Photo of the Week – Beethoven’s Residence in Vienna

This week's photo takes me back to my trip to Vienna. It is of the stone plaque that commemorates Beethoven's residence in Vienna.

Though German by birth Beethoven ended living in Vienna for the majority of his life. He is buried in the Zentralfriedhoff.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Photo of the Week – St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

This week's photo is of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

The sun was starting to set as I took my photo. It was the final photo of my Vienna and Budapest trip in March. I could think of no finer setting to end my visit.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Vienna – A Reflection

I am pleased to admit that my second visit to Vienna was more successful than my previous one. At least I avoided getting food poisoning and I also managed to get to see more of the city.

Vienna as a city has always held a fascination for me.  I love history and art. The reason for my first visit was to see the ‘Madonna del Prato’ by Raphael. Sure enough I managed to get off my sick-bed to get to the Kunsthistorisches Museum. However, I left Vienna I felt that there was some unfinished business.

During the four days I spent in Vienna I managed to get to see the following:

St. Stephen's Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral
Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
The Roman Ruins
The Roman Ruins
The Hofburg
The Hofburg
The Naschmarkt
The Naschmarkt
Zentralfriedhof
Zentralfriedhof
Vienna at Night
Vienna at Night
Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace

I felt that I managed to experience a lot more of what Vienna has to offer. Yet there was still more that I wanted to see.

Overall, I loved my time in Vienna with its history, sights and smells. It is a city while a capital city still felt small enough to explore by foot and getting yourself lost. To experience an authentic Viennese coffee shop was a joy or experiencing the busker playing the cello outside the Hofburg on a cold Saturday night. These are the memories that never go away.

Yes, Vienna can be expensive but with careful planning there are bargains out there. Sometimes the best experiences are free. Would I visit again? The simple answer is yes. If Vienna is good enough for me then it will be good enough for you.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Vienna Card – A Review

Like all major cities Vienna offers a discount card to all visitors to help the budget conscious traveller. The Vienna Card costs €19.90. It lasts for 72 hours and it entitles you to more than 200 discounts across the city.

The major discount would be the free travel on public transport for the 72 hour period. You are also entitled to discounts on major museums and attractions such as the Hofburg and Schonbrunn Palace. However, the discount is only between 10-20%. You also receive discounts for restaurants and shopping up to 20%.

The problem with the Vienna Card is that to get value out of it you will have to cram a lot in the 72 hours. Especially with the museums. You could end up running through and not really appreciating the exhibits. This could lead to a case of museum fatigue. Personally I like to take my time when visiting museums and art galleries to take everything in. Also most museums and galleries are only open from 9-5.

To get the most out of the card I suggest that you carefully plan your 72 hours and stick to that plan. Otherwise if you want to take your time and visit the occasional museum but still want to take advantage of free travel then I would recommend that you purchase a 72 hour public transport ticket. This currently costs €14.50.

In short I felt that the Vienna Card will represent value with planning but it may not suit everybody including myself.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Schönbrunn Palace – Vienna

The Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most visited attractions in Vienna.  In 2011 it attracted over 2½ million visitors. Schönbrunn literally means ‘beautiful spring’. The palace was the summer residence of the Habsburgs.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace

My visit took place in March but I could why it is so popular. There were plenty of visitors from all around the world. Visiting on a Sunday meant it felt full and there was some queuing involved. A visit to the Schönbrunn consists of two areas. The palace itself and the gardens.

The Entrance to the Palace.
The Entrance to the Palace.

When touring the palace be aware that you may be hearing the information through the audio guide as you heard in the Imperial Apartments at the Hofburg. Also you are unable to take any photographs. In fact you are not allowed to take any bags into the palace. The tour itself was fascinating and there were some interesting exhibits. However, I felt it do not last too long and was value for money.

My mood changed when I went into the gardens.  This is the real attraction of the Schönbrunn. Despite it being March and weather was a little chilly the gardens looked magnificent. I must have spent at least three exploring.  There were paths leading off to the zoo and woods.  When you climb the hill towards the Gloriette you are treated to splendid views. I found myself taking plenty of photographs.

View of Schönbrunn from the Gloriette
View of Schönbrunn from the Gloriette
The Gardens
The Gardens

I made my way up to the Gloriette. Maybe it is just me but I was disappointed to see it used as a cafe.

The Gloriette
The Gloriette

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to the Schönbrunn Palace, especially the gardens. Sure they would look better in the summer but I feel that it could be too crowded to enjoy. I was glad that I visited in March.

Schönbrunn Palace, Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Vienna

http://www.schoenbrunn.at/en

Nearest U-bahn station – Schönnbrunn

Classic Pass Plus €21.50 (€19.70 with Vienna Card)

Classic Pass €18.50 (€16.70 with Vienna Card)

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Photo of the Week – Midlifewanderlust1965 Himself

This week's photo is slightly different to the norm. It is of myself at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

 

As you can see I look rather pleased with myself. This photo is posted to help celebrate the 1st birthday of the blog.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Zentralfriedhof – Vienna

I know it is an unusual place to visit but I find cemeteries fascinating places to visit because they are full of history. Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) falls into that category.

The Dr. Karl Lueger-Gedächtniskirche
The Dr. Karl Lueger-Gedächtniskirche

Opened in 1874 the cemetery became unique in Vienna as one of the first multi-faith. This was very controversial at the time in a very catholic country. It is now one of the largest cemeteries in Europe. It has become renowned as the final resting place for the following people:

Brahms
Brahms
Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
Schubert
Schubert
Beethoven
Beethoven
Joe Zawinul
Joe Zawinul
Curd Jürgens
Curd Jürgens

There is also a memorial to this composer who was buried in a umarked grave.

Mozart
Mozart

What I found touching were the simple family monuments that had been looked after over the years.

If you are still wandering whether you should visit the Zentralfriedhof may I remind you one of the reasons why cemeteries were established. They were the original green spaces where people could escape from the city. In that respect it does the job as you can escape  with no problem. The quietness and stillness really contrasts with the bustle of Vienna city centre. It made me think of my own mortality and remember the people who I have lost in my life. It also serves as a reminder that life is short and we should make the most of it.

IMG_0026
Three musical greats.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve