Glimpses of Vienna

This past weekend I spent in Vienna with my program, and I can honestly say that I LOVE the city!

I love the stately architecture, with elaborate decoration and whimsical statues everywhere.

I love the gorgeous palaces, churches, and even the normal buildings that end up looking like mansions.

In Vienna, I seemed to be in a “tourist rush.” I was so intent on “seeing everything” that I rushed through several lovely moments. Instead of really taking my time to soak in the city, I allowed myself to run past it all in an anxious frenzy to “get everything done.”

For this reason, I wholly intend to return to Vienna. I will come back and give myself time to really absorb the atmosphere, the people, and the place (for this kind of thing really is a GIFT).

In support of my intention, I am not going to present a blog post on all the awesome things I “did” in Vienna. Instead, I show you glimpses– minute moments in space and time– that meant something to me. Little pauses in my day, when I thought “I want to capture this moment.”

Here are my glimpses of Vienna.

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Sisi stars in my hair, in a beautiful cathedral, hearing a gorgeously inspired performance of Mozart’s Requiem.

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One of my favorite sights in the Hofburg palace– Where I imagined being eine Prinzessin.

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Me, with my favorite book about Empress Sisi, with Sisi’s Vienna monument. I had just finished viewing her royal apartments, learning about all the monuments made in her honor, and learning about her life and legacy. I decided to take a detour through a nearby park on the way back to my hotel, and I caught a glimpse of Sisi herself, preserved in marble. I didn’t even know that the statue was there.

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A glimpse of a typical Viennese cafe– an inspired older Klavierspieler accepting applause for his cheerful schmaltzy piano music, coat racks ready to receive the not-yet-appropriate winter coats. magnificent elegant ceiling architecture.

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Perhaps my single favorite location in Vienna– the Austrian National Library. In an entirely-Disney-inspired way, I felt exactly like Belle entering the Beast’s library, being told that I was the receiver of the best possible gift. I stayed in this large hall for at least half an hour, just taking it all in and imagining that it was mine.

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Here, in the Vienna Staatsoper, I was a princess. I was dressed in my finest, as elegantly as I could manage, and carried myself with the utmost decorum. I got the pleasure of rising to my seat from the central magnificent staircase, and I received a wonderful surprise at the top. I had unexpectedly purchased box seats!! I passed through the deep wine-red halls, past a velvet-covered door, and into a tiny private box incorporating royally-studded chairs and a breathtaking view.

I was so unbelievably happy in this moment… Serendipity at its finest.

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A glimpse of the most famous Viennese cafe– which had mediocre food at unbelievably high prices (I accidently ordered what ended up to be a real-life grilled-cheese sandwich for $20), but an atmosphere to really sink into. So worth it.

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The view that presented itself to me after I had climbed 400 spiral steps up the tallest tower of Vienna’s most famous cathedral, St. Stephen’s. To me, after emerging from the dark and damp never-ending staircase, this was a gorgeous surprise.

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One of my favorite things about Vienna– the absolutely gorgeous gothic geometry that presents itself everywhere. These sights remind me of mandalas, all the best doodles, and a sense of utmost creativity. This is one of many glimpses I had of such beautiful designs.

“Vienna wasn’t just a city, it was a tone that either one carries forever in one’s soul or one does not. It was the most beautiful thing in my life.”

Sándor Márai

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