My Virtual Vacation Day 16—Wien (Vienna)

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Wien (Vienna) in Austria.

I didn’t know what to expect from Vienna except that that Mozart lived there for a while and my parents told me that they were terrible to Jews even before the Nazis. Vienna was a surprising delight. Maybe it was the great hotel we stayed at or maybe seeing the
famous stalions at the Spanish Riding School or maybe the great food and music, whatever it was Vienna was very special. They also have one of the best Jewish History Museums in the world.

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Nymphenburg Palace

Karlskirche Wien

Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Wien.

The Hotel Bristol Wien

Karlsplatz Wien

Schloss Nymphenburg

Wien (Vienna) in Monochrome

Since I am traveling virtually this year I am revisiting places I have been and editing some my images in Monochrome. One of the best images I have ever produced was taken in Vienna in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. It was part of my exhibition, Moments and Souls and is entitled Doppleganger. In revisiting Wien I found a few more images well suited for treatment in monochrome.

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Doppelganger

Mozart’s Hobbit Hole

Visiting Mozarts house in Vienna was a wonderful experience. Just knowing you were in exactly the place where he wrote some of the world’s most beautiful music was overwhelming.

I looked out of the windows thinking the view was not much different than the view he saw. This door is the entry to the house. I don’t know if it is the original door but the roundness made me think of Tolkien’s Hobbits.

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Mozart’s Hobbit Hole

Stolen Art at Museum Judenplatz Wien

The Jewish Museum of Vienna is a fascinating and well curated collection. The displays are thoughtful and well presented. Although some sections brought tears to my eyes. Some I viewed with amazement. One area did both.

This is a picture of one part of the 4th floor archive archive. It is filled with all the valuable Torah decorations that the Nazis stole form the European Jews. They burned all the scrolls but kept all the decorations made of gold and silver.

It bears repeating that this picture is only one section. The whole third floor of the museum is filled with other glass cases just like this.

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Stolen Art

St. Stephen’s Cathedral Roof

St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is like no other because of its glorious tiled roof. The south side of the Cathedral has the choir loft covered with 230,000 glazed tiles. The mosaic forms the the double-headed eagle that is symbolic of the Habsburg dynasty. The roof is so steep that it is sufficiently cleaned by the rain alone and it is never covered with snow.

This photograph only shows one half of the roof. I would have needed a crane to capture the entire roof.

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St, Stephens Mosaic Roof

Mozart Lives!

Every big city has its street hustlers. In NYC there are the guys selling fake Rolex watches, in Honolulu it’s guys selling cruises and snorkel tours but Vienna has its own breed. Many guys of different appearance in white wigs and costumes selling tickets to Mozart concerts.

Vienna is a city of music and every night at multiple venues there are different concerts of mostly Mozart. Mozart is a really big deal in Vienna where he lived for a period. The hustle is the same but it does seem to be slightly higher class.

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Mozart Lives

Acid Rain at Saint Stephens

Of course I am not a Catholic or Christian for that matter but appreciate visiting ancient churches. Cathedrals in Europe are some of the most wonderful examples of architecture in the world. I also had a special interest in Stephansdom. Stephen is my middle name and Saint Stephen is one of my favorite Grateful Dead Songs.

In any case I was shocked to see the toll acid rain has taken on the cathedral when we visited in 2016. I was use to seeing this on other cathedrals in Europe but because of the colorful special roof of this edifice it was even more disheartening.

As you can see they are making progress in the restoration but like other ancient structures it is a constant battle.

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Acid Rain at Saint Stephens

Waiting in Isolation

Outside of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) in Vienna the carriages wait for tourists. I saw a number of the drivers looking at their cellphones like this man. It occurred to me that in other times the men would probably gather together to share stories while they waited. There might have even be laughter or shouting as they shared the trials and tribulations of their jobs.

In our new society of isolation each man is alone with their virtual self and waiting for the world around them to deliver a fare. Forced isolation rather the sharing brotherhood with their fellow horsemen.

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Waiting in Isolation

Lunch in The Park Vienna

Vienna reminds me a little of Paris. The Architecture, streets and even the underground are similar. In both cities it is also popular for workers to take their lunches in the many city parks weather permitting.

This young lady was enjoying a quiet moment on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria.

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Lunch in The Park Vienna

Karlsplatz Wien

We stayed at the Hotel Bristol in Wien (Vienna) which is literally steps away from the Karlsplatz Metro Station. On a rainy day we ducked into the station to avoid the rain. There is a shopping mall and cafes underground where we had breakfast, bought a hat and strolled under the street to emerge in Karlsplatz park.

The rain had stopped and the view was beautiful as we strolled through Vienna.

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Karlsplatz Wien