Walking Tour of Vienna

Hi, as you may have noticed, I have fallen behind on my blog posts.  We have had several busy days and I just haven’t had the energy to work on a post late in the evening. We are actually in Budapest right now, and it is raining for a day or two so I am going to try to get at least a little bit caught up.

Day 69, Saturday, November 2, 2019

Bob found another walking tour online so we are off to check out Vienna this morning.  First stop is the Naschmarkt, a local outdoor market that has been operating on this same site since the 1500’s!  There are colourful stand with fruits and vegetables, olives and antipasto appetizers…as well as all sorts of candies, dried fruits and some rather exotic looking products in the fish market section.Near the Naschmarkt we find this interesting tribute to the Orson Wells movie, The Third Man.  It is possible to tour the sewers, right under our feet, where part of the movie was filmed, but we pass on that today.

I take a photo of some wedding dresses in a shop window and a short time later we see a bride and groom.  The bride seemed annoyed and her pretty dress was getting all dirty as it dragged along the street. I wanted to tell her attendants to pick up the back of her dress!  Not my idea of a nice way to spend part of your wedding day, hiking along the streets towards a place for your photo shoot. There is a statue of Mozart, right beside a Hop On Hop Off bus station.  We sit and have our picnic lunch and watch tourists jump off the bus, snap a photo from quite a distance, and then jump back on the bus to get to the next destination.  This sure isn’t the way we do it!  We sight-see very slowly and leisurely, stopping often to look at the sights, people watch and just enjoy where we are and what we are seeing. We are very slow tourists!
This equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II, erected in 1795  is the oldest equestrian statue in Vienna.

It stands in front of the Neue Burg (New Castle) Wing  of the Hofburg Palace.  Notice that part of the palace is still in need of cleaning.     We make our way to the Albertina Museum, which we will visit another day.  There is a Durer Exhibit I am looking forward to seeing.  This is a street view from a corner of the Albertina.

The Gates of Violence remembers victims of all wars and violence. The statues are a montage of wartime images: clubs and WWI gas masks, a dying woman birthing a future soldier, victims of cruel medical experimentation, and chained slave laborers.  It is on the site of an apartment block that was destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War.  Hundreds of people had sheltered in the apartment basement and their bodies were never recovered from the rubble of the destroyed building. Of course there are several churches on our walk, and we visit all of them! This broad pedestrian Kärntner Strasse is packed with people and lined with shops and places to eat.  This road dates to 97AD when it was a Roman road that went from Vienna to the border of Italy and Slovenia, and eventually all the way to St. Petersberg, Russia! I thought that the Zen-Doodle like designs on the clothing in this shop were interesting.  The modern Haas House offers interesting reflections of St. Stephen’s church. The St. Stephen’s Cathedral is huge, and ornately decorated, outside…  and inside. Just behind the cathedral we see a group of people taking part in a drinking game.  The guy in the blue jeans drank his big can of beer twice as quickly as the guy dressed in brown! The Stock im Eisen is part of a tree that has hundreds of iron nails pounded into it and dates from 1440.  No one is sure why the nails were pounded in but it is thought that is was for good luck. It is located on the corner of a building and is protected behind plexiglass. The Holy Trinity Column, located on a street in the inner city of Vienna, was erected after the Great Plague epidemic in 1679.  It is one of the most well-known sculptural pieces of art in the city.
St. Peter’s Church has an oval dome and its open layout makes it feel bigger than it actually is. I thought it interesting the way the paintings on the dome extended over the sculptural trim around the round windows.The end of each pew is beautifully carved with different finials of three children’s heads.  We sat for quite a while listening to the choir practicing.  Back outside, there are interesting details everywhere I look, like these sculptures holding up balconies.I loved this building. It looks like a castle.  I wouldn’t mind living here! Back out on the Kärntner Strasse, there are lots of famous brand name shops, like Jimmy Choo…
where the customers are served champagne as they shop!  Sigh…an experience I am sure I will never have!
There are Roman ruins…  and beautiful statues on the corners of buildings.  This is the building that houses the Austrian National Library, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, as well as the Spanish Riding School with the world famous Lipizzaner stallions.  We will visit both of these on another day,  It gets dark earlier now, at about 5;30.  The buildings look pretty all lit up. This is the other side of the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg Palace.  We saw the backside earlier in the day. Time to head home.  This subway station has colourful murals.  Our apartment is very well located on the U6 subway line, so it takes less than a half hour to get home.  Somehow even our ‘easy’ days end up being quite long. We left before noon and it will be after 7:00 by the time we get home.

Walking Tour of Munich

Day 57, Monday, October 21, 2019

Bob found a walking tour of Munich at bigboytravel.com that we use today.  On our way to the start of this walking tour we find a sculpture by Mauro Staccioli.  The Ring is 12 meters in diameter and weighs 14 tons. The Ring is right next to the entrance to the Old Botanical Garden where we have our lunch.  We see lots of interesting people on our travels.  The man below was ‘communing’ with a tree…he walked circles around it, with his hands out, making gestures towards the tree.  Some police driving through the park stopped to talk to him but they let him be, guess they figured he was harmless.  Nearby I spotted this lady dressed all in white.  She looks like she belongs to a different place and time. There was a small gallery in the Botanical Gardens but they were changing exhibitions and not open.  I liked both the door handle and the interesting poster, which reads, The Long Night of Munich Museums.
First stop on our tour, why don’t you come along with us?  The   Fountain Boy depicts a satyr spitting water at a young boy who shields his face.  It originally caused a problem because there was no leaf over his private parts, but it is now a favourite Munich fountain. 

Citizen’s Hall Church was heavily damaged during WWII but it has been rebuilt and looks exactly like it did in the 1700’s.  The basement contains the tomb of Rupert Mayer, a famous Jesuit priest who stood up to the Nazis occupation and died in a concentration camp.. Our walk continues down a broad pedestrian street with large trees. St Michael’s Church.  I liked the huge elaborate candle holders. The church contains The Royal Crypt which holds 40 tombs.  The most famous of these is the tomb of “Mad” King Ludwig II.  Ludwig was a big spender and built many lavish castles and palaces.  We visited the Neuschwanstein Castle on our first trip to Europe almost 40 years ago.  It is the castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Snow White castle. No photos are allowed in the crypt so I did a quick sketch of King Ludwig’s tomb. No one ever seems to mind if I draw.There are a few churches on this tour!  Each of them has its own distinctive feature.  Saint Anna’s Church has had a chapel on this site since 1440.  I thought I saw people inside, behind the locked gates, but when I zoomed in with my camera, I realized it was a life size sculpture of the Last Supper.We pass this tree sculpture on the corner of a building on our way to The Asamhof Passage. Asamhof Passage is a little pedestrian street lined with restaurants, lots of flowers, and this poor fellow who needed my change more than I did! Asamkirche was built by the Asam brothers as a showpiece for their church building skills.  It is only 30 feet wide but it is so packed with over-the-top-Rococo decoration that we don’t know where to look! The entire focus of the interior leads the eye to a bright golden window meant to feel like the eye of God staring down at us. This is the exterior of the church and the brother’s house next door, which had bedroom windows looking onto the high altar in the church.There are lots of modern shops below the traditional apartments. I think I look OK with wings! The town gate, built in 1318 has two towers and is the oldest of the three city gates still standing in Munich. A view down the street from the town gate. Walking back towards Marienplatz we walk through the Victuals Market (Viktualiemarkt). This is a tough place to be when you can’t eat gluten, dairy or eggs!There are lots of flower stalls.  I particularly liked the little dog that seemed to belong to this one. This is the tallest May Pole we have ever seen! We can see the Glockenspiel Tower down a side street between two buildings.

The Frauenkirche has beautiful chandeliers illuminating its interior.

I’ve mentioned the beautiful window boxes before.  This is a department store and just look at its gorgeous window boxes! The New Town Hall’s main attraction is the Glockenspiel. This chiming clock was added to the tower in 1907.  At 11am, midday, and 5pm the Munich Glockenspiel recounts a royal wedding, a jousting tournament and a traditional dance with  32 life-sized animated figures in its 260 foot tower.     The show lasts about ten minutes, followed by the ringing of church bells. Bob remembered the Beck Department store from our first visit to Munich almost 40 years ago!  He said it was right next to the Glockenspiel and sure enough it was! Metro drawings from today.  People kept getting off the metro before I was finished!

 

Salzburg Cathedral and Bio Fest

Day 49, Sunday, October 13, 2019

This morning we attend a service at the Salzburg Cathedral.  There is a choir at this service and we thought it would be a nice way to see the church, and hear the choir at the same time.  The inside of the church is magnificent.  No matter how many churches we visit, we still wonder at their ornate interiors.This short video gives you look at the church while listening to the choir. I draw while we listen to the service and choir.  Of course we can’t understand any of it! I was tempted to finish this drawing of the altar from a photo but in the end decided to leave it just as it was. The cathedral was badly damaged during the Second World War. But today is beautifully restored.  The ceilings are particularly ornate, this is the ceiling of one of the small side chapels. In the basement is a crypt with a small chapel, and its very own ghostly apparition that flies around the room!  Tough to catch its likeness in a photo but there it is on the back wall.

After the service we find a Bio Fair (Organic Fair) right around the corner.  There are people everywhere enjoying the sunshine, food and drinks.  Great people watching today! We have lunch here but are too full to have one of these giant donut-like pastries, which are served either with sauerkraut or sprinkled with sugar and filled with jam.We sit for awhile to listen to a band, which sang in English, and I did a quick sketch of the bass player.

There is an area for the kids to play…I think they must be scratchy after jumping in all that hay! Nearby is St. Peter’s Cemetery.  Cemeteries in Austria are very neat and beautifully kept.We learned that plots are rented in Austria and if the rent is not paid the bones are dug up and the plot is rented out to someone else.  The remains are either moved to a mass gravesite or dug up and buried deeper in the same plot and the headstone removed so that the plot can be reused!  The headstones are on the wall of the church for exactly this reason.  The rent on the plot was not paid so the grave was reused and the headstones were placed here.  This explains the many headstones we have seen on cemetery walls and other churches.

The von Trapp family (The Sound of Music) hid in this cemetery, in one of these vaults just before they escaped from Austria.
Bob insisted we needed a photo of me hiding in the cemetery!We almost miss seeing the catacombs dating from the 12th century.  Can you see the windows high up in the cliff above the cemetery?  Pay particular attention to the little door below the windows.  This is where Saint Maximus and 50 of his followers were thrown to their death in 477AD, because of their faith.This is one of the chapels carved out of the rock high in the cliff. A view of the graveyard through one of the windows as we climbed down from the stone chapels. Bob has a few more places for us to visit.  The Church of Our Lady dates from 1221 AD.  It was very dark everywhere except for right around the altar where there are soaring pillars and arched ceilings. Next is the Horse Fountain.  This fountain has a ramp (the white area on the right side of the photo) so that horses could walk right into the fountain to cool off. This fountain is just a bit smaller! Notice the dates on these buildings…1360 on the apricot coloured one and 1258 on the brown one.  I am amazed that these houses are this old. We see a very long line up… it is people lining up for ice cream!  Soft ice cream in a cup with a choice of fresh fruit and other toppings. I see this curious ‘wand’ and wonder where it is from.This is a view of the side of the Salzburg Cathedral.
We walk back through the Bio-Fest on our way home and now I know where the wand comes from.  These look like such fun to make.Walking past this house we notice a sign saying that this is where the creator of the song “Silent Night’ was born.One more church!.. with lots of paintings and a pretty green and white ceiling.  The skull was on a plaque near the door, and the little bronze plaques were in the square outside.  They mark the location where a person was arrested and taken to a concentration camp.  We looked for these in other cities but couldn’t find any.  It has the person’s name, date of birth, date of arrest, the name of the camp and their date of death.  

This sculpture is a popular destination for Mozart fans. The horse fountain in the square near the Salzburg Cathedral glows in the late afternoon sun. I thought tying them up was a clever way to deal with unruly tall grasses. In a yard near our Airbnb I spot these little rock gardens.  I might have to make one of these in our garden at home.  I am always collecting stones! The fall colours are brilliant in the late afternoon sun as we arrive home.

Exploring Pula and the Amphitheatre

Day 16, Wednesday. September 20, 2017

Today was cloudy, but thankfully we didn’t have any rain.  It certainly makes a big difference in our enjoyment of the day and our walk about. This post will be a bit picture heavy, there are just so many interesting things to show you.

Pula’s old buildings are either very dilapidated looking and/or they have been colourfully painted. Here are a few of the streets we walked today.There are a few more people out and about today now that the rain has stopped.Loved these balconies with all the pots of plants. I think a gardener lives here!This is the biggest ship we have ever seen. it was way more than a block long and it is simply enormous!
We went into the Temple of Augustus, only 10 Kuna each, or $2.00 Canadian.  These huge feet were my favourite exhibit inside. They were incredibly detailed. That is my foot in black at the bottom of the picture to give an idea of their size.More narrow streets…
and interesting balconies. You must look up in these cities or you miss so much.Here are some interesting fishing boats. We noticed that they all had lots of lights for attracting the fish at night. We thought that this was illegal, but I guess it isn’t here?

We sat for a while in St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, enjoying the quiet simplicity of this cathedral. It is so different from all the very ornate churches we saw in Spain and Portugal on our last trip.I thought that the church’s Madonna was particularly beautiful This seems to be the church’s bell tower, but I am not certain about that. It is right in front of the church.Next stop is the Roman Amphitheatre that we walked around yesterday. It is the sixth largest amphitheater in the world. It held up to 20,000 spectators and was built in the 1st Century AD., so it is over 2,000 years old! Gladiatorial games were banished in the beginning of the 5th Century and after that it was neglected and gradually fell into ruin.Today this arena is used for festivals and performances in the summer months.Seems we were into ‘selfies’ today!Note the remains of an arched entrance in the foreground.There were rooms and chambers around the arena, some were used to hold wild beasts, and I am not sure what the others were used for. This animation video give a better idea of what the arena and the area around it looked like when it was intact.  The very beginning of the video looks fuzzy but it quickly gets better. Underneath the Amphitheater is a display about making olive oil with many ancient amphoras.Guess what I thought these look like?As we were leaving we saw a pair of lions guarding the entrance into the arena.Here is an artist’s print of the Arena as it is today.We found some more interesting streets to wander, and stopped for some tea and nourishment. All this sightseeing is hard work! We seem to walk between 13,000 to 16,000 steps each day according to my Fitbit. Just a few more steps than I usually walk at home.We climbed up to the Marine Museum but elected to walk around it rather than go inside.  There were some great views of the city and the Amphitheater..As we headed back to our car we were treated to the sights and smells of a little flower marketIt still seems bizarre to me that we can walk down a city street and there it is, a 2,000 year old Roman Amphitheater!

Exploring Zagreb

Day 11 Friday September 15, 2017

It is cloudy and it rained during the night but there is no wind this morning so we head out to explore.  First stop was the Dolac Market, a huge outdoor market where vendors sell fruits, vegetables, meat and fish every day of the week.  There are red umbrellas over the stands and it is all very picturesque. We buy vegetables to make soup tonight and some fruit. We get our leeks and carrots from this baba, and the rest from several other vendors.Just a short walk from the Dulac Market is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Nice that one of the towers is under construction but the scaffolding is wrapped in a photographic copy of the building underneath. This is so much more attractive than the generic construction tarps used at home.

The inside of the cathedral is magnificent. Construction started in the 11th century and additions and alterations were made over the next seven centuries.

Here are some photos of the church interior

Note the gold stars on the ceiling above the organ.

The faithful came to pray at this crypt, often just walking up and placing hands on the crypt while they prayed.

This shows a spire before and after restoration and the clock on the wall stopped at 7 hours 3 minutes and 3 seconds on the 9th of November, 1880 because of an earthquake that caused damage to the cathedral. The renovations today are a result of this earthquake as the repairs made after the earthquake did not fair well and have badly eroded. This photo shows some of the newly reconstructed columns and the old ones that are still waiting reconstruction
There were defensive walls built around the Cathedral in the 15th Century and there are little cottages built up against the wall.On the way back to our apartment we come across these fellows.  No idea why what they were doing or why they were dressed as caveman but they posed for photos for the tourists.
This big square has more market stalls and it is surrounded by majestic buildings. There is just so much to see here. This machine was pressing olive oil.  The green coilsl coming out were the waste and it was as hard as wood!
Here is another building shrouded in a construction covering. I really like them. We go back to our apartment for lunch and a little rest and then head back out for the afternoon.
There are a lot of parks in Zagreb and even though it is fall there are still lots of flowers in bloom. This is the Art Pavilion, originally constructed as the Croatian Pavilion for an Exhibition in Budapest in 1896. It was disassembled and then reconstructed here.We check out the Hotel Esplanade near the railway station, which was built for passengers of the Orient Express. We couldn’t afford to eat here but I did use the bathroom, which was very luxurious.
The Botanical Gardens. are next. The show greenhouse is under construction and reconstruction so we can’t visit it, but the rest of the gardens are very lovely. We enjoy our time walking along the garden paths checking out the flowers and trees. These are lotus flower seed heads…and these Santa Cruz water lily pads grow up to two meters across!  On the way home we see these cars parked half on the road and half on the street!