Austria Tourist Travel

Adventure and Intrigue in Elegant Vienna

Vienna Austria offers what appears to be endless adventure and intrigue.  All this despite being 106 years removed as the most powerful and influential city of one of the most powerful dynasties mankind has known.

A Tidbit of Background

The House of Habsburg (H of H), also known as House of Austria ruled a great deal of Europe from 1273 to 1918.  If you are counting, that is 645 years.  Vienna started as the Throne of the Holy Roman Empire.  Through marriage of all kinds, H of H produced Kings for over 17 different countries.  Make Arranged Marriage Not War could have been their motto.

Vienna was the center of almost all things H of H.  Therefore it drove much of the cultural, architectural, and economic aspects we know today. New York, London, and Paris technically passed Vienna on these fronts in the 20th Century.  However, on closer inspection, I would argue Vienna might have lost the Battle (to these cities) but Won the War.

Most Livable City

Vienna has been voted the most livable city in the world by organizations such as The Economist and The Smithsonian for the past 10 years. Some years it is #1 and others #2 – often slugging it out with Copenhagen Denmark for the top spot. For the past few decades, the Top 10 have usually been the same cities.  Except for Osaka Japan. Linda and I have visited all.

If it was required of me to move to a big city, I would choose Vienna in a heartbeat.

Yellow – Uli’s home. Orange – Streetcar. Blue – Subway/Metro. Red – walking.

Our Visit

Linda and I visited Vienna for four days.  We covered a great deal of ground – walking 6-10 miles a day, However, some more time in Vienna would have been fun. One advantage for us is we stayed in the home of a fellow member of HomeExchange,  It was a Penthouse unit of a building inside the major ring of the city. Almost all of the sites we desired to visit were reached with a 5 to 40 minute walk.

The location of Uli’s home allowed Linda and I the opportunity to walk to the desired site and take in all kinds of streets and neighborhoods of the city on the way.  What a joy to experience.

So what about the visit to Vienna stood out the most?

Last But Not Least

Adventure in Opera

Vienna offers the finest culture today’s world can provide.  At the same time, Vienna also offers relatively similar to the general public at 1/10th the price.  The Vienna Opera House is considered by many to be the best in the world at what is does.  The People’s Opera offers remarkable things as well.

Linda and I chose The People’s Opera.  The People’s Opera was located only three blocks from Uli’s home. In between was the immensely popular Cafe’ Weimar – serving the local’s since 1900.  The restaurant offers Viennese cuisine plus live music including operettas & jazz.  I was able to experience the music and eat Weiner schnitzel with spaetzli.

Lipizzaner Stallions and Their Environs Dazzle

My expectations for experiencing the Lipizzaner Stallions in person were high.  I feared too high.  Linda and I were able to see the horses, where they live in the city, their training center, where the horses perform, and the people who work for them.  Every aspect of what we experienced exceeded our expectations.

The Lipizzaner horse is one of the oldest breeds in Europe.  It is bred for its beauty, strength and athleticism in Austria since the 1500’s.  The Spanish Riding School was started in Vienna around 1572.  It is considered the preeminent classical riding school in the world.  The people and the horses train separately and together for years, before performing in public.


For more on the Lipizzaner Stallions and the Spanish Riding School go [here].  The Stallions, The Riding School and their farm were almost lost in WWII.  A remarkable level of bravery and honor by Allies and Adversary’s in war took place to save them from death and destruction.  The story is [here]

Gustav Klimt For Unexpected Reasons

Austrian Gustav Klimt is mostly known for his erotic presentation of the human female accompanied by strong elements of Gold.  His highest profile works, The Kiss, The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (aka Woman in Gold) and Judith and the Head of Holofernes were completed in this “Gold Period.”  He also helped create Vienna Secession movement.  The Secession, was a group of artists who left left the Austrian Artists Union in protest over the Union’s limiting restrictiveness.

While I was able to see these “Gold” period works, it was Klimt’s other works that won me over.  The variety of styles by Klimt is wide and impressive. Portraitures, landscapes, and Impressionism pieces by Klimt were also displayed in the museums of Vienna.

Portrait of a Women

An Operating City Center

Vienna is all about enjoying today, commerce, and respecting and celebrating aspects of its history.  Almost every street was a pleasure to walk. The museum’s are endless and worth visiting as much as is possible.  The travel sights ranking one over the other, and suggesting duplication – are wrong way more often than not.

*** Jeff’s Thoughts and Other Worthless Trivia ***

There is simply no-way I can cover Vienna to the degree with which it pleases me.  My suggestion – go – just go there and explore.

Vienna Film

The Academy Award Winning movie The Third Man (1949) is a dandy. It is set (and filmed) in Post WWII Vienna.  It was a blast to walk and stand in the same places filmed almost 75 years earlier.  AA Winner Carol Reed (Night Train to Munich, Odd Man Out, Mutiny on the Bounty, AA for Oliver) was the inventor of the Tilted Angle scene shot.  My favorite Reed Movie – Odd Man Out – starring James Mason.

Yes, that is Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, and Orson Wells.  The Alcove on Joseph Platz (top photos) is where (today) the Lipizzaner Stallions move from their Condo’s to the Training Center of the Spanish Riding School (left).




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