Vienna Day 1: First Impressions

I arrived to Vienna this morning - after getting up at 4am, which is not the best way to start a vacation, to be honest - and here are some first impressions. When I arrive to a new city or a new country, I always like to get "lost". Not in a I-don't-know-where-I-am kind of way but I like to just wander around, take the road less taken, get a feel for the place I visit, the people, and so on. If time allows, I only start with the touristy stuff on the second day. Due to today likely being the last sunny day of my vacation I also ended up doing some touristy stuff but see for yourself...
First off was one of Vienna's most famous sights: Stephansdom, Stephanskirche or Saint Stephen's Cathedral. The Romanesque and Gothic church is the city's most important religious building.
And it's seriously impressive! I don't know whether it is the biggest cathedral I ever visited but I don't think any impressed my quite as much by its size alone. It's not the prettiest church I've ever seen but it's size is something else!
As today indeed my just have been the first, last and only day of my vacation with sunny weather, I decided to walk up almost 500 stairs on one of the towers of the Cathedral to get an overview over Vienna.
It might have been a little exhausting but also very worth it. I don't think there are any higher buildings in Vienna, so you get a great overview and especially the roof of the Cathedral with its multi-colour tiles is very lovely.
The view into another direction. I kind of fell in love with the Cathedral's roof. It's just so gorgeous!
The roof also features a number of coats of arms including the imperial double-eagle of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
And off I was to discover a bit of the Graben, a street in the inner city of Vienna. Prominently featured in the picture is the Pestsäule. The "plague column" is a holy trinity column erected after the Great Plague epidemic in 1679.
Some fountain nearby.
And the Peterskirche, a Baroque Roman Catholic parish church near to both Graben and Stephansdom.
And the Fiaker... The horse-drawn carriages Vienna is so famous for. They are allowed a bunch of things, cars aren't.
And the interior of the Peterskirche. Vienna has a lot of pretty churches, which probably isn't too surprising to anyone familiar with either the city or its history.
I actually never imagined just how many Fiaker there would be in Vienna! Gotta admit though that I'm not going to take a carriage ride. Gotta admit again though that I once did just that when I visited Prague many, many years ago.
Here's something I don't really know what it is. I simply saw it on the side of a building, thought it looked interesting and will need to look up what's behind the wall painting.
Yummy yum! L. Heiner, one of the K.u.K. Hoflieferanten meaning that this confectioner was once an imperial and royal purveyor to the court.
Lunch with a view. I don't quite recall the name of the church at the end of the street. I only remember it was a Protestant one.
And the Augustinerkirche. Located next to the Hofburg, the winter palace of the Austrian imperial family, it was the parish church of the imperial court.
Not surprising then that the church also includes some relics of Blessed Emperor Karl, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian empire beatified in 2004.
If you step out of the Augustinerkirche, you will find yourself in front of the Austrian national library.
And on the other side of the street you will find the Palais Pallavicini. Quite some entrance ornaments, non?
One of the entrances into the complex that is the Hofburg palace. To be honest, I never imagined just how big the whole complex is!
In this is only the entrance were all the carriages went through. It's not an actual hall where something is really done.
One part of the Hofburg complex...
...and another.
And the part you usually see when you search for the Hofburg. It's the view from the Heldenplatz and today houses the offices of the President of the Federal Republic of Austria.
Another view, this time from the Volksgarten, an adjoining park.
And another view from the Volksgarten: In the background is the town hall and in the foreground some temple that has an art installation inside.
And another pretty view from the Volksgarten. Not quite sure what the building in the background is though I'm sure that the garden will be even more stunning once all the roses have started to bloom.
And lastly, the Stadtpalais Liechtenstein, owned by the Princely Family of - you guessed it - Liechtenstein. You'll probably see a bit more of this as the week progresses so stay tuned!

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