Vienna

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
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27
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Trip End May 15, 2010


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Twenty percent of Austria's population lives in Vienna. During World War II, when Austria was a much larger country, large buildings were built, and as the population down sized, the size of the buildings remained the same. So in a sense, the city of Vienna is small with large buildings. The subways, and any national vehicle are red and white to match the country's flag. In the mid 19th century an order was given to knock part of the wall down, making it a horseshoe shape. Back in the day it there was 55 million people with 12 different languages; now there is 10 percent of past real estate with 8 million people.

There are 120 museums in town. On every street corner is a museum, (one could equate it to a starbucks). One of the museums here holds the 5th best collection of art in terms of quantity. Hitler was rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts three times. Near the Academy of Fine Arts, there is a stature put up by the Russians. The Austrians do not like it, but cannot take it down, so they put a fountain in front of it to try and "hide" the statue. Also close by is a hotel Clinton spend the night at a couple of years ago which over looks the Iraq Embassy (Ironic). The Imperial Hotel, which is next door, costs 3,500 Euro for a junior suite not including breakfast, which is reserved for famous people (Queen Elizabeth, Rolling Stones). Here you have your own butler who delivers your own hand-ironed newspaper each morning.

Near the city center, there is a place for “young adults” to put on operas. It is a school with a very long waiting list and the students are in charge of put on a new opera on every night.

Mozart is buried in Vienna and spent the last ten years of his life here.

The Imperial Palace still exists down town with over 2,000 rooms. There are signs on some of the buildings that say K and K, which meant it was a shop that catered to the Imperial Family. There is only one city gate left in all of Vienna, the rest were town down when the orders for the wall were ordered.

Also on our tour we saw the Parliament building. The architect designed it after a Greek style building because he wanted people to always remember that democracy stemmed from the Greeks.

There are six major universities in Vienna. The oldest German speaking university resides here founded in 1365. Near the university, there is a pinkish mid evil castle tucked in among the city buildings, which is now used as a police station, (the building looks very much out of place).

Thirty percent of the original buildings were destroyed during World War II. When they rebuilt the city, many modern buildings were built. The city is a cross between large glass buildings and a few sky scrappers and castles and Gothic churches. Vienna owns one third of the houses and is the largest landowner in all of Europe. The houses are given to low-income families. Each of the country owned houses are scattered all over the city to prevent class division.

Random fact: last year Vienna spent three million euros on tulip bulbs.

During our bus tour though the city, we stopped at an apartment complex for lack of better words, which a young architect created using no straight lines or 90 degree angles. All the floors, stairs and wall had a wavy effect. Andi and I split what looked like soft serve ice cream covered in chocolate sauce in a cake cone. However it was a sugared cream, but it was light and had the same substance as marshmallow but not as sweet. It was like eating air, it was very filling and not real sweet. I am still not sure what to think about it. After we finished our bus tour, we went on a walking tour of the city. We started at a large Gothic church and made a circle around the town. We saw the Imperial Palace up close, the famous white horses, the courtyard of a house, and all of the shops. The tour was helpful, but very hard to hear the tour guide while we were walking around so I know I missed what a lot of stuff was. After our walking tour, everyone broke off into smaller groups and went exploring. Randi, Andi, Paige and I had lunch and than started our walk toward the carnival/ ferries wheel area. Along the way we stopped at “Vienna’s best ice cream” recommended by the tour guide. The ice cream was amazing. Each sundae looked more glamorous than the last. There was one that was called the spaghetti sundae which was vanilla ice cream put though a meat grinder to look like spaghetti, with strawberry sauce to look like red sauce and powdered coconut to look like parmesan cheese. After we eat our ice cream, we continued walking but paused for a bit so we could walk along the side of the canal and sit on the grass in the shade of the big trees. When we finally got to the carnival we were ready to do all sorts of rides. The carnival is around all year long and is set up like a boardwalk. There are all sorts of people from different walks of life. It was not like the six flags at home. There were old German women in black skirts and their bright blue scarves tied down around their faces riding bumper cars. The range of people you saw there was amazing. We went on four different rides; you paid per ride. The first one we did we were on our stomachs riding around like superman going on a roller coaster. The second was a regular roller coaster except you sat two by two in a vertical line. The third was the swings which was nice and gentile and we saw all of Vienna from up top. The last one just Paige and I went on. It was like a giant swing where we swung but would flip around.           
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