Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weekend Getaways II – Vienna, Austria

By Ryan Kinports

Unlike Moscow my trip to Vienna was a relaxing train ride from Prague with a small group of students from my university. After roughly seven hours we arrived and began taking in the city before dark. There are a great many government buildings as Vienna is an administrative hub for the European Union. The city center is made up beautiful Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic structures.

Image 1- National History Museum

Image 2- Austrian Parliament
Image 3- Rathaus- Town Hall

The number of churches was high. The ornate decoration of Baroque in particular means that each interior is wildly different than the last. You end up feeling like you are in a sculpture museum viewing the works of master artisans.
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My favorite place on the trip was Schonbrunn Palace. Built in the 1740’s and bequeathed to Maria Theresa as a wedding gift on grounds once owned by Maximillian II it was a central piece to the monarchy until the fall of the Habsburg Empire in 1916. It has been a museum since 1918 and is in excellent condition. The gardens surrounding the estate are in a French style and include numerous statues and a maze. I spent several hours wandering through them. At the opposite end of the estate there is a folly that looks down on the whole property. I thought about what it would be like to be Franz Joseph as a young man standing where I was and contemplating the burden of his position.

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We spent the remainder of our time at street markets and exploring the city. Vienna is the most refined city I have ever been to. The people were well dressed and not in a rush. I will certainly return some day.
All images courtesy Ryan Kinports.


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