Monday, 25 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - The Forgotten Vienna

Before we leave Vienna behind here are a few photos of sights that I have not previously posted.
It would seem a good idea to make the first stop at the Opera House.
The building itself was erected between 1863 and 1869 as one of the great monuments of the new Ring Boulevard. The Royal - Imperial Court Opera Theater. as it was first called, was designed by the architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Null.

In the city centre there are many people dressed in costumes from Mozart's period trying to sell tickets for the night's concert. For some reason we were never approached. Could this be because we did not look like tourists or were we the wrong type of clientele?

Walking from the Opera House to St Stephen's there are over one hundred stars laid in the paved pedestrian thoroughfare of artists that have performed in the city.

Reaching St Stephen's Square and Cathedral, the former I have mentioned previously as this is where many of the street entertainers perform and is an area to relax and let the world go by.
Below are a few images of St Stephens Cathedral and more information can be found here.

Finally it would be a crime not to mention the Danube before we leave Vienna behind.

All three of us enjoyed our visit to Vienna and would certainly like to come back some time, especially as it is possible to get a hydrofoil down to Budapest. Now there's an idea.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - The Butterfly Effect

Arriving back in the city centre we trouped off to the tourist information centre, close to the opera house. Inside there were several people waiting to be served so we decided to see what we could find.
Not too far away, 300metres from the opera, we came across the Burggarten (court garden). In the south western part of the garden there is a statue of Mozart and in the north eastern area there is a Jugendstil, glasshouse. Inside the glasshouse there is a Schmetterlinghaus, Butterfly Park. The park state that all their butterflies come from farms in various tropical countries and none are taken from the wild, nor are there any endangered species within the building.
As all three of us were getting cultured out the peace inside the building gave us a period of relaxation away from the city centre. It was amusing to watch people charging round trying to take photographs of the occupants. We just either sat or stood in one place and waited for them to come to us.
Once again thank you Guzzisue for the wonderful photos. The cheque's in the post!

Friday, 15 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - Off To The Palace

Buying a 24 hour Rover Ticket in Europe is not like in the UK. The 24 hours start from when the ticket is first used and continues to the same time the next day, whereas in the UK a similar ticket can only be used on the same date. We purchased these due to the amount of walking we had done on the previous day and for 5 euros we had unlimited travel on the trams and underground.
So what did we do first? We walked away from the city centre and headed towards Belvedere Palace. At the junction of Prinz Eugen Str and Schwarzenbergpl at the bottom of the castle grounds, there is a fountain and monument dedicated to the Russian soldiers.

We entered eventually found a way in and entered the palace grounds at the foot of the formal gardens.

In 1803 these gardens became the first alpine style garden with over 4,000 plants representing the diverse flora of the alpine ecosystem. The gardens are best viewed in the Spring and Summer seasons. The young lady in the photo below kindly pointed the way forward to us.

During our visit the gardens were undergoing a large restoration project along with the palace itself.

Belverdere has two palaces in its grounds designed by J.L. von Hildebrandt for Prince Eugene of Savoy and now contain museums concentrating on artwork from the Baroque period. Because the weather was being kind to us we decided to leave looking at the paintings for another time and just wandered round the gardens and the outside of the building.
On walking round to the front, there is a large fish pond, complete with a heron that flew three times round the pond before heading off towards the centre of Vienna.
From the main gate this is the view that the people from off the tourist coaches first see.

Definitely a biscuit tin picture!
From outside the main entrance we caught the tram to the centre of town.

Monday, 11 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - More From Prater Park

Here are a few photos to finish our visits to Prater Park.
The first set are of the oldest ride in the park. Sadly it is in need of some repair.

This group of characters look like they have had a mixture of too many rides and too much falling down water.

I'm not sure if this gentleman is being sucked into an abyss or escaping from it. I'll let you decide.

Punch and Judy manage to climb to new heights.

There are different types of horse carousels within the park. The first is a classic design dating from 1895.

The other uses horses to pull carriages. Guzzisue was not too sure of the ethics of this particular ride, however the horses are taken away from the ride at quiet intervals for a little exercise.

This little scene was something we stumbled across. Beauty and the Beast or both talking about their Bad Hair Day. Just out of shot was a film crew, so this could have been a college class at work.
These chair-o-planes are not for this Ted! The thought of loosing my grip and being slung off at a tangent does not "bear" thinking about. Terra firma for me.

Finally two more pictures of the Riesenrad, followed by another short film of Prater Park.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - In Search Of Harry

Having left the Kunsthaus behind us it was all eyes skywards to find our next destination. Vienna has a funfair at Prater Park and in its grounds is a very famous landmark, the Riesenrad.
The Riesenrad was erected by Walter B Basset, a British engineer, in 1897 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The wheel itself spans 200 feet and rotates at 0.65 m/sec. The wheel has featured in several films, The Third Man being one of the most, if not the most famous. In 1914 the wheel was used for a film stunt in which Madame Solange d'Atalide managed to complete one round on horseback on top of one of the cabins.
In 1944, at the height of WWII, the Giant Ferris Wheel burnt down, but was rebuilt in 1945. The Riesenrad is the only giant ferris wheel of its time which is still in use today.
We thought the charge of 7.50 euros was quite expensive until we walked into a room with showcases resembling the cabins on the wheel with models inside each one. The models give a brief history of Vienna over the last two thousand years, from Roman Times, through the Middle Ages and up to the Second World War.

Once inside the cabin we slowly rose above the nearby tree line to view the surrounding area.
We did not expect Prater Park to be the size it is, so a walk round will be necessary.

Here is the view from the top of the wheel.

Disembarking from the wheel we declined the tourist photo of us on the Riesenrad. Well it was a pretty poor mock-up of a cabin with Ian having an arm around Guzzisue and pointing to something in the distance (sic).
Two other things we got with our entry ticket were discount vouchers to be used in the gift shop, 40 cents and 30 cents for the restaurant. These stayed in our pockets.
During our stay in Vienna we had more than one visit to the park. Below are some shots of the wheel at different times of the day, finishing off with a small film clip I've edited.

Harry was nowhere to be seen so I assume he had already been on the wheel and was now hiding in the sewers.