I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and happy New Year! Welcome to 2012.. I really feel that this will be a great year for me and my friends. There are many things I will (hope to accomplish) such as getting my Master’s Degree and travelling to many more places. I even wrote a list of New Years Resolutions! What are your resolutions?
Being able to spend Christmas in Vienna was quite an experience. The city is just beautiful. Vienna is a clean city and the people are very polite. The architecture is just gorgeous on most of the buildings in the main city centre. The only downside is I felt Vienna was fairly expensive and went over budget while I was there. Just something to keep in mind for those wanting to travel there. If you go out most meals were between 10-20 euros in a pub/restaurant and if you want a coffee or hot chocolate those ranged from 3.50-6 euros! It adds up really fast. Plus the museums are not free, but most do offer a student discount.
I only had 8 days in Vienna, but I felt like I saw almost everything I wanted to (granted I was definitely a tourist, and if I go back I want to be a traveller next time-yes there’s a difference). I first went to the Upper Belvedere which has been converted into an art Museum and houses the works of Klimt and many many others from different art ages. I didn’t have time to tour the Lower Belvedere which houses their special temporary collections.
I also was able to see Sleeping Beauty Ballet and the Vienna State Opera! The building was just beautiful, but it was hard to see the performance from my seat on the upper level because everyone was leaning forward blocking any view I would have gotten. But I made due and enjoyed a fantastic evening. It really is a must and a great excuse to dress up.
Then there were a couple of days spent touring the Hofburg which has numerous museums (you have to pay for each seperate one) so I picked to see the Armoury/Crown Jewels and musical instruments as well as the Sisi Museum/Imperial Apartments and Silver Collection. There were many other’s that I wanted to see, but just did not have the time this trip. The Hofburg was great and is in a wonderful location. From here you are in the Museum Quarter with the Natural History Museum, Parliament, and Rathaus and here are were some of the best Christmas Markets are located (at least the largest from what I found).
The Christmas Markets were wonderful. Shops with different items such as pottery, ornaments, paintings, toys, pastries, and more. Here I bought hot chocolate that comes in a christmas mug that you can keep if you want. I did, but I love collecting mugs!
I also went to a mozart performance at the Mozart House. There are several performances you can go to including one in the Hofburg, but I thought it would be neat to hear his music played right where he played it when he was alive! It was a small intricately painted room in the Mozart House, but the acoustics were beautiful.
For Christmas Eve I attended Midnight Mass at St. Stephans Cathedral. It was one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have been too. The The choir singing, the organ playing it was amazing! The service was mainly in German, but they did offer a prayer in English for visitors. I feel so lucky to have been able to experienced the service.
On Christmas day I went to the Schonbrunn Palace which seems a popular place for families to go on Christmas since it is one of the few things that are open. The palace was huge and the tour was quite extraordinary. Though when I went quite a bit of the palace was being restored.
Before leaving I went to the Prater which was a small amusement park. Here I rode the Wiener Riesenrad and the Prater Turm. The Prater Turm was scary! It is a swing type ride but climbs 311 feet in the air! I’m a tad bit afraid of heights and I hate ferris wheels but I survived both rides and am so glad I sucked it up and went!
I’m sure that I am missing quite a bit of detail here, but lets just say Christmas in Vienna is worth it. Especially if you don’t have the opportunity to spend Christmas with your family.
I still have exams coming up towards the end of January and then begin my second semester! I better get back to studying!
The Belvedere! The Hofburg!
St. Stephans Cathedral! Rathaus Christmas Market
Main Shopping Streets in Vienna Schonbrunn Palace at Christmastime