Vienna – Cultural weekend

I had the opportunity to visit Vienna for 3 days and, at the same time, to join my parents. To go there, I used the cheapest and easiest way to travel from the Czech Republic; “Student Agency”. Let’s begin with some history – Deeply wounded by the Ottoman attacks, the Napoleonic wars, and finally the bombing of 1944, Vienna raise valiantly each time. As for moving around the city, we walked a lot during the first day because the all the tourist attractions are really close to each other. The first day we did a lot of sightseeing. We began with the “Kunsthistorisches Museum” which offers: Picture Gallery (Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Spanish, French and German), Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Egyptian and Oriental Collection. I would say that this Museum is a “classical” one; although some paintings did mark my attention, such as the famous Pieter Bruegel – The Tower of Babel and Giuseppe Arcimboldo – Summer. But I discovered some other artists like: Peter Paul Rubens – The Head of Medusa and Samuel van Hoogstraten – Old man in window.

Pieter Bruegel - The Tower of Babel and Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Summer
Pieter Bruegel – The Tower of Babel and Giuseppe Arcimboldo – Summer
Peter Paul Rubens - The Head of Medusa and Samuel van Hoogstraten - Old man in window
Peter Paul Rubens – The Head of Medusa and Samuel van Hoogstraten – Old man in window

After a quick sunny lunch break we continued our tour at the “Leopold Museum” which has the world’s largest Schiele collection and thus offer a unique overview of the work of this great painter and most significant graphic artist of Austrian Expressionism. The vanguard of modernist painting in Austria is also represented by an extensive selection of works by Gustav Klimt, the most extraordinary artistic personality of the Secession era. Additionally, paintings, graphics and objects of the 19th and 20th centuries, including precious handcrafts, original Art Nouveau and Wiener Werkstätte furniture, are on view. The Leopold Museum was established in 2001 on the basis of the former private art collection of Rudolf and Elisabeth Leopold. In the meantime it has become the most-visited museum in the Vienna Museums Quarter. The two paintings that impressed me the most are Albert Birkle Man with Fu Cap and Egon Schiele Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant.

Albert Birkle Man with Fu Cap - Egon Schiele Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant
Albert Birkle Man with Fu Cap – Egon Schiele Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant

After the museums we decided to take a break behind the Staatsoper (Vienna Opera) wherea live opera projection was taking place. We used this time for trying out one Austria speciality: “Sacherorte” from Café Sacher. For me it’s not so extraordinary, just a lot of sugar. So I do not recommend it especially.

Rathausplatz
Rathausplatz

To finish in beauty after the most famous falafel of the city we choose to walk on the street to see famous and wonderful building like: Secession, Parliament, Rathausplatz, Karls-kriche… during the night with the light of the city. It was dazzling! And I realized that buliding in Paris look much smaller than the ones in Vienna.

On the second day we used the public bike system of the city. It was really cheap; it would be a shame to miss it. The first hour is free, the second hour is for 1€. And nothing is more fun than driving a bike in the city especially when the sun is out. With bikes, we were able to see the city and the touristic places and quiet gardens easier and faster. About the cost of living in Vienna, it is similar to France (back to reality – Half of liter of Beer for 5€).   To continue the museum marathon we went to Belvedere (Upper, Lower and orangery): Prince Eugene’s Palaces: The belvedere’s two magnificent palaces – the Upper and Lower Belvedere – were built in the 18th century as the summer residence for the important general Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663 – 1763). He chose one of the most outstanding Baroque architects, Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt (1668 – 1745). The palaces with their extensive gardens are considered to be one of the world’s finest Baroque landmarks. Upper Belvedere – Klimt – Schiele – Waldmüller The Upper Belveder houses have the greatest collection of Austrian art dating from the Middle Ages to the present day. At the heart of the displays of “art around 1900” is the world’s largest Gustav Klimt collection. The glittering highlights are Klimt’s golden pictures, Kiss and Judith, and masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka. Prominent works by the French Impressionists are outstanding and there are more attractions at the Upper Belvedere. We continued our day by cycling in different districts of Vienna. Those who love architecture should not miss Hundertwasser built between 1983 and 1986 by the municipality of Vienna. We continued our way to Augarten (garden), one of the biggest in Vienna. Then we decided to go home because the weather started to go bad. There was a storm outside when we arrived home. So we were lucky. And even more when my mother started to cook. The third day during the morning we tried “Naschmarkt”, a flea market. If you know a little Paris, you may have heard about “le marché aux puces”. My father and I really love this kind of place. There are no boundaries, people are from all ethnicities and sell stuff you will not imagine. After this, like any self-respecting tourist we went to Schönbrunn. Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most important cultural monuments in the country, since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a World Cultural Heritage site and Austria’s most-visited sight. The baroque total work of art consisting of palace and gardens was for centuries the property of the Habsburgs and is today largely in its original condition. Visitors will find numerous attractions here, from a tour through the authentically furnished residential and ceremonial rooms of the Imperial Family in the palace, to the maze and the labyrinth in the gardens and a separate Children’s Museum.

And because it wasn’t enough for one day, we went back to the heart of the city to see famous places like: Petersk, Stephans-platz, Greich.K., Jes.K, Kaisergruft… This weekend was really great. I want to thank my parents for organizing this weekend. For me Vienna is really an Imperial city, where all the buildings are big and majestic. I realize that Paris is a small capital. But you know what we say about small thing: the smaller it is the cuter it is.

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