Vienna, Austria

Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna

After a quick three hour train ride we arrived in Vienna, the capital and largest city of Austria. Vienna is a charming city full of ornate architecture, world class museums, and expansive public spaces.

On the train to Vienna

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located right in the heart of Vienna. Constructed in the 14th century, this Gothic-style church is a prominent feature of the Viennese skyline. The iconic South Tower of the cathedral stands at 136 meters (446 ft)! We climbed up the tower to a viewing platform that provided incredible views of the city.

Inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Top: View from the South Tower. Bottom: View of the facade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Coffee is an important part of Viennese culture.  Cafes in Vienna serve dozens of varieties of different coffees along with tasty pastries. We headed to a local cafe to sample the coffee and Apfelstrudel, a traditional Viennese pastry.

Joe drinking Einspänner Coffee: a strong black coffee served in a glass topped with whipped cream.

Riding the tram

Like Budapest, Vienna has an excellent public transport system, which includes rail, metro, and trams (trolleys). We rode the trams all over the city to take in the sights.

The architecture in Vienna is truly beautiful

Sausage stands can be found all over town. Here Lina and Joe enjoy some local beer and sausage

Architectural geometry in Vienna

Both Joe and Dan are fans of the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. During his career Hundertwasser modeled buildings, created stamps, painted, and even designed a new flag for New Zealand.  We visited three of his buildings in Austria, the Spittelau Incinerator, the Hundertwasserhaus, and his museum at Kunst Haus Wien.

A unique combination of waste, energy, and art in Vienna, Austria. The Spittelau Incinerator is a waste-to-energy incinerator re-designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The Kunst Haus Wien, the home of the Hundertwasser museum.

Kunst Haus Wien

At Hundertwasserhaus large trees grow from the roof and exterior.

We had two geologists and two geographers in our group, so a trip to the Museum of Natural History was a must. Opened to the public in 1889, the museum contains 39 exhibit halls. The museum started collecting artifacts over 250 years ago and the insect collection dates to 1793! The building itself is ornate with grand ceilings and impressive architectural details.

Outside the Natural History Museum in Vienna

The museum held the most impressive collection of gems and minerals I had ever seen. It was hard to get Lina out to see the rest of the exhibits!

The museum also houses an impressive dinosaur and bird collection. The bird on the right kind of reminded us of Donald Trump…

The prized possession of the museum – The 4.4 inch tall Venus of Willendorf. It’s one of the oldest known complete pieces of art in the world. It is over 25,000 years old!

From Vienna, we hopped another train north for our last Eastern European city, Prague, Czech Republic!


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