Alright, so... The director (me) told Julie (Jill) to put the wrong arm in the air in the last post. Totally my fault. Close though!
Our App guide stated that Vienna was the most beautiful city in Europe. You can imagine our skepticism sitting on the train from Salzburg reading this, considering the incredible sights we've already seen, and are still in store for.
I now completely understand why the author of this App chose to bestow this very high honour on the city of Vienna.
Though we don't know when it was actually founded, and it's too late for random Googling at this point, since then, it seems as though every empire and civilization that has come through here has left their best and brightest artists to shape and mould this city into what it is today. Berlin was a beautiful city for the way it has restored it's older buildings, but has clearly begun to shift towards modernization. Paris too. Vienna is still a classic. A vinyl collection in an MP3 world (Yes, I know vinyl's making a comeback, but it's late and that's the best metaphor I could come up with).
The picture is from atop St. Stephen's cathedral which, although currently under construction, is one of the most impressive gothic style churches we've seen. Right down the road, however, is St. Michael's, done in a completely different style, but equally as impressive.
I'm not an architect, so I can't start to rhyme off all the motifs and styles of buildings that we've seen here, but the differences are clear when looking at them, and the number of different styles is amazing.
And it seems as though every building here could be a chapter in a first year architecture text book.
Not only that... But the minds and artists that have either originated here or used this city as their home base... It's incredible. Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss, Freud, Schubert, Mahler, Wagner.... I list mostly musicians because I'm biassed, but... The architects and artists that have called this city home at one point or another are equally as numerous.
As with Berlin, we could easily spend a week - probably a month - here, and not learn/see everything there is to learn/see. One little tidbit that I did find particularly interesting is that, back in the day, it seems waltzing induced labour in pregnant women close their due dates. So, if anyone reading really wants that baby to come out... Maybe some three-quarter time dancing is all you need... :-)
It doesn't hurt that a) the weather today was sunny and 21, and b) One of the main parks in the city was home to a celebration of local food and other products crafted on a small scale. You know... Beer and wine. Something your fearless travelers do enjoy... On occasion... :-)
Many of the travelers we've met on trains and in towns have not made a stop in Vienna. Those we have met that have been here tried their best but could not do full justice to this city.
Maybe we were more drawn here than some due to our musical background... But no matter if you have a love of opera; no matter if you have a masters in architecture; no matter if you just want to walk through a city and literally be moved to near tears or have your breath taken away around every corner; Vienna is the place to do it.
Rome, Athens - the gauntlet has been thrown. Let's see what you got :-)
Tomorrow we tour the last part of Vienna that we weren't able to make it to today, and then we board our 3 night cruise down the Danube river, eventually ending up in Budapest. :-) Though we've been blessed with free Wi-Fi thus far, I do fear it may not be available on the cruise, so your fearless travelers may have to wait to update you for a few days.
If that is the case, we thank you again for reading. We thank you for your comments as well, as we love reading them. Quickly... Responses to a few of you...
Peter - Thanks for the tip! I'll check that out next we get the chance.
Mom and Dad - We had PHENOMENAL schnitzel in Salzburg. We also had some tonight. Tonight's is even on Facebook if you look around a bit :-)
Maureen/Kellie/Greg - Thanks for the sporting/political update from home. I've been keeping an eye on news and the TSN app as much as I can, but the updates are a big help!
Taimi... I believe we have cleared the food issue up :-)
Good night from the most beautiful city in Europe, everyone. Thanks again for reading!