Sat 28 Dec - Vienna, Austria

Famous sights and tastes...

After yesterday's slow news day with few photos, there was a lot to photograph today, so our apologies if you feel overloaded. We just felt that we had to share a lot.

After breakfast, we left our building at 9am almost on the dot with the intention to walk the full ring of the Altstadt, or Ringstraße loop. This was how that turned out.

Our apartment building on Rudolfsplatz 7, we are on the 5th floor at the back.

And if you turn around the other way from where Di took the above picture, you see our local park.

Inside the park looking back towards our apartment building.

We wandered the Ringstraße loop anti clockwise and observed our surroundings as we moved along, so no pace record for today. We liked the top floors of this building.

Buying newspapers in Vienna seemed to be largely based on an honesty system. Put your money in the box and grab a copy of your paper.

Today's theme could be compliant and practical Germanic people - its obvious when Hans and Di seem to be the only jay walkers in the city which we saw a lot of during our explorations today. Everybody else obediently waits for the "green man".

This Polizei entrance gave us recollections to "Kommissar Rex" or Inspector Rex as the TV series was called in Australia. We were looking for Brandtner or any of the other people from Kriminalpolizei but could not see anybody recognizable.

Vienna's public bicycle system is a lot more colorful than other cities' similar schemes that we have seen.

At Universitätstraße, there was a more novel way of turning Strassenbahns around. Underground. Not that the space in the middle was used for anything useful.

At Rathausplatz, workmen were dissembling the Weihnachtsmarkts huts and other Christmas decorations as Di was checking it all out.

Too bad if you need to go...this toilet was "heavily" guarded by this "vicious" beast...

Park benches the Viennese way outside Rathausplatz that we like very much.

We assumed that these caterpillars in the trees were part of the Christmas decorations and would also eventually come down.

We moved on to the Austrian Parliament building...

...which was one of those building that you can stand in front of and look at for a very long time and continually see new details and decorations. This of its roof.

As we passed this movie theatre, we were very happy to see that "The Third Man" was screening once every day, some 65 years after its release. We may just have to go and see it if there will be a rainy day.

The other side of the Australia / Austria coin. The t-shirts said "No kangaroos in Austria".

Austrians are probably as sick of the mistakes as Australians are and now try to make a buck out of it.

On Ringstraße you pass many famous landmarks, including the Wiener Staatsoper (State Opera). We will save photos of this for another day as we plan a guided tour there.

Behind the Staatsoper is Cafe Mozart, also referred to in the movie "The Third Man" although it wasn't actually filmed on location.

We checked it out for a potential later visit but it looked too posh and paying more than 10€ for an apfel strudel seems to be excessive. So we won't go there.

Part of the same building is Hotel Sacher, famous for THE Sacher Torte.

Lucky for us the price of Sacher Torte or Apple Strudel here is less than 5€. Far more reasonable but weird considering they are both in the same building and seem to be the same group as Cafe Mozart.

We then decided to have our midmorning coffee and cake break at the Sacher Cafe so we cloaked our jackets and were seated in this lovely room.

The menus have all the details of the 180 year old cake recipe, invented by a 16 year old apprentice chef which is still a "secret" today. Here they produce, and also export 360,000, Sacher Tortes each year.

Had to be well as the apfel strudel.

The grins say it all. This was a lovely dining experience and worth every cent. The tea was good, cakes were delicious and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Just after noon we hit the streets, knowing we ate too much cake and needing to walk more so back to the Ringstraße.
A common type of plaque you notice while you wander this great city is of famous composers birth place or home. This one was "just" Vivaldi who once lived at this address next to Hotel Sacher.

Musikverein was a favourite venue of ours from 2006 when we attended a concert with the Wiener Philharmonicers in its main hall so it needed a return visit, just to be sure it was still the same.

But we could not remember this great looking sign from last time - maybe its new? Or our brains are old?

Ok, it had to be done. Must have tickets to whatever was available. Done. We now have 2 tickets for the "Silvesterkonzert" in the Brahms Hall on Monday 30 December.

Around the back the media trucks seemed in full swing getting ready for the big event - the very internationally famous New Years Eve Concert from the Vienna Philarmonic.

This event is so popular that there is a lottery for tickets that takes place about 11 months in advance (which we did enter one year but alas...). So no chance of attending that.

A small detour for one more trip down memory lane - a quick hello to the "Prince of the Green Beans" which is actually a memorial to fallen Russian soldiers who "saved" Vienna from starvation by freeing the city from the nazis in WWII. Vienna was under siege and had no food. The Russians brought some with them, for which the citizens were grateful...for a short while...then changed their tune when part of the city had to live under a USSR regime after the war. Hence the "mischievous" nickname and also the reason why this monument is not lit at night.

A wide Vienna boulevard but pretty typical of the architecture of the city and the traffic arrangements.

Our Ringstraße walk recommenced after a quick stop for some advance purchasing of a handful of tram tickets. For later.

A new perspective of the view from our end of town. We did not realise you could see the Prater Wheel from here (Aspernbrücke).

Here we are looking the other way up the Donau (Danube) Canal. Lovely afternoon.

But typical of Germanic people they prepare for the worst and being practical close possibly dangerous steps (and liability claims?) in winter.

Back to an old favourite, Schwedenplatz, of course meaning Sweden Place. Ask Hans sometime to give you his best tram announcement version of this name... No, not really.

Being close to our apartment we opted for lunch at home and stalled the unhealthy wurst. Soup instead worked well after our glamourous morning tea.

After lunch our plans separated as we wanted to do different things:

  • Di wanted to wander locally and explore some local churches
  • Hans headed to the "3rd Man Museum" as it is only open on Saturday afternoons

The local churches Di visited were not what you could expect in Oz. The one below was called Maria Am Gestade but is locally known as Maria of the Steps as in 3 directions it is reached by a set of stairs, a rare thing in Vienna which is basically flat.

Di liked this one, it was the simplest, and least visited so therefore peaceful and relaxing inside. Di bought a pamphlet on the history and detail. The church was built in Romanesque style in 1154 and renovated more recently (actually 1276 - so not that recent) and of course new bits were added gradually over the years.

An important section is a chapel with religious relics of St Clement Maria Hofbaur, the patron saint of Vienna. Lovely stained glass.

The next "local church" was Stephansdom. Ok, this is a huge and famous cathedral which is actually more attractive outside than in.

The main entrance is packed with tourists, touts and beggars.

And the inside is just as bad, cameras everywhere and quite a lot of obvious disrespect (in: treating the place as a tourist attraction rather than a church). No doubt it is an amazing cathedral construction but it was not a relaxing place to reflect. Di turned around and walked out.

More exploring without a map and Di stumbled onto perhaps the most beautiful church in Vienna - St Peter's.

Perfect timing - it was 2.55pm and people were taking seats for a free (by donation) organ concert that lasted a little over half an hour. Di found a great seat facing the interior of the dome and the organ.

The church interior is decorated everywhere and Di took a minute for a self portrait with the main dome roof.

The organ concert was wonderful. Yep, the concert was played on the old baroque organ and the sound filled the church. A few classics by J.S. Bach, two fun pieces by Italian composers, one called Provesi, and as a finale some Christmas carols including the first Noel. Wonderful and perfect in this fantastic church.

It was starting to get dark as Di headed home (just before 4pm). A quick side detour for a few grocery items we missed yesterday and she then was home - arriving at exactly the same time as Hans.

Meanwhile in a seperate and parallel world, Hans wandered through the Innerstadt area and out on the outer side to Preßgasse 25 where a very specialised and quirky museum is located. Yes, here is the museum dedicated to the 1948 movie "The Third Man" which is set in Vienna and also partly filmed here.

The entrance to the "3rd Man Museum", open Saturdays and between 2pm and 6pm only.

No, this is definitely not your average museum. Hans paid his due, €7.50, and then asked for the bathroom.

Well, the female behind the counter advised that she would take Hans there so out on the street we went and in next door to the residential part of the building where there was the facility was located, in the lobby.

A toilet where you can read all about it...

More evidence of quirkiness... This is the floor plan of the museum that you are given when you pay your entry fee.

Note where the street is. The museum is in 4 parts (plus that seperate toilet). 3 parts are accessed directly from the street. For the 4th part, you have to pass the toilet and it is inside and behind there somewhere.

Hans liked it a lot already.

Location shot from room 1. These guys displayed everything and anything about the movie.

For example, Trevor Howard's, who plays Major Calloway in the movie, original script with scribbled amendments...

...and this is the original zither that Anton Karas plays in the opening credits of the movie.

The case is also original and Anton Karas used it while touring and playing after the success of the film's soundtrack.

Any way you like it except... not all of these versions of the "Harry Lime Theme" were good. You could scroll a wheel inside the museum to listen to them and some interpretations were plainly crap.

This cap was worn by that 4 year old boy in the movie, the kid who screams "Murderer". The paperwork behind the cap was the paperwork for the boy to allow him to travel from Vienna to London for the movie's release.

Now, the street grate from the movie's finale was actually this very one, with Hans fingers through it to replicate that scene. It is not an authentic Vienna street grate as those were too thick for anybody to get their fingers through so the film team used this one.

Talking about sewers, as Harry Lime was down there during the scene with the grate, this is a schema of the Vienna sewerage system at the time.

Another cute attraction... This is a film projector from 1936 from which they screen a 2 minutes collage of scenes from the finale of "The Third Man".

Apparently, the curators tried to get hold of a projector from 1950 to correspond with the film's release in 1949, but "Vienna was very poor then" as the lady behind the counter told Hans and to get such a projector was apparently not possible.

Quirky and noisy and with a crap picture but fun to watch nevertheless.

A Swedish poster for the movie for its release there in 1950.

Now, this is the 4th part of the "3rd Man" exhibition... Behind that door, out on the courtyard between the buildings. Of course.

The 4th part had temporary exhibitons and there was an exhibition showing the film's contemporary popularity in Japan (apparently the museum gets a lot of Japanese visitors including a couple who entered there just before Hans). The "Harry Lime Theme" has been used in beer commercial in Japan to great success.

A final goodbye from the man himself and then Hans left, feeling amazed and upbeat. This was a quirky as they can get and of course, both Hans and Di are huge fans of the movie.

But hold on, down the road was this, "3. Mann Tour". It turned out that Vienna Water is now running tours of that very sewerage system and this was likely the meeting point. You could probably guess where the punters would go from here.

Behind the above is Naschmarkt, a popular but quite touristy market.

Hans took this photo a bit earlier during the day as he also passed the Naschmarkt on his way to the "3rd Man" museum.

Dusk was approaching as Hans wandered through the centre of Vienna's Altestadt, which was very busy with a lot of tourists. Thankfully, our home abode at Rudolfsplatz despite its great location was quiet and here is another photo of the park across the street.

A cup of tea, then a glass of wine with an hour or so of relaxing as we both had walked enough on hard surfaces for one day.

Di then headed into the kitchen to make a home cooked pasta dinner, creamy smoked salmon, a favourite of Hans, as well as preparing in advance the bolognaise sauce for another night (she is after all half German!)

All went well - Guten Appetit and Gute Nacht from us.


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