Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vienna Day 8: A Walk Around the Ringstraße and More

My last day in Vienna was last Tuesday and I'm finally coming around to also share my impressions of the last day with you. Sorry for that and thank you to all those who sent me kind messages during the last week and a half sharing their stories of Vienna and more or simply saying how much they enjoyed my travelogues. Here there are once again in case you missed any:

Vienna Day 1: First Impressions
Vienna Day 2: Hofburg, Imperial Crypt, and More
Vienna Day 3: Belvedere, Karlskirche, Furniture, and More
Vienna Day 4: Schönbrunn, Liechtenstein Times Two, and Not Much More
Vienna Day 5: Artstetten, Melk, and Other Bits
Vienna Day 6: Art Museums and Sachertorte
Vienna Day 7: Best of Bratislava and More 

And now onto my last day: I had actually planned to visit the famous Ringstraße, a circular road surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna built between the 1860's and the 1890's in place of the city walls, on a sunny day. However, as good weather never came back after it had left Vienna on m first day there, I had to do it on rainy day instead.
And it was really rain. So rainy, I decided to take the touristy tram to around the Ring. However, I quickly decided to do it by foot as well afterwards as there were simply too many buildings and such I wanted to have a proper look at. Here are a few impressions from my walk around the circular road. Above is the Urania, a public educational institute and observatory.
The K.u.k. Kriegsministerium, or imperial and royal ministry of war, with an equestrian monument of Field Marshal Count Joseph Radetzky of Radetz, one of the most famous and celebrated military leaders of the monarchy.
The Palais Coburg, once built for Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and now a luxury hotel. Fun fact: It was nicknamed Spargelburg (castle of asparagus) by the people of Vienna due to the many columns.
One of the most photographed monuments of Vienna: A memorial dedicated to Johann Strauß, the Son, you might also know as the 'waltz king'.
The Schwarzenberg Platz square featuring a statue of Prince Karl Philipp of Schwarzenberg, an Austrian field marshal during the Napoleonic wars.
You might not now its exterior but certainly what goes on in there: The Musikverein building is home to the Vienna Philharmonics and thus the famous New Year's Concert.
A bit of a detailed view of the Vienna State Opera mainly due to the fact that I was on the wrong side of the road to take a picture of the entire building.
You should now both of these from previous days of my travels: The Burgtor gate in the foreground and the town hall in the background.
Also familiar from previous days: Austria's parliament building.
Another view of the beautiful roses in the Burggarten with the dome of either the Kunsthistorisches Museum or the Naturhistorisches Museum in the background. (I believe it is the former.)
The K.u.k. Hofburgtheater, today usually only Burgtheater but still one of the most famous and prestigious theatres in the German-speaking world.
The Rathaus (town hall) were they were just removing the last remnants of the Eurovision Song Contest...
...while the trams were still showing their support (#noticetheflags).
Touring the Ringstraße also gave me the chance to have another look at the Votivkirche, which was closed the other time I was there. The neo-Gothic church was built following an assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Joseph I at the urging of one of his brothers, the future Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, to thank God for saving the Emperor's life.
It was dedicated in 1879, the year of the silver wedding anniversary of the Emperor and his wife, the famous Elisabeth 'Sisi'. These days, it sadly has a rather large ad by Coca Cola on its front while it's being restored.
Then I left the Ringstraße, which I had actually already done by visiting the Votivkirche, and simply roamed around the city for the remainder of the day. I saw lots of stuff like the Palais Schönborn-Batthyány above though I didn't take pictures of everything.
You remember this though? I saw it a few days earlier, thought it looked interesting, but didn't know what it was. Turns out, it's a fire station! Yes, a fire station. I guess in Vienna everything is a little different...
At some point - starting with this picture of the Palais Collalto - I also started using my phone to take pictures as cleaning my camera lens for the gazillionth time from water drops got kind of annoying.
The memorial to the 65,000 murdered Austrian Jews in the Holocaust at Judenplatz square. Behind it is the Jewish museum, which I really want to visit when I return to Vienna. (Yes, when. It's not a question of 'if', I liked it to much for that!)
The old town hall somewhere nearby (as I don't remember the name of the street and am too lazy to look it up).
One shop that already caught my attention on the first day of my visit. It's called Zur schwäbischen Jungfrau, which translates to "To the Swabian virgin". No, not a joke. The shop was opened in 1720, making it the oldest shop in Vienna, and was was a purveyor to the imperial and royal court. What they sell? Linen.
Often when walking down Viennese streets you think that some building simply must be a sight because it just looks special. However, many times, it's not because Vienna simply has many, many beautiful buildings. I mean, even H&M is in a pretty building.
I also stopped by A.E. Köchert, another purveyor to the Habsburg court, creator of many glorious tiaras and other jewels, including the famous diamond stars worn by Empress Elisabeth. (Though I guess I couldn't afford anything despite the discount you get when you have a Vienna Ticket. I say 'I guess' as I better did not have a look at the prices.)
Apparently the Palais Starhemberg, another one of the empire's numerous noble families who also had a home in Vienna, though it didn't have any of those signs most other sights in Vienna have.
I also saw a bunch of other things like a Greek Church and many other beautiful buildings but possibly the best thing I did was ending my week in Vienna in truly Viennese style with a Melange coffee and a Topfenstrudel at the famous Café Hawelka. Yummy!
And then I was homebound. The end.

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