Sunday, 7 January 2018

vienna


As I'm ploughing through revision on the German reformation, the Habsburgs, the threat from the Ottomans and Valois rivalry whilst listening to '√Čtude No. 3, Un sospiro' and Moonlight Sonata, I realised that I should probably get started on my Vienna post before it's too late.

The city I never knew I needed to visit so much.

I had always overlooked central-eastern Europe, just lumping it into one big grey area of bad politics and focussing on the typical Greek, Italian, Spanish and French getaways instead. I loved Austria and am yearning to visit more countries in the region.

This trip was really special to me, not solely because of how much I loved the city in itself but because of the reinforcement it gave me. I'm in a bit of a rough place and I don't know what direction I want to take in my life, specifically surrounding education. Spending a few days there and sightseeing from the typical landmarks from St Stephens cathedral to venturing out to the University of Vienna did help plant some seeds of curiosity and opened possibilities in my mind. Perhaps I'm easily swayed but University in Vienna is sounding very tempting right now. I went in with the intention of looking around and seeing the bust of Sigmund Freud in the courtyard and ended up being taken on a tour around the building by a few students.

I don't want this post to be filled with photos and me gushing on about how picturesque the place was. So I'll be writing little anecdotes from uber drivers whipping out fruit salads to to spontaneous German language lessons.







Day one and I forgot to bring my camera out with me so we were off to a great start. We spent this day trying to get our bearings around the city and started off at the base of Stephensplatz which is the centre of the city. We went into the cathedral, it's your typical gothic European cathedral to be honest but interesting to see nonetheless. Then we began to walk in the smaller back-streets and let me tell you there is a big difference between the backstreets of Vienna and those back in London. I managed to take around 400 photos of the amazing buildings and windows. There's also main shopping street down here too and this is where I saw the poshest H&M ever. Green marble, gold lettering, winding wooden stairs and a super old fashioned lift within it. It was definitely an experience. You will also find a lot of horse carriages travelling through a small street and it's definitely different but it suited the city so well. The horse carriage trips are surprisingly very useful, it's essentially a 20 minute tour of the city which covers a lot of ground! I bought a few random postcards to keep and also to send to Katie. We then went to the Hofburg Palace which was the Habsburg residency! I found it really weird to be walking through a place where the terribly incompetent but nevertheless, iconic Charles V lived. This guy possessed the majority of Europe as well as parts of South America and East Asia and his inability to control also led to the birth of Protestantism in Europe. He also majorly pissed off the Ottomans and the French. Sorry for the history lesson- it's safe to say that I was in my zone walking through here. We then found ourselves at the twin museums: one of art history and the other was a natural history one. It's free for under 19s so they're definitely worth a visit. As stunning as the art history one was, the natural history museum was a winner. Everything in Vienna compliments each other. This was also the day I had my first 3 hour long German lesson.










You can definitely tell that the camera was remembered on day 2. This was my favourite day because we got up to so much! We started at the Belvedere palace which was so pretty, I can only imagine how nice it would look in the summer when all the plants and trees are lush again, and then walked for what felt like miles to get to the centre. Can I mention how nice the trams are there? I love the red and white and it contrasts so well with the architecture. I dragged my family to the University of Vienna because it was on my 'to see' list and it did not disappoint. I loved walking through the courtyard and looking at each of the busts, of course stopping for Freuds and for the "saviour of mothers" Iganz Semmelweis. The University itself was seriously one of the nicest I've seen (much better than Oxford...I promise I'm not being petty) The staircases were so grand, the tiling on the floors was intricate, the courtyard was mysterious, the *super quiet* library seemed like the perfect place to hide away from the cold and the silence in the corridors was so enticing. Thank you to the History, Physics and Economics students who toured me around- you were so lovely and helpful! After the university, we hopped on a random tram and went to a butterfly house where I then remembered that condensation is a thing and my camera was failing to overcome that (obviously) I did like the soft, hazy effect it had on the photo though! Finally we went to Cafe Central which was something I'd been anticipating ever since we booked. I loved it. The cafe itself is decadent and was often visited by the architects of our society as we know it which perhaps explained why I felt a little giddy when I was there. To think that I was in a place that Altenberg, Tito, Stalin, Trotsky, Freud and Hitler favoured so much was strange yet weirdly satisfying. These people changed history for the better/worse. I went for the least sophisticated thing: a hot chocolate and chocolate cake with a pianist playing in the background. I couldn't talk about this cafe without the famous anecdote when Victor Adler told foreign Minister of Austria Hungary regrading the possible outbreak of Bolshevik revolution in Russia: "And who will lead this revolution? Perhaps Mr. Bronstein (Leon Trotsky) sitting over there at the Cafe Central?” 






On our last day we visited the Schonnbrun palace, a summer residency for the Habsburgs. It is massive and you could easily spend a whole day there. Tickets to go in are quite pricey but the uber driver told us that when you see around 10 of the rooms you've seen them all so we decided to walk around and up the hills where you can get a really good view of the city. It had snowed a little overnight so the grass was white and it looked so scenic and postcard worthy but to be honest I was just trying not to slip lol. I'm pretty sure we spent around 3 hours walking around (do not underestimate the vastness of this place) We took the metro to Hundertwasserhaus was slightly anticlimactic but I don't know what more I was expecting than colour blocked apartments. It reminded me of Gaud√≠'s work and was a nice break from the super regal and baroque buildings that I'd been flooded with beforehand. After a brief detour (aka getting on the tram going the opposite direction) we went to the Freud museum which was yet another place that I was looking forward to going because it is literally in his old home before he fled to the UK from Nazi persecution. Whilst I am a huge stranger to psychology, I still found it really interesting to look through all the artefacts from sexual theory to the unconscious. I also found the thing about cocaine really amusing, who would've known that Freud was a #cokeboi.

And that is it. I loved Vienna so so much and there was a lot more that I wish I could've done like the Albertina Museum and just generally explore more- it definitely gives me a reason to come back ;) Even though it's a really elegant, high brow and cultured place (3 things that I'm definitely not) the atmosphere is so warm, despite the almost sub zero temperatures, and its just a nice place to visit whether you're a history fanatic or not. Every corner is graced with an amazing building and the streets alone have at least one interesting fact about them. Also Mozart is basically a God here. His face is everywhere

hope you enjoyed scrolling through these snaps!

14 comments:

  1. Loved scrolling through these photos Dalal, honestly it looks like an incredible city and somewhere I'd definitely like to visit one day!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. I loved putting it together and reminiscing on everything haha. It's such a nice place and I loved all the history available!

      Dalal

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  2. Beautiful photos! I haven't visited Austria yet but it's definitely on my bucket list - especially Wien and Salzburg! It would be a wonderful opportunity for me to refresh my spoken German and your post has made me want to go even more, so glad you has lovely time xx
    Em

    emsirose.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Em! Definitely go, it's so beautiful and imperial (and veerryy photogenic) Book it for after exams, as a treat ;)

      Dalal

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  3. you've sold me, a trip to Vienna WILL be be booked before the end of this year, your photos are just WOW.

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    1. wooo!!! it's definitely a place you'd love, I can't wait to see how you like it and your take on it when you do visit

      Dalal

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  4. Loooooved reading this - what a fulfilling and beautiful trip! (Your photos defo do it justice omg)

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    1. ah thanks Zoe, I'm glad you did! it was such a nice way to just drop everything and focus on something that isn't school- haha I do try with my photography

      Dalal

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  5. oh i just LOVE europe. the architecture is bomb and always so different in each place you visit. im hasitly adding vienna to my bucket list - it kinda looks a little bit like paris too dont you think?!

    katie. xx lacoconoire.com

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    1. I'm so glad that I live in the UK so have easy access to so many countries! yas, definitely visit- you won't regret it, trust me. They have their similarities but I think Vienna > Paris

      Dalal

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  6. I'm loving these photos Dalal! You've made me want to go to Vienna so much x

    Sophie's Spot

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    1. Thank you Sophie!! I'll be happy to give you tips and places to visit if you do go

      Dalal

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  7. I loved this post I don't know why I only just saw it, you've made me desperate to visit Austria and I know barely anything about history. Your photos are lovely as well, sounds like an incredible time- going to uni abroad would be insane! Loads of UK universities have partner schools in European countries (which I'm sure you already know) but would be so cool if you done that, the idea scares as me as I am fluent in nothing but I can imagine you in a cool European country bustling along with a backpack full of work x(despite having never met you I can imagine it nonetheless)
    constantlylibby.blogpsot.co.uk

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    1. Yay I'm glad you liked it! Do go, I think it's significantly cheaper during the year so seize the opportunity (you don't need to know much about history to appreciate the city, trust me) Ah the university was literally so beautiful, I have no idea if I'm just getting ahed of myself but I would love to study there- I'll probably do a year abroad though regardless of the university I go to. Haha, so can I!

      Dalal

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