning it was a sad goodbye to a beautiful albeit very cold city, and hello to another day of trains and planes. Life goes on.