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Train from Prague to Vienna. Confusion reigns as normal in these places. Half, at least, of the intending passengers running round in circles. Eventually most if not all of us board and take our seats.

Vienna, Austria

It’s a drizzly day, the train takes us through expansive flat largely featureless landscape occasionally interrupted by what appeared to be economically starved towns. In these the buildings and rail yards appeared as if they’d been forgotten long long ago. Totally lacking upkeep, a property managers nightmare. Reminded me of those Soviet/East German era magazine and film images we all saw back then. I couldn’t motivate myself to take a picture, so desolate they were on an already grey day. Regret that now.

As we approached Vienna that changed, the rural scenes of cultivated land and industrial areas as we approached urban areas showed signs of life.

Vienna has a few surprises. Firstly its a city of 2 million and possibly the cleanest and best ordered place we have seen. Initially it all looks a bit monotone, in a sepia kind of way.  But as you find your way around it turns out to be quite a delight. We are located by the Rathaus (City hall) area.  Great name that in English, would to apply it back home!

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Rathaus Platz Park, divided by beautifully tree lined walks with so much bench seating lining all paths I reckon most of Tauranga could be seated there at one time.

A  beautifully kept park are pretty much adjacent to our hotel. It’s Saturday and we find Rathaus Platz is busy with workmen installing a large screen, seating and other stuff for the last night of month long film festival. This has been run around the city with the events of last 2 nights centred here.

10 minutes walk sees us in the Museum Quartier. and only short walks to trams and underground to most of the city.  However, as we find seeing is better walking, we spend the day doing that.

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Some of magnificent stained glass window in churches here. These are in a church I haven’t seen in the tourist material, but a real beaut anyway. The Votive Church, a beaut neo-Gothic structure, like many of the building we’d like to photograph the exterior is largely covered up for renovation.

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This one is on the tourist list, St. Stephen’s, as you can see partly under reno too. Again well worth stopping by even though you may feel you are churched out

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We see heaps of church images, towering spires,Gothic steeples,fabulous stained glass windows, sure you do too,  but here’s one of offer candles and a lady lighting one in St Stephen’s Vienna.

Amongst all the museums and galleries, a must see from I reckon, if you have any interest in art is the Hundertwasser Museum, if art is not your thing the Hundertwasser weird and wonderful apartments, not far from the museum, are certainly worth a visit.

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Hundertwasserhaus, or the Hundertwasser Apartments, wonderfully eclectic as was his art and he himself.

We use the underground, so called even though much of it is overground, to get out to the Schoenbrunn Palace. Actually a tip here, we’ve found its generally best to buy a 1, 2 or 3 bus pass which gets you on all public transport. Cost less than the so called Vienna Pass which also offer discounts. Seems hard to earn the cost of those discounts. Together with the Museum Quartier these are must sees. Worth heading to Vienna just to see these.

To the Schoenbrunn, I rate this a must see too. comprising some 40 massive and incredibly decorated rooms. or at least these are the ones we saw, reckon there could be double that.Explanations of the rooms and their uses give an interesting history of the Habsburg family.

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Magnificent Schoenbrunn Palace with it’s little train and one of the fountain ponds in foreground and the city of Vienna in background.

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The Gloriette in distance beyond palace gardens through wrought iron balastrade on rear porch of palace, one of large white pieces of statuary, large fountain and one of the many wide tree lined boulevards leading through gardens to palace. Vienna, Austria-240Vienna, Austria-168

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Graffiti in this city seems contained largely to river banks and underground. Here on walls of the Danube canal under one of the many bridges.

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And amongst all the historic architecture there is an area of modern too. Known colloquially as UNO city.

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Vienna night street scene, Volkstheater across intersection.

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Vienna night street scene, along street of our hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s Vienna,  classic city, clean city, “now and forever” as they say

On the train again, headed for the city named after a pile of salt and that gave us the Sound of Music, and of course Mozart, Salzburg.

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Rural scenes along route from Vienna to Salzburg through train window at 150 kph.

 

The scenery en-route is generally lovely field patterns of rural cropping,  small towns and villages scattered throughout. Very attractive. get a little more hilly especially close to Salzburg, and some of those architecturally traditional  homes become part of the view.

Our first afternoon is taken up with a walk to the other side of the river. That’s where all tourists head. It comprises acres of classy shops set on narrow winding streets around squares of plazas surrounded by more shops and restaurants. Each square has at least one phenomenal church. this whole area is nestled into a the surrounding rock face of the hills.

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Quaint streets crowded with tourists and big brand stores. Evening lights add to the atmosphere.

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Outdoor chess set by the big golden ball with man on top in Kapitelplatz beside Salzburg cathedral near rock face catacombs.

path through St. Peter’s Cemetery to catacombs, and the rock staircase to first level of the catacombs.

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One of the incredibly beautiful domes inside Salzburg Cathedral

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One of a row of interesting artifacts in the crypt under the cathedral, the devil casts his shadow!!!

 

Plenty of street  music  here, all that I heard pretty good too.

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young quartet playing modern in a classical way right there in the shadow of the shadow of the master – Mozart’s statue. Great stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long exposure night street scene

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Returning to our hotel the river presented a terrific opportunity for some shots. This one about 30 seconds shows calm river, although it flows at about 4 knots, with city lights and reflections.

 

Next morning, took a bus tour to the lakes district. Before leaving, visited the Mirabell Gardens. Another destination worth the effort.

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Very pretty landscapes on the way through hills. Wide green grassy slopes and valleys between high mountains that are just  all around. The animals too  don’t seem to let them lose to eat all the lush grass. Most herds seem to be about 10 -20 cattle. How that works economically I don’t know.  EU subsidies??

The drive takes though or past a dozen or so villages and hamlets. Much of the traditional architecture we associate with Austrian hillside villages.

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Traditional style Austrian country house.

The lakes  scenic area is another must do here.

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The lovely Mondsee Lake in the hills around Salzburg.

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Where whoever it was that got married in the Sound of Music Story, the magnificent steps to main alter of St Michael’s Minor Basilica

Decided to book a Mozart Concert & dinner in Salzburg Fortress. that massive building that overlooks the city from a high vantage point.

From the Fortress two views of the city, 1st before dusk, then after dark.

And finally from Austria,

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No report on Salzburg would be complete with a look at Mozart’s birthplace. The rear of the building he was reputedly born in.

 

 

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