Vienna, Austria I

Monday, December 20, 2010

As already mentioned, we are taking a break this week from our Turkey posts in order to share snowy Vienna, Austria with you, in honor of Christmas.


Vienna was not in our original plans and we thought we were going to miss winter this year. Even though Christmas is my most beloved holiday, I was kind of excited to skip it one year and miss all the hectic shopping, traffic, and fuss by running away with my husband. But when everyone back home in Seattle was continually posting things online about winter and unusual amounts of snow and Christmas music and peppermint lattes and holiday parties, I was a little bummed that we were missing it all. Plans changed, as you already know.

When we first arrived in Vienna, the city was covered in a blanket of snow and the flakes still coming down. I was grinning from ear to ear. We decided on Vienna at the last minute, had never looked at a map, and had no place to stay. We were dragging our luggage around town on the snowy sidewalks, which usually gets me frustrated and exhausted, but I was in the clouds. I didn’t mind. The streets were strung with lights, the restaurants adorned with Christmas touches, the shop windows covered in snowflakes and ornaments. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. When I found out Vienna had a Christmas market, I could hardly keep it together. We ended up finding a comfortable place to stay with a kitchen, which is a major luxury when traveling for an extended period of time. After buying boots, gloves, (matching) hats, and gloves, we were set.

Vienna is a gorgeous city. Yuriy said it was his favorite thus far (I can’t decide). The city has a “ring street” that is lined with amazing architecture and statues left and right. Rows of trees and big open plazas felt very European. Vienna is home to a couple palaces and has a royal history. There are so many beautiful buildings, that after a while you don’t even know or care what they are… just walk and appreciate.

Vienna is a city of the arts. It’s long been known for its musical background—Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Johann Strauss called it home. There were several cafes named after them and museums in honor of the composers. Several artists came from Vienna, the most famous being Klimt. We really liked the museum quarter in the center of the city, which is lined with art museums. Vienna has a rep for being a city for old, rich, snobby people and I found it hilarious how many people on the streets were decked out in luscious fur coats and hats—mostly elderly people. I was blown away with how nice everyone was dressed on the streets. It was a big contrast from the smaller cities we were used to in Turkey, Greece, and Croatia (our last three countries).  The city is famous for the traditional Viennese cafe, no nightlife, and early risers. We noticed that the cold didn't keep anyone inside. When it snows even a tad back home, the city shuts down. Here, we noticed there were a ton of women walking with baby strollers-- in the snow! It was so pleasant to see so many kids in the city. In the evening, crowds of people hung out in the cold, sipping hot mulled wine. Horse drawn carriages trotting down the snowy cobblestone streets beside beautiful old churches seriously looked like Christmas greeting cards. The city is expensive, but very clean and well taken care of. It really did feel like a high-end city.

We squeezed in a lot during our 3 day stay in Vienna—a ton of sightseeing, a visit to the historical Sch├Ânbrunn Palace, a ballet date night, a trip to MUMOK art museum, and several trips to the delightful Christmas markets. Our upcoming posts will cover several of these more in depth, but I think I'm most excited about our Vienna winter fashion post.

- Julia

[graphics: The Graphics Fairy, font: DaFont]

20 comments :

  1. you two stir up great bouts of wanderlust in me!

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  2. ooooh i love every bit of it. vienna is such a magical place!!

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  3. Stunning! Love how white everything is. Really beautiful :)
    x
    Nicole

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  4. a white Christmas indeed, how exciting. I will be awaiting your Vienna Fashion post as all those old people in luscious furs sounded so decadent.

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  5. It's so nice being able to see Vienna again..even if only through photos! I was lucky enough to visit Vienna on my way back from Poland to Switzerland this summer (unfortunately, only for a few hours). It's become one of my favorite cities and I can't wait to go back and explore!
    Your comments about the Christmas market reminded me of the Christmas market I went to here in Basel, Switzerland. If you're interested and get a chance: http://fourleafcloverblog.com/?p=306

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  6. So beautiful. This might have to go on my bucket list of places to see.

    The Cheeky Cafe

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  7. It's breathtaking! The fashion post is definitely going to be quite interesting.

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  8. Thank you for the beautiful photos. I visited Vienna this summer, and the city stole my heart. Now I can't wait to go back and enhale its magic!

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  9. Oh I'm so jealous. Vienna is such a beautiful city and you are right it is expensive. I love how I can look at your pictures and notice the exact places I stood and took pictures of also. So cool. Stay warm

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  10. It looks magical! What a perfect place to be around the holidays. The "no nightlife" bit kind of reminds me of Brussels. On the first night we arrived, all the restaurants were closing up at 9ish and they take a long break in the middle of the day. I don't know how anyone makes any money over there!

    Happy Holidays you two!

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  11. Eva- I'm sure Vienna is so different in the summer. Every city we go to, we feel like we can't quite check it off our list because we still want to return and explore in the summer.

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  12. Mina- Yeah.. Europeans know how to take it easy with their long lunches. I loved your Brussels posts. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. Beautiful Buildings!!
    I love the one with the Big Red Bow around it!


    Pearl

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  14. Living in Vienna. Not true with "no nightlife". Tourists that mostly only hang around the 1st district (luckily) do not find the nightlife action. Vienna has developed to a young urban city with a very interesting contemporary music and art scene. Since Vienna heavily funds cultur and art it is the place to move to as artist these days

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  15. We just got back from visiting Vienna for our 1st anniversary and I loved the city; your photos, which are all stunning, are making me want to go back in winter!

    We also spent a couple of days in nearby Bratislava, did you make it there?

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  16. Gaynor- No we didn't get to visit Bratislava. When we were in Vienna, we felt like so many incredible cities were just a short train ride away! We were really tempted with Munich and Prague, but went to Budapest instead since it was on the way (to Ukraine). The luxury of Europe!

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  17. Oh I know everything is so close to Vienna; Ive never been to Budapest either so another to add to the list.

    When we were at the station in Bratislava I just kept looking at the list of all the places you could get to from there; Prague is worth a visit if you ever get a chance to go back.

    Next up on our list of possible trips it maybe Tallinn / Helsinki or Riga which are also so close together!

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  18. Ahhh! This may be an old post but these pictures are beautiful. I lived in Vienna for six months as a student four years ago and I STILL miss it. By far the best city I've ever experienced. One day I'll go back for the Christmas markets... but the Lent and Easter markets were amazing too!

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