Welcome to Vienna, Musical Capital of the World! A bunch of prominent classical musicians have worked and lived here, including Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler. Now it is home to several world-class ensembles, such as the Vienna Philharmonic.
Alas, we weren’t here for the music, apparently. Our first stop in the city was the Schönbrunn Palace, home to the Habsburg monarchs. Empress Maria Theresa commissioned its renovation in the mid-18th century, leading it to its present appearance. Also, Marie Antoinette, before being shipped off to France for marriage, spent her childhood here, and based the famous Versailles Palace off of its decor and interior, which explains the many similarities that could be found.
While we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside during the guided tour, we were encouraged to do so in the Schönbrunn Palace gardens. There was some concert prep or something going on, which explained the stage setup. The gardens is also home to the Schönbrunn Zoo, which is the oldest zoo in the world! Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go and check out all the animals. 😦
However, there were some other cute and fuzzy animals that we encountered near the fountains in the garden. An unusually spiky looking squirrel (the picture doesn’t show just how red his fur was!) and a family of ducks out for a walk.
Next up was St. Stephan’s Cathedral, in the heart of the city. I especially loved the roof covered in glazed tiles, depicting the coat of arms of Vienna and Austria.
Next up was Kärntner Straße, the famous shopping street! It is home to two Monarchy-approved Hofzuckerbäckerei (cafe/bakeries) and also the original Swarovski store. The Hofzuckerbäckerei that we went to was the L. Heiner Cafe, established in 1840. Of course we had to stop by for a coffee.
A coffee…among other things.
The K.U.K. stands for Kaiserlich und Königlich, which means Imperial and Royal, and stands for the Habsburg support that the cafe boasted.
Where to next…?