From Munich, we arrived at the imperial city of Vienna and home to the former Habsburg Empire. The magnificent city is also known for waltz, classical music, operas, fine-art and wealth of architectural grandeur. A walk along the spotless clean streets of Vienna seems like a treat to the eyes with plenty of historic buildings and architecture. I suppose credit has to be given to the monarchy on how the city flaunts its heritage in the nicest way.
While I am not sure whether if all OBB trains are new but they almost look better than their European counterparts. The high standards followed through to the clean and comfortable train cabins. And probably all the feel-good components are there for a pleasant ride. That’s great and please keep up the good work OBB!
For most first-time visitors, the starting place would probably be the gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral or Stephansdom Cathedral. It is also affectionately known as Steffl to the Viennese and located in the busy Stephansplatz area. One of its most prominent features would be the multi-coloured glazed tiled roof which really stands out. While it’s also where you will be approached by people selling concert tickets too. Just thank them and move along if you are not interested.
Upon entering the giant door reveal a grand and exquisite interior with beautifully tiled flooring.
And so I decided to climb up the south tower for a better view of Vienna. Maybe also to see the colourful tiled roof up close and I was rewarded with views like this! After completing the 300 over steps to the top.
In addition, one side of the tiled roof displayed the coat of arms and the Republic of Austria.
We took a rather short walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral to St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche). It is tucked in a rather compact space of the crowded Petersplatz. Peterskirche is also one of the first domed churches in Vienna. It probably took some inspiration from Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica.
While the exterior is kinda nondescript, the interior is totally a different story. It’s amazingly beautiful inside! Furthermore, the ornate decoration and golden stucco are such nice combination.
Around the City Centre
At the very heart of the famous Graben Street is a Holy Trinity Plague Column (Pestsaule). It was erected as a Thanksgiving symbol for the end of the plague in the 17th century.
The walk around the city centre has continuously rewarded me with good looking architectural stuff. It’s also nice to note that the city centre area is rather walkable with plenty of attractions situated near to one another.
And despite having such crowded streets, it still looks spotless with no sighting of unwanted trash, cigarette stubs or graffiti. It’s pretty much the same as the streets in Singapore, which are often termed as very clean by visitors. Though I’m not sure whether if Austria has the same kind of enforcing ‘fines’ we have in Singapore.
The massive St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche) is another fine example of a great Baroque church in Vienna. But the two additional huge columns would seem much more Rome than Baroque. Anyhow, it is slightly further away from the city centre and maybe less well-known when compared to Stephansdom. Emperor Charles VI commissioned the building of Karlskirche after the plague had subsided.
Karlskirche also has a very impressive interior similar to Peterskirche.
There is a lift to reach the ceiling top. While its primary use was for cupola restoration. It is now being used as a tourist attraction. Not sure if it still there as I write, though. Because I was told that it is a temporary fixture and maybe remove subsequently.
Being at the top enables me to see all the frescoes arts up close. It’s so amazing!
STAY: InterCityHotel Vienna review
InterCityHotel Vienna was chosen mainly due to its close proximity to Westbahnhof. And it’s a few stations away to Stephansplatz on the efficient U-Bahn. The clean room was quite modern and the stay was pleasant enough. Also, the front desk staffs we met were very friendly and helpful which is another plus.