Vienna – Day 2

Around 8am we head for the Schönbrunn Palace, where we booked a Grand Tour through the building. The audioguide tells us the story of emperor Franz Jozef and his wife, empress Elisabeth of Bavaria (better known as Sisi). The building reminds us of Versailles, so it doesn’t surprise us to learn that Sisi’s granddaughter ends up marrying the French king Louis XVI, which confirms the links between the two buildings. Afterwards we take a walk in the beautiful gardens of the palace, which offer us even more beautiful sights to see.

We eat our lunch in the famous Hard Rock Café, which is also our starting point for our architectural walk through the heart of Vienna.

Our first stop is Hotel Topazz, but just for a quick glance. Because the building looks special, but isn’t really extraordinary in our eyes. Our next stop is more impressive : the Sint-Stephans cathedral. Here we can see a mix of different styles. Due to fires, reformations in the church and the war, it was rebuild several times. Which results in a mix of Roman, Gothic and Baroque styles. Right across from the cathedral is Haas Haus, a post modern building. A strong contrast to the surrounding buildings. Along our route we also encounter several more buildings : the MAK, the Johan Strauss monument and the Wiener Konzerthaus.

After that we stop at the Karls Church, the only church you have to buy a ticket to enter. But it’s worth it. The church is super light and has an amazing painting on the ceiling of the dome. We get to view this up close thanks to a new elevator which brings us all the way to the top. There we also get to see a spectacular view of Vienna.

Af few steps further is the Otto Wagner pavillion on Karlsplatz. One side of this building is now a bar and poses a perfect pitstop in our busy afternoon. On other days you can visit the other side of the pavillion, but today is a holiday, so it’s closed.

Our walk continues along the Wiener Secession, Vienna Opera House, Albertina, Hofburg,… We start wondering how rich the city was in the past. The more we walk, the more we are blown away by the amazing palaces and buildings in the streets of Vienna. The Looshaus on Michaelerplatz is closed as well. It’s a shame, otherwise we might have snuck in to see the extraordinary interior we learned about in school.

The Saint-Petrus church is de second to last church for today. The dark interior is very different from the Karls Church earlier today. After that we visit the Judenplatz, a monument in memory of all the Austrian Jewish casualties during WWII. De walls are made up of concrete books with their binders facing inside, representing the many victims of the war. We end our walk with the Saint-Ruprechts church and the Sofitel. This last one is a hotel with a skybar on top, named Das Loft. This offers us a perfect view over Vienna and gives us the opportunity to drink a cocktail to end this beautiful day.

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