24 February 2012

Vienna, Austria - Day 3

So it's another 5.30am wake up but today we are being a little more leisurely and taking in Vienna from the outside.

Our first stop is Vienna's 'soul of the city', St Stephen's Cathedral. Known as Stephansdom, the cathedral was restored after it's destruction in WWII. An enormous cathedral of the late-Gothic style it has a spire 137m high and considered the symbol of the cathedral and of Vienna.

Incredibly difficult to photograph from the ground,
this image is courtesy of a postcard by Verlag C Bauer
Austrian Empire's Coat of Arms atop the cathedral's roof.
Pulpit of John Capistrano, who preached a crusade
in 1454 to hold back Muslim invasion.
Entrance to the Cathedral
Wiener Neust├Ądter Altar depicting events in the life of the Virgin Mary.

We moved onto Graben, a fully pedestrianized street running through the centre of the city.  Here a shopper will find several high end retail stores and plenty of cafes/restaurants for refreshment. In the centre is a baroque column which was erected after the end of the plague that decimated the town in late 17th century.  Commissioned by Emperor Leopold depicting the Holy Trinity, the sculpture is a tower of saints, angels and clouds along with a statue of him praying.

Baroque plague column in the centre of Graben

Statue of Emperor Leopold praying.
Hungary's Coat of Arms.
Between 1985-90 the very modern Haas House made of glass and aluminum was built. A controversial building even today due to it's modern design amidst so much history, the building's windows beautifully reflect Stephansdom's towers.

Haas House
Moving right along we happen across St Peter's church with its striking patina covered copper dome and an interior that is even more striking.  Built in the early 1700s, the design was inspired by Rome's St Peter's Basilica.

Entrance to St Peter's Church.
The gilded pulpit with the Holy Trinity
on top of the canopy.
Martyrdom of St. John of Nepomuk and on top
is the Mother of God statue.
The church's cupola depicting the Coronation of Our Lady.
Baroque interior.
From here we embarked on some shopping.  Hat and mitts for Trini, boots encased with wool for John, a scarf for me and collecting my own groovy winter boots tomorrow when my size is delivered to the store.

Following lunch we head for Starbucks to use their free wi-fi as the Internet at our hotel was expensive and so was the Internet cafe. Time to sort out the next leg of our trip when we depart Vienna in three days. Although we've come to no conclusions yet, we at least have some clue. Stay tuned.
Our munchkin was running around doing this sumo stance all over Austria.
We thought we'd better follow suit.