Saturday, July 09, 2016

Vienna Notes...

We've spent a few enjoyable days in the beautiful city of Vienna... In random order I record a few impressions:

--- Historic downtown Vienna has such very interesting architecture and St. stephen's Cathedral, one of the city's most beloved landmarks is magnificent with its Gothic south tower and baroque altar pieces. Every night from our sixth floor apartment just a stone's throw away, we see the Cathedral lit up and it is truly beautiful. During the many walks (and one fun horse carriage ride which the kids loved!) through downtown Vienna we saw other examples of fine architecture and sculpture in this one of Europe's most historic cities.

--- Our little girls loved Vienna just as much as we did and one of the reasons for that, apart from the incredible child-friendliness of the city (and we live in Amsterdam so the bar is pretty high) was the Schonnbrun palace and zoo. The zoo gardens are a World a Heritage Site but even before we got to visit all its attractions (my favorite was Gloriette Hill) on the panorama train,  the family fell in love with the ice bear! And before that the kids climbed the wooden outpost to try looking out for foxes!

--- We ate every kind of wurst, drank beer and tried out amazing pastries and other Viennese sweet treats, we also did what I truly enjoy doing on these trips as we always choose to live in short stay apartments rather than hotels, shop in local supermarkets and delis. I was happy to find a different kind of Spar here, more upscale than our neighborhood one, the Spar is called Spar Gourmet here and had a wide selection of food fruit etc as well as a nice deli section.

--- Taxis in Vienna are relatively cheap, the drivers are friendly and relaxed. Cabs are not the spotless kinds you find in Amsterdam but then they are about half the fare and very easily available. The Kunsthistorichesmuseum with the Natural history museum housed in the identical building opposite was another family favorite. My nine-year-old was fascinated with the story behind Breughel's Tower of Babel while she and her younger sister spent a few enthralled hours later at the natural history museum where skillful taxidermy was the subject of much discussion though the dinosaurs won the day hands down.

--- My personal shopping quest on this trip was the prefect ring! I found it at a lovely little jewelry shop tucked away in one of the alleys off Stephenplatz -- a beautiful coral and gold creation!! Vienna has truly charming jewelry and paper shops and I didn't spend as much time as I could have browsing these in our neighborhood!

---Freud lived and worked in this house, Bergasse 19 in Vienna's ninth district from 1891 till 1938 when he was forced by National Socialists to flee into exile in England. There is something thrilling about walking through the premises where Dr Freud actually worked, his worn leather work bag with his initials on it and a few other personal items create a sense of intimacy even after all these years. Original furnishings including the waiting room and signed works of Freud as well as film material showing the Freud family in the 1930s all help to recreate the world of Dr Freud.
Though I did enjoy this little gem of a museum I have to say the museum shop was borderline ridiculous in its offerings. A little more thought and creativity can be put into what is up for sale and silly mouse pads and coffee mugs can give way to something that befits its cerebral subject a little more.