Any good trip starts with a good cup of coffee...and so we started ours at Starbucks. I was particularly excited as I had't had Starbucks since we left the States in January. So it was a memorable cup of coffee.
Our train tickets weren't valid until the day after this, so we spent our first day in Vienna walking around the city center. There is amazing artwork on many of the old buildings. This is just one of so many that we saw.
We stopped to visit the heart of Vienna, St. Stephen's Cathedral. It's in the center of the old city (the Ringstrasse) and was built starting in 1137. A great picture of the amazing tiled roof can be seen HERE. We had rather poor weather so the tiles don't show up very well. Also, there are 23 bells in the towers at St. Stephens and since we were there at the call to worship on Sunday morning, we got to hear them all in person! It was incredible! The tolling went on for over three minutes (I have most of it on video) and the sound was deafening. How beautiful it was to hear.
This is one of the statues on the outside of the church, depicting the triumph of Christendom (in Vienna) over the Turks in the middle ages. (Can you see the Turk being stepped and speared in the side by the victorious saint? Such a wonderful picture of Christian love.)
As we left Stephensplatz, we walked along Kaertnerstrasse, THE place to shop inside the ring. The shops were amazing and we heard so many languages!
The shopping district ends (or begins, depending on how you enter Kaertnerstrasse) at the Opera House. One could only enter by going to see a show (somehow we thought even tried-and-true Viennese might disapprove of a 2 and 3 yr old at the opera) or by taking a tour. So we just toured the shop inside and the amazing architecture outside.
Continuing our walk, we headed to the Hofburg, the winter home of the Habsburgs, the former ruling family of Austria. (They were in power over 600 years!) This is in the Burggarten, a pretty park near one of the Hofburg entrances. Note the satute of Mozart, who performed for the Empress and Emperor when he was only six. (He was from Salzburg, but the city seems to gloss over that small fact.)
We had lunch at the Stadt Park closer to our apartment, but walked back in to the Ring for the obligatory kaffee and kuchen (coffee and cake) snack. Here's Jon, enjoying his Mozart kuchen. I had Sacher Torte and the kids decided they wanted ours instead of eating their apple strudel.
We dashed home in the rain and prepared for another day of adventure.