Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Candy Cane Tour Part Two: Vien...nah!

My apologies to any friends reading this from Vienna - the first part of this recap you may not enjoy. This is because I didn't really do much research about where I'd be stopping, and found myself staying in the middle of the shopping district. Shopping and Emily do not go hand in hand, and the masses of people were pretty overwhelming on Day One of my time in Vienna. I had a pretty nifty view, though! It was also really warm (so much for that cloudy/rainy forecast - there was nothing but sunshine!!) It also didn't help that most things I found along my wanderings on Day One were closed for construction... However, Day Two was much better, and I quite enjoyed my time overall.

View from my room! Not too shabby...
My train ride from Budapest was...well, one for the books! My assigned seat was next to the most hyperactive child, and least interested set of parents I've ever encountered. Needless to say, this wasn't the most happy experience for me, which probably influenced my attitude upon arrival in Vienna. But there was also a younger fellow who was discussing such a range of topics, in such an ill-educated manner with those around him. Everything from legalization of marijuana, to the need to depopulate the planet, to a bunch of random other points. While some arguments of his I could get behind, overall, I thought he was pretty crazy town... But, it made from some entertaining background noise as I gazed out the window and took in the beautiful landscapes!

So basically, as I've already alluded to, Day One was pretty warm, I was far too overdressed, but as I couldn't check in to my hotel, I was stuck wearing what I had on. Jeans and a spring sweater are not complementary to 25°C temperatures. Sunburn on sunburn. No need to say anymore on that... But, I also didn't have anything planned, no real goals of sights to see, so I just kind of wandered. As a result, most of what I stumbled on, I had no idea what I was looking at. This was really fun, and I tend to do this along my travels, but in this case there was no guiding force directing me in one direction or another. I enjoyed that one of the first buildings I did see was a Church of Scientology, which would only be understood by those of you whom I've had extensive conversations with on this topic over the last few weeks. Not sure, why exactly, I've been so chatty about Scientology. Anyway, I considered taking a picture, but to be honest, the whole institution (if I can call it that) frightens me...

Museum central...and loads of construction!!

Hofburg Palace
This is one of those spots that I had no idea what was in front of me.
Google informs me that it is the Italian National Church of Mary of the
Snows (say that ten times fast...yikes!)
The National Theatre
Rathaus, or town hall. The mayor and city council sit here.
The Votive sponsored by Coca-Cola

Pfarre Fünfhaus, the church across the street from my hotel,
which apparently is brought to you by Mamma Mia!
A different view of that same church
No idea what this church is, but it was near my hotel, and undergoing renovations.
One thing I really like about my first day adventures was the great presence of parks. There were so many along the way, and it was nice to have a little walk through some of them - especially as they offered a bit of shade from the harshness of the sun!

Day Two was action packed. I ate a quick breakfast, and made my way to the Schönbrunn Palace, by foot. Why is this little fact important, you ask? Well, only because I somehow managed to walk by it...twice. Here I was surprised at how few people were there - I walked straight to the front of the line at the ticket booth! I bought a fancy ticket package, which gave me a tour of the Palace, and access to a few other spots, such as the Gloriette, the Privy Garden, and the Orangery. This sight was really the only must-see spot I had in mind for Vienna, and honestly, I probably could have spent the entire day here, just wandering throughout the property! The grounds were so beautiful! It was really fun to kind of get lost in them.

Schönbrunn Palace, as you can see, it would be easy to miss... 

Inside the Gardens

Moi, from the balcony. The Gloriette is in the far back on top of the hill.
Check out that sweet sunburn!
Neptune Fountain
The Gloriette 
View from the top of the Gloriette 
Obelisk Fountain
A shot from within the Orangery grounds
Flowers within the Orangery gardens

The Privy Gardens

However, I had one of the strangest experiences while I was walking throughout the property. I realize that this story might make me sound crazy town, but I'll share anyway. When I left the Gloriette, I was walking along one of the pathways, and something told me to look to my left. There was a really neat view of some trees, and it was almost magical. At the bottom of one of the trees, there was a crow...just chillin'. For some reason, I thought of Mom (she always used to say that in a former life, she must have been a crow, because she liked shiny things!). As I began to walk away, the wind picked up only in the area I was standing, like it was somehow hugging me. I'd like to think it was her letting me know she's okay, or that she knows that I'm doing okay... anyway, it was really comforting in an uneasy sort of way.

When I left the Palace, I took the underground to Donaucity. There's not a whole lot going on here, from what I could see, other than one magnificent park, and the Danube Tower, also know as Donauturm. Here you had an option to bungee jumping, which has been on my todo list for a long, long time. As I approached the tower I thought, I should do it, because why would anyone go bungee jumping by themselves in Vienna, of all places? Who would believe that this was I thing I did?! Well, friends, I am sad to report that I did not participate in bungee jumping because I didn't have enough money on me, and I didn't quite feel it was worth the cost of truckin' it back the hotel to grab the remainder of the funds. BUT, the tower did offer some spectacular views of Vienna, so it was well worth the trip up!

Views from the top 

Now, from the top, a church caught my eye. I know, I know, for someone who isn't religious, I sure have a thing for churches! But, really some of the best architecture you'll ever see can be found in the design of churches.  So, when I left the tower, I walked in search of it. To get to the church I had to walk across a bridge (which was once again shaded from the sun), and where I found the most angry graffiti I've ever seen. I don't know what 'Veronica' did, but she's got an anti-fan club growing on this wall! Yikes!

I eventually made it to the church, snapped a few photos, and then carried on in search of St. Stephen's Cathedral (different from the one in Budapest, in case anyone was concerned that I was walking back to Hungary!).
The church that caught my eye - St. Francis of Assisi Church.
It's is also known as the Kaiser Jubilee Church or the Mexico Church. 

The Cathedral was incredible. I took a tour of the inside and climbed both the North and South towers. Now, when I say 'climbed both' I mean, I took a sketchy elevator to the top of the North Tower (which houses the bell), and then was completely deceived when I learned I had to climb the many, many stairs to the top of the South Tower. Once again, the views from both were amazing!

St. Stephen's Cathedral 
Inside the Cathedral 

A view from the top of the North Tower
Views from the top of the South Tower

When I left the Cathedral, I was pretty tired. I took the underground back to the hotel, where I rested before a dinner hunt/evening stroll. And this, my friends, concludes stop number two of the Candy Cane Tour.

-the Orange Canadian


  1. The Votive sponsor by Coca-Cola

    What is WRONG with that sentence... LOL

    I would also be too scared to take a photo of XENU (aka THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY). Have you seen GOING CLEAR?

    1. Do you mean aside from my grammatical error, which I will now correct?

      In most parts of Europe, it is my understanding that they use these billboard style advertisements to help cover the costs of the renovation. It's just unfortunate in this case, like many others, that it happens to be sponsored by one of the biggest evils of the world!

      I don't think I've seen that one, but I've watched a number of docs on Scientology. It's really fascinating, but also terrifying!