My Favorite Destinations…Vienna
by Diana Hechler
8, 2003) Vienna: City of Mozart…Strauss waltzes…Lippizzaner
horses…The Nail-Studded Stump…The what? More about
the Nail-Studded Stump later…
Vienna was a city of empire, the capital of
the Hapsburg dynasty, and it shows in the magnificent state
buildings, ornate bridges and statues, and richly ornamented
churches. Yes, when you’re amassing the riches of an
empire, you can make your home city look really good.
Buy yourself a good walking tour book, because this is a
great city for wandering around and discovering…a church
in which Beethoven played, a house where Mozart performed…a
special pastry shop, etc. In your travels, keep an eye out
for the lovely fountains designed by Georg Raphael Donner.
Refreshment for the eyes, especially on hot summer days.
At noontime, make your way over to the Hoher Market to see
the Anker Clock in motion. This timepiece features 12 lifesize
figures central to Vienna’s history who parade across
their platform every day at noon. You’ll recognize Joseph
Haydn, even if the other figures are more obscure. Later in
the day, stop by the State Park (Stadt Park) for tea and Strauss
waltzes every afternoon in the summer. Sometimes the locals
will dance, just for fun.
of the local star attractions take some planning if you want
to see them in action. The Vienna Boys Choir sings at the
Hofburg Chapel mass every Sunday morning from September to
June. Tickets are free, but you do need to get one in advance.
No more than 4 tickets to one person.
The white Lipizzaner Stallions of the Spanish Riding School
perform throughout the year except during July and August
when they go on vacation to the countryside. It’s not
hard to get tickets, with a little advance notice. Most shows
are on Saturday and Sunday mornings or Friday nights. You
can also attend rehearsals if the show schedule doesn’t
match your plans. However, the rehearsals tend to focus on
basic maneuvers, omitting the leaps and drama of the actual
gears, if you’ve never seen the Orson Welles classic,
The Third Man, now’s the time to do
so. The portrait of post-war Vienna, divided into British
and Russian sectors, is unforgettable. I know of a local historian
who conducts The Third Man tours every Friday
afternoon for aficionados of the film. For the truly obsessed,
you can also take a tour of the Vienna sewers where Harry
Lime finally met his fate.
One of my favorite restaurants lies opposite beautiful St.
Stephen’s Cathedral. Take a rather dingy elevator up
to a charming spot for a bird’s eye view of the cathedral
while you dine on Asian-Viennese fusion cuisine. Having a
hard time imagining how to fuse Asian and Viennese cuisine?
Well, suspend your doubts and go. It’s delicious!
Now, about that Nail-studded Stump? If you see it in the
guidebook, let it go. Let it go!