Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I went to Vienna to apply for my visas yesterday (I need 2, a long-term one for the next year and a short term one to keep me legal until my long-term one is ready). The application process went well and hopefully my short term visa will be ready friday and my long term one in december. Now for the fun part. Since I was in Vienna and finished with my task there by 9:30am, I got to spend the rest of the day exploring.
First, I went to Schonbrunn Palace (pictured at the top). It was the summer home of Habsburg monarchs and is the only palace in Europe that can rival Versailles in Paris. It was stunning inside and out with a huge garden, sumptuous interior and an interesting history behind it all. Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. This of course did not stop me from taking this picture (above) in the Great Hall. I spent the morning taking the tour and exploring the extensive grounds.
After that, I headed back into town to the church of St. Stephen (interior pictured above). It was a classic cathedral with a commanding view of the city from the tower (the cathedral is the tallest building in the city center by law)
Once I finished there, I headed lastly to the Vienna Hofburg (again above). From this palace the Habsburgs ruled over the Austrian and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire for over 670 years. It is a sprawling complex that has evolved over time like the dynasty it housed. Overall, not a bad use of a day at all. The day before and after were tough but the visit itself was great.
A final thought on Vienna. I would definitely suggest visiting to anyone who has never been. The city has a relaxed majesty about it that is hard to describe. Its like the weight of ruling an empire has been lifted from their shoulders and now everyone just focuses on living the good life in their beautiful city. And you know, I think they may have the right idea.
Below is one more picture from the gardens of Schonbrunn. Don't forget, click on the pictures to make them much bigger!