DigitalFriend Blog

Year of 2004

Day 1

A Trip to Vienna

2004, June/July

We spent a lot of time walking around Vienna, it seems to be one of the best ways to discover a city. Being the middle of summer, the weather was warm but it was very pleasant and perfect for strolling around a beautiful old European city. There are so many beautiful buildings, buildings that have been standing for centuries. The main architectural styles that have influenced the city's buildings are Gothic, Baroque and later the less ornate style of Art Noveu. Vienna has many churches and cathedrals and its main cathedral is situated in the centre of Vienna. The Stephansdom is stunning and stands prominently in a mall-like area of the city, people walk past it or around it in their day to day life and when mass isn't being held, it gets lots of visitors as it is a major tourist attraction, organ concerts are also held there. It is a huge and largely a Gothic building, Gothic as a result of rebuilding in the 14 th and 15 th Century, however the entrance to the cathedral has been retained from the original Romanesque church. The cathedral is blackened around the windows and the roof has been tiled in an amazing pattern, which must have taken ages to complete! We went inside and there are so many different alters, there is an incredibly intricate carved pulpit, a few large organs and the master craftsman of the Stephansdom is immortalised in the carved self-portrait that overlooks the original organ.

Stephansdom CathedralPhoto 1:The Stephansdom Cathedral Stephansdom in the heart of ViennaPhoto 2 : Stephansdom is in the centre of Vienna


I took my daughter L with me to Vienna and while she didn't come to the conference, she did come to the conference dinner held at Schönbrunn Palace. The food was delicious, the company was good, and the venue was spectacular. We dined in the Gloriette, which is a Neo-Classical arcade in the extensive gardens of Schönbrunn, it is situated on a hill behind the palace building and it overlooks Vienna. It was a balmy evening and it made the experience of dinning where once royalty had hung out all the more great. We decided then that we would come back in the daytime to explore the gardens more as they were so beautiful. But alas on returning to Schönbrunn on our last full day in Vienna our experience was very different!

On this day we took a tour of the Palace. The rooms were many and they were all decorated in the very ornate Baroque style, it was interesting but the style is a little over the top. When we got outside the weather had turned but we wanted to stroll around the gardens and see some of the attractions. The gardens house a zoo, a magnificent tropical greenhouse, a hedged maze and a swimming pool. We made it to the Orangery while the clouds in the sky were getting very dark but we didn't make it much further than that because it started pouring rain! The rain was torrential and it was accompanied by thunder and lightning. We looked for shelter but all the gazebos were closed off so we tried to take shelter near one of the sculptures until the rain died down. Unfortunately the rain didn't die down and the sculpture was a hopeless shelter. We ended up getting drenched to the bone. We were carrying our passports in our pockets and they got very soggy, we had to dry them in our hotel room and then flatten them under the TV! It was very lucky our stamps for entering Austria hadn't washed off.

Stormy weather at Schönbrunn


Photo 3: The weather at Schönbrunn turns stormy

The 20 th Century gave rise to revolutionary new styles in Vienna. The artist Gustav Klimpt and architects Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos were at the forefront of the Art Noveu, modernist styles in Vienna. Klimpt's paintings employed the use of gold leaf, bright colours with blocks of colour and swirl patterns. Most of his works are of an erotic, sensual nature and are many of them are displayed in the museums around Vienna. Klimpt's famous The Kiss is displayed in the Upper Belvedere Museum of art along with a collection of his other works, while his Beethoven Frieze is located in The Succession Building, which was just down the road from our hotel. Wagner's architecture is displayed around the city, while you cannot see inside them, the façade's of his apartment buildings are beautiful.

Wagner apartments Photo 4 : One of Otto Wagner's apartments

The inner city of Vienna is divided up into six areas and the hotel we stayed at was in the Belvedere Quarter. Our room was on the third or fourth floor and we had a large window that looked out onto one of Vienna's narrow streets. Breakfast was included in the price and it was served every day in the breakfast room downstairs. The breakfast was quite traditional Viennese, there was a lot of cold meats and thick, rich breads, grainy cereals, yoghurt and various nuts, delicious yellow scrambled eggs with thin crispy bacon but there was no toast, only fresh bread! We had big breakfasts that kept us going until dinner!



Our Hotel Laneway
Photo 5 : Our Hotel Photo 6 : A Laneway

As we wandered around Vienna we saw some very beautiful architecture, interesting façades on shop fronts, parks and little paved laneways. Vienna was once the home of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss and still has a rich musical culture. There are many buskers on the streets of Vienna and they are all so good! The Opera House is a main tourist destination but we didn't end up getting there unfortunately. However we did attend a concert in another performance space one evening and that was very nice.

architecture shopfront
Photo 7 : Architecture in Vienna Photo 8 : A Shopfront


We flew to Vienna via London so on our way back to Australia we stopped in London and stayed for three days. The weather was a lot cooler than it had been in Vienna, the wind was almost icy! We stayed in a hotel near Hyde Park and from there we made our way around London, travelling on the tube and by foot. London has a very iconic transport system, red double-decker buses are everywhere as are the black London cabs and then of course there is the London Underground. We went to many of the tourist destinations including Buckingham Palace, Westminster and Big Ben by the Thames and St Paul's Cathedral. We also thought we should get a birdseye view of London so we had a "flight" on the London Eye. The glass capsules hold quite a few people, but the Eye doesn't stop like a Ferris wheel, you have to jump on, however it does move at an incredibly slow pace so it isn't too dramatic!

Westminster and Big Ben British Museum
Photo 9 :Westminster and Big Ben Photo 10 : The British Museum


We also went to a few museums and galleries. We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum. They both hold an incredible amount of artefacts. Between them they must hold over half the worlds history, a legacy from Imperial times perhaps. We also went to another museum, a technology museum that housed some of the worlds first ever computers!! I managed to get a photo beside one;

first computer L a London Street
Photo 11: One of the first computers Photo 12: On a London Street

We didn't manage to get to the Tate Modern in time, we got there just as it was closing but we did manage to get to its giftshop! But earlier in the day we went to the Tate Britain and we got to see more than the giftshop! We also visited the British Library, which held an impressive collection of books. We had a look at Royal Albert Hall where Elton John was playing that night and had a look, albeit a brief one, around Piccadilly Circus. It was certainly an action packed three days!


About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2006 Solid Software Pty Ltd