Visited April 2012
St Stephen’s Cathedral, or Stephansdom, is Vienna’s most significant architecture. Knowing that the place is filled with tourists, we hoped to catch it earlier in the morning on our last day in Vienna. Exiting from Stephansplatz via the metro, it was already pretty crowded when we arrived. While the cathedral offers guided tours to its towers, treasury and catacombs, we decided to tour the beautiful and sacred venue on our own.
Photography, thankfully is permitted within the halls of the church, and for those who are interested to capture a shot of the church exterior, I would highly recommend an ultra-wide lens, for we had some difficulty trying to frame the entire architecture. As luck would have it, the left side of the church was being renovated; hence, our shots were only limited to the right side. As usual, watch out for the horses’ pee and poo!
As Stephansdom is located right in the city centre, we took a leisurely walk around the area, as we made our way to Sacher Eck for their famous cake! A popular chill-out café, thankfully we did not have to wait too long before getting a seat.
A simple chocolate coated cake; to my surprise it only tastes nice if eaten together with the whipped cream, for it was too sweet on its own. Although I try to avoid cream as much as possible, for the sake of the delicacy, we endured.
A little note on the bill: when we paid, we thought that the waiter provided us with wrong change, as we were expecting more than what was given. A little research showed that Austrian restaurants tend to round up the bill to the next dollar, even though service charge is already added to the bill.
Making our way back towards the Hofburg, we finally managed to locate Vienna’s national library, the State Hall. Recommended by a friend for its lovely interior architecture, it was indeed a marvel to look at. And coincidentally, the library was holding an exhibition on past advertising designs, of which I was able to enjoy.
From State Hall, we moved on to Belvedere, a historical building complex of two baroque palaces, which have been converted into museums. Feeling adventurous, we decided to walk there instead! And a mistake it was, for the walk along Prinz Eugen-Straße was a long one. Not to mention that the street was also slightly slopped, when a tram would have solved my walking woes.
However, the blue skies and lovely weather cleared away my tiredness, as we enjoyed yet another palace and garden retreat. Belvedere was simply too pretty to give a miss!
Having finished most of our must-see itineraries, we decided to make use of our Vienna Card (when I decidedly foolishly not to initially), by heading up north towards the Danube River. Our first stop up north was made at Praterstern, as I was curious how the Prater was like. While the park is free, the rides however were individually charged. And even though we came across Madam Tussauds Wien, somehow we decided to give it all a miss.
Continuing our journey further north saw us alighting at Kaisermühlen – Vienna Int. Centre. To get to the tower, which was situated within Donaupark, it was a 15-20 minute walk through the Vienna International Centre. Although the distance was pretty far, it was a nice leisurely stroll through the convention centre and past some residential area, giving us some insight into their way of life.
Walking and exploring Donaupark was unplanned for, but it was a really enjoyable and peaceful experience. And even though we made our way up to the park, by some unexplained reason (again), we chose not to head up to the tower for a bird’s eye view of the park and the city. Something must have been wrong with my head that day.
But as much as my head was not very clear, it was nice enjoying nature and seeing the kids play, while occasionally spotting the park train chugging along. Besides, we got to enjoy some impromptu photo-shoot, of which we returned with a lovely souvenir of the place.