Nom de Plumage

January 28, 2013

So Much Beauty and Culture In Vienna

sightseeing. I know, that no matter how many days or weeks I stay in any given city, it will never be enough to see all that I want. So not to  whinge on what I have missed, I am grateful for what I have seen. Plus, I like to believe there will always be a next time. This morning, my room-mate hampers my departure, with a kind offer of driving me into the city. I unwisely said yes and was left waiting for 45 minutes before we leave the hostel. But we eventually leave and I finally arrive in the city just before 10 am.

My first day in any new city, is a day of exploring, with no agenda or sites planned. It may seem a day wasted and yet, I see it as a day of freedom to experience the joy of discovering things that are  in any ‘guide book’. It is such a beautiful city and so easy to find one bearings, that I never fear that I may get lost.

Hofburg Palace Christmas Market entrance

Hofburg Palace Christmas Market entrance


The ever impressive Town Hall in the background

Vienna spoils my senses, for it not only has one of the most beautiful of Christmas Markets, it has three vibrant huge markets, all within proximity of each other. I choose the biggest (of course) at Hofburg Palace. Crowded with tourists and locals, the ever presence of smells, colours and all things Christmas delight my senses and I start my tour with a stop at a food stall for a delicious hot chocolate and banana crêpe accompanied with a glass of hot gluwien. I have to say, that my diet since I have started my travels, has all but disintegrated and how can I help it, with all the tempting food on offer. I love good food, not the cheap nasty take-aways full of fat and sugar, but the rich mouth-watering flavours of Europe. And here is the best part, I have actually lost weight, not gained and that it attributed to all the walking and food.

The massive grounds of the Hofburg Palace are directly opposite the Town Hall. You enter this élite world through a massive gate and walk the wide driveway past the impressive architecture that gives a whole new meaning to splendour and wealth. A royal family who dominated Europe through the ages, is all but a memory now, but their glamorous world of power and politics is on full display for the ever impressed tourist. I for one, am not immune to the sights before me and can only wonder at the glory days that are sadly no more. There is much to see and do within these grounds, that I decide to leave it for tomorrow and continue my walk through the back entrance and into a boulevard of shops and delights.

When you live in a country such as Australia, where the architecture is more modern and the buildings are  predominately of glass and steel, you really come to appreciate a city that is built for beauty and to survive the ages. Buildings that are centuries old and carved of stone. One of my favourite stone carvings, and one that is shared with Budapest, is above and around the main entrance to a building,  chiselled men/women in fine detail, with the expression of either pain or exertion on their faces, as they hold the weight of the buildings on their shoulders. Utterly unique and so tender to witness these faces that I have never seen before and believe never will. St Stephen's Cathedral

The cathedral of St Stephen’s is at the end of the very long and wide boulevard of shops. But when I got my first glimpse, I was again confronted by my bad luck again of a major tourist sight undergoing renovations. So I was left with a poor expression of something that I could only imagine are very beautiful. The ravages of war have left their black charred mark on the outer façade and from the pictures within the cathedral of what the true impact of the war really did, I was grateful that there was something left to see and appreciative of the continuous renovations and dedication of the many people involved in the preservation for future generations. The interior of the St Stephen’s is very dark and gothic and where elegance and grandeur of Italy’s cathedral is to be admired, the simplicity and humbleness of this icon is not  less diminished.

Speaking of simplicity, my dinner is purchased at a bakery. There are times when a sandwich of fresh salad, cheese and ham on a crusty white bun, accompanied with a traditional Viennese pastry, is all that one can dream of after a long day of walking. Too much richness can spoil the waistline and blow the budget and with my dinner purchased, I make my way back to the hostel for another three-hour marathon of torture by my room-mate.Superman in stone.Wonder woman  in stone.



  1. Personally I haven’t found the Chritsmas markets in Vienna were that beautiful, but it is true that it is a really wonderful city. It’s that kind of place where you have the feeling that even if you came back there something like ten times, you would always discover something new!

    Comment by etheldreds — January 29, 2013 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your reply. Please humour me a little, for in Australia, we have no Xmas markets and so ANY market is beautiful to me. As for Vienna……I am glad you are of the same opinion as I. A really beautiful city and one I hope to visit again. Happy blogging and thank you.

      Comment by nomdeplumage — January 30, 2013 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

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