Friday, August 15 – Wien
Next day, on Friday, August 15, we woke up in a perfect spirit. We slept for the first time on a new European schedule. Breakfast is included, so we ate cheeses and ham and boiled eggs, lots of coffee and tea, and diluted orange juice.
We checked out and moved all our stuff to Mozart Pension. Here we used famous staircase Fillgraderstiege (build in1905-07). Two streets (all streets in Vienna called Gasse) meet each other at different levels, and stairs are needed to connect them. It is interesting architecturally, but also it host a tiny little bar that opens at night and is extremely cozy.
Center of Vienna is surrounded by Ringstrasse (please note that single “s” in the middle of the word here is pronounced like [sh] and double “ss” always pronounced like [ss]) – sort of a boulevard circle. Once it was a city border and footprint of city walls. Around 1860 Emperor Franz Josef demolished the walls and opened up a 200 feet-wide circle around the city.
We jumped into that circle and decided to first explore the Hofburg Imperial Palace. It is not one building, but a series of connected buildings and squares right in the middle of the city. Today it houses museum, and exhibitions, and offices, and libraries, and conference halls, and churches.
Vienna is very relaxing place. All pedestrians obey red traffic lights, every step of the way there are places to eat outside and inside. Smoking is very real thing inside the restaurants, but you always can find a perfect place outside. As in Munich, you have to watch out and not to step on bike paths. Street moderately filled with Italian, Russian, Polish tourists. All other tourists are in minority.
All roads lead to Michaelerplatz in Vienna – a round square that serves as a kind of border between artistic and shopping areas. From Roman times to these days, people return over and over again to this squire. Roman ruins were discovered and unearthed right in the mille of the squire. Here is an entrance to Hofburg complex on south side of the squire and entrance to pedestrian only shopping Kohlmarkt Gasse on the north. And the square itself is a parking spot for innumerable horse carriages – richly smelling, expensive to ride and allegedly romantic.
As soon as wind and approaching rain showed their character we dropped everything and found our way to Figlmüller restaurant recommended by Galina from Pension Mozart. They are famous for their very thin schnitzel size of a human head. I immediately called it German Crêpe.
While eating we saw that rain got its way. Tourist disappeared and afternoon heat dissipated. A gust of strong wing deposited us in the central Stephansdom church, where Lira put on long black skirt and long-sleeved black shirt. I found a place on the bench and started to examine Vienna guide.
I was struck by the fact that one the squares that we visited earlier this day was the side of the best preserver Roman excavations in town. Back then it was call Vindabona. We retraced our steps and enter a tiny museum for 4€ x 2 = 8€ exactly 35 minutes before closing time.
To see the uncovered remains you need to go downstairs under the street level. Here you see a remaining floor of the Roman barracks supported by a number of densely-placed brick columns no more than 2 feet high. It turns out that Roman where using wood stoves to burn wood and channel the heat through walls and underneath floors. Amazing that 2000 years ago Roman already were building warm quarters for their solders in a very, very remote outpost of the empire. I think that they felt that this far to the North they have to make special preparations for northern winter.
We returned “home” to put more warm clothes on, we skipped supper, and visited a house nearby where Franz Schubert died in 1828. On the way we crossed dark and unfriendly Naschmarkt that looked like a bunch of run down barns covered with graffiti.
To prepare for out next and last day in Vienna Lira took all the maps and guides that we brought with us and accumulated during the day and started to plan our exact trip from one landmark to the next. Plus we discovered a rich history about our very own Pension Mozart on Theobaldgasse 15.
Navigate through the List
- 01 European Trip 2008 to Austria and Italy – Preparations (2018/02/28)
- 02 Trip to Austria and Italy – August 13-14 – First Steps in Wien (2018/03/04)
- 03 Trip to Austria and Italy – August 15, 2008 – Wien (2018/03/08)
- 04 Trip to Austria and Italy – August 16, 2008 – Wien (2018/03/12)
- 05 Trip to Austria and Italy – August 17, 2008 – Salzburg (2018/03/16)