All photos taken June 23, 1984.
Another day, another continental breakfast of fruit juice, rolls and coffee. Sigh.
As our hotel was on the outskirts of Vienna, we boarded the bus to head into downtown for our day of sight seeing. We started at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral (more commonly known by its German title: Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365) and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147. The most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history and has, with its multi-coloured tile roof, become one of the city’s most recognizable symbols.
The cathedral was a marvel and we were also able to climb all the way up the bell tower to enjoy the views. We spent an hour on our visit, before climbing on the bus for a short drive…
…to the Belvedere Palace complex (Belvedere Schlossgarten)
Belvedere is a historic building complex in Vienna, Austria, consisting of two Baroque palaces (the Upper and Lower Belvedere), the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the third district of the city, on the south-eastern edge of its centre. It houses the Belvedere museum. The grounds are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Baroque palace complex was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy.
The Belvedere was built during a period of extensive construction in Vienna, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling Habsburg dynasty. This period of prosperity followed on from the commander-in-chief Prince Eugene of Savoy’s successful conclusion of a series of wars against the Ottoman Empire.
The lower palace was constructed between 1714 and 1726.
The upper palace was constructed between 1717 to 1723.
We paused for lunch and enjoyed Fritatesuppe (Austrian pancake soup), salad, Vienna schnitzel, French fries and coke. It was all delicious. Then it was off for more exploring.
Our next stop was the Vienna State Opera, where we spent about an hour.
The Vienna State Opera (German: Wiener Staatsoper) is an opera house and company based in Vienna, Austria. The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the “Vienna Court Opera” (Wiener Hofoper) in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The Vienna State Opera is the successor of the Vienna Court Opera, the original construction site chosen and paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1861.
The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera’s orchestra. The building is also the home of the Vienna State Ballet, and it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season.
We were given a bit of free time for a coffee break and several of us elected to have kaffee mit schlag and Sacher torte at the Sacher Hotel. At $30 for two, it was a “Can You Dig it” moment, in those days.
One more tour stop, before returning to our hotel. We were headed to the Kaisergruft beneath the Capuchin Church.
The Imperial Crypt (German: Kaisergruft), also called the Capuchin Crypt (Kapuzinergruft), is a burial chamber beneath the Capuchin Church and monastery in Vienna. It was founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632, and located on the Neuer Markt square of the Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace. Since 1633, the Imperial Crypt serves as the principal place of entombment for the members of the House of Habsburg. The bones of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses. The visible 107 metal sarcophagi and five heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. Some of the dozen resident Capuchin friars continue their customary role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt, along with their other pastoral work in Vienna.
Touring done for the day, we took the bus to our new hotel and it was indeed very nice. Too bad, we were not going to spend much time there.
Our friends John and Dean, from the Sacher Hotel experience convinced us that we should take the tram into downtown for a marvelous local supper at……………………McDonalds. Now, on the surface, this sounds a bit (well, maybe, a lot) silly. But the underlying motive at the time was that you could have a beer with your burger and fries. I was in, but Pat was not so sure.
Waiting for the train to return to our hotel, we were chatting with some locals who were asking where we were from and what we thought of Vienna. My wife opined that is was all Amazing. They thought she had said Mayerling, which is a small in Lower Austria. Isn’t communication in a foreign country fun?