Today is my first full day in Vienna, and there is nothing specific planned for the day. However, after getting a little lost yesterday afternoon, I do want to find my way around and learn a little about the city. A day like today is something I will not be able to allow in many cities I visit just due to lack of sufficient time. But since I have the time I am going to make the most of it here in Vienna. That being said I got to see a lot more than I expected today and have a much better appreciation of the city now.
The Danube River
The first stop for the morning was a short walk from the hotel to the Danube River. The river flows through Vienna, along with some other European Countries. Although the title of the song goes “The Blue Danube” the river itself seems to appear more green than blue. However, the grey skies over Vienna this morning might have had something to do with that.
Franz von Assisi Kirche
Not far away is a rather impressive church just back from the river. The church is called Franz von Assisi Kirche (St. Francis of Assisi Church). I did not stop to look inside, as being a Sunday I did not want to interrupt a service. But I think it is a place I will try and return during the week.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
While the above church may look rather impressive, it is very much dwarfed by the largest church in Vienna. St Stephen’s Cathedral sits in Stephansplatz and has its roots in a much smaller church built here in 1147. At the earlier date, a parish church was constructed and consecrated on this site.
From all angles, the building of St Stephen’s Cathedral is not just imposing but intricately detailed. It is rather difficult to take in all the different aspects and pieces that come together to form this building. I could imagine even dedicating weeks or months to exploring the church in detail may not be enough. Even within the smaller details such as the carving below, there is so much to see.
Vienna City Centre
I continued my walk through the city centre, through the area called as Graben, which is a pedestrian mall. It is rather interesting for a Sunday seeing the vast majority of the shops closed. However, there was still a vast number of people walking and sitting around the area. I am not sure just how busy it might turn out to be during the week, so it will be interesting to see.
Talking of interesting sights the next building I came across was also rather impressive. It was not a huge building, but it dominates the small square that it overlooks. On one side is the Imperial Apartments and the other side is The Spanish Riding School.
Part of the square in front of this building is fenced off and has been dug out to show some runs. The ruins are from earlier buildings that were on this site, but all were well below the present street level.
For the afternoon I had arranged to meet a couple of people via the Couch Surfing Website. It turned out to be one guy who is a local and a girl from Thailand. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of Vienna and enjoying some piano music in the foyer of Hause der Musik (House of Music). Along with visits to a couple of different cafes around Vienna. All up it was possibly the best way I could have spent the afternoon.