Exploring Vienna

This Thursday marks the third month since my move to Vienna, and I still feel I’m just brushing the surface of things to see in this city! This week, we visited the artsy, bohemian Hundertwasserhaus Village and walked around the amusement park at the Prater.

The Hundertwasserhaus neighborhood is a beautiful gem for those who love modern art — and even for those who don’t. Hundertwasser designed each sloping building with such intricate detail; even the stones are cut in a way that seems “shattered” yet perfectly put-together at the same time. Complete with a shopping center and charming cafes, the Hundertwasser Village made for a lovely afternoon.

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The Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna’s famous, giant Ferris Wheel, stands as the focal point in the Prater amusement park area. The park itself is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… so there is NO excuse to miss this gorgeous attraction!

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I’m in the process of compiling a “Vienna Bucket List” — things I absolutely must do or see before the year is over. Though I’ve seen quite a bit, there’s still a lot left to do! Now that work has settled in a bit more, I’m really looking forward to experiencing all this city has to offer.

Karlskirche

Yesterday, I visited the Karlskirche for their 11 a.m. service. Though Stephansdom is (from an American’s standpoint at least) the better-known of the two, the Karlskirche has a breathtaking beauty of its own. For church-attending purposes, I actually prefer the Karlskirche due to the more intimate seating, but that is only my humble opinion.

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The Karlskirche was built in the 18th Century under the supervision of Emperor Charles VI. The impressive, imperial style of the architecture reflects the grandeur Charles envisioned for the church that would bear his namesake. Though the church appears starkly different from many of the other, surrounding buildings at Karlsplatz, it doesn’t look out of place; rather, it makes the church seem even more like a priceless jewel.

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The service was lovely, and I followed almost all of it (it was entirely in German — great practice for me)! The recessional was an organ arrangement of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah — it definitely felt appropriate.

IMG_2895For more information, visit the Karlskirche website! http://www.karlskirche.at/

Austrian National Library

…aka my heaven!

Yesterday, I took advantage of our day off and headed over to Stephansplatz, where I wandered around and discovered some alleyways I’d never seen before. As one would expect from exploring in Vienna, I stumbled upon some really charming places.

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In Vienna, every corner of every street in the city center gives visitors something to see. As if the architecture and color weren’t enough, shop owners decorate their stores with fairy lights and flowers, making the streets an overwhelmingly delightful mass of cuteness.

When I found the Austrian National Library (which, unbeknownst to me, I had passed several times already, just thinking it was some beautiful governmental building… whoops. Sometimes I’m a dumb American living up to my stereotype), I discovered that the famous State Hall with the beautiful painted ceilings and mountains of books is actually located in the entrance off Josefsplatz (good to know for future visitors), so I walked a bit longer, but was absolutely not disappointed. I totally fell in love.

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The Library is part of the University that was founded in the 12th Century! The room also acts as a museum of sorts, housing original documents and heavily-bound leather books from as early as 1200. Appealing to my inner (and outer) music nerd, the Library even features a handwritten piece of Gregorian chant.

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The best part is… I’m only just cracking the surface of what Vienna has to offer. I can’t wait to see more.