Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vienna - 1st half

1st day in Vienna - a little rainy but crowded and hopping
At the Hofburg - the Neue Berg (New Palace) - which is one of my favorite buildings anywhere
Inside the Neue Berg - It houses the Austrian Museums of Armour & Weapons, Musical Instruments and Roman artifacts (ruins) from Ephesus. It is not the big draw that the Imperial Apartments, Treasury and Silver/China Collections are, so you find yourselved many times alone in large marble rooms/stairways with these beautiful and fanciful things from the past. Bart and I really enjoyed it when we were in Vienna 12 years ago and were glad to share it with the girls.
One of the great armour displays in the Neue Berg
Here we are - ready for a Carraige Ride around Central Vienna. You can imagine, with our 2 girly girls, carraige rides are the ultimate in touristy transportation - just like princesses they are. And, of course, they pick out which horse is their favorite, what they would do if they had a coach in real life, etc... - imaginations run wild.

This is a treat for them. We see the carraiges in most cities we visit and are always inundated with "when do we get to go on a carraige?" We had planned to do this after a concert but the parents got worn down a bit by the "when?" even though we made it clear "When!" and then it was Sun. and we didn't know how late the horsies would be up :). They smiled for the whole ride.

I'll post a few more pic's - there are some cities that just demand to have a lot of pic's taken and for me, Vienna is one of them. It is a vibrant and romantic city and as Bart puts it "the Eastern most city of the Western world." Vienna was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with the Vatican in Rome) of the Hapsburg family whose rule of the Austrian empire (included parts of areas we know as Czech/Hung/Aust/Germ/Switz) lasted for 600 years. They moved the Empire seat from Prague to Vienna at some 16th/17th Cent. to secure themselves against the Ottoman Empire. We are getting a bit more clear on our understanding of the formation of Europe while living here - and where the religious differences come into play as well. I never took European history and wish I had a bit. Many of the countries we know of in Europe today are very young in terms of the actual land division and set up of current government structures. The Renaissance and Reformation did much to start moving countries away from the rule of Monarchies and the Church (under the Vatican) and then the various Revolutions did the rest up through the end of the 19th Cent.

Enough of history. We ate some great food, had some great fun and it was a really nice weekend. Admittedly, glad to be done with packing/unpacking suitcases for a while with school starting next week. We have been away from our house more than we've been at our house this summer which is fun but we are ready for some routine now. More of Vienna later....

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