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two days was not enough time for vienna. guess that’s what i get for trying to divide my short easter break among three cities…next time i’ll know better. : ) one fun thing about my visit was getting to meet some very distant idziorek cousins, michal and maciej, who are studying in vienna – they gave me a quick insider’s tour of the city center and we enjoyed some native wienerschnitzel. 😉 very fun. i had some fairly wet, rainy/snowy weather while i was in vienna, so i’m not sure that my photos really do justice to how picturesque the city center is (it’s actually designated as a unesco world heritage site)! i could probably go on for a while about how great the streets were and how each building was lovelier than the next and how of course so much amazing music and art comes from such an inspiring environment…but i have lots of photos to show, so:

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horse-drawn carriage with the rathaus in the background

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i think the highlight of my stay in vienna was fulfilling a young katie’s wish to see the lippizaners at the spanish riding school. i got a tour of the stables and also got to watch the morning exercises set to classical music. photos weren’t really allowed, but i snuck a few – this is supposed to be the most beautiful indoor riding arena in the world, and used to serve as an occasional ballroom for various austrian monarchies. this is where the lipizzaners train to do a kind of ‘equestrian ballet’ that was derived from the breed’s past as cavalry horses. okay, enough about horses…now for buildings! : )

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the ‘inner ring’ of vienna, a series of connected boulevards that encircle the historic center. i walked the circle – lots of beautiful trees, lanes for biking…there’s even a tram that follows the ring. excellent street.

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while following the ring, i took a detour to the stadtpark, where i was lucky enough to catch a patch of blue sky.

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i also visited the art history museum, which was fantastic!

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the dome over the entrance hall at the art history museum

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more museum interior…i saw an excellent exhibit of arcimboldo’s work here.

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exterior and interior of stefansdom, vienna’s most famous cathedral. i love the pattern on the ceramic tiled roof!

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it was a rainy day in vienna.

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i ran across otto wagner’s majolikahaus, which was designed as part of the viennese jugendstil movement. the facade is covered completely floral patterns of tiles…so beautiful!

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not far away was something completely different (it kind of reminds me of a wedding cake, like you could just eat the icing off of the facade…)

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the ‘downtown’ center of vienna, where the serious shopping was to be had…an interesting mix of older and more modern buildings (that’s hans hollein’s haas haus on the left).

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i was very excited to see otto wagner’s austrian postal savings bank, even if it was snowing a bit.

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exterior bank details: angel with laurels, detail showing the (decorative and functional!) aluminum rivets that attach the marble plates to the building facade.

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i got stuck inside the building during one of the day’s snowier moments, but it was great to spend some time checking out all of the neat steel and glass interior details.

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the city is full of ornate statuary: the pestsäule, devoted to victims of the plague; and the fountain at michaelerplatz

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more statuary: a tribute to josef haydn; fountain in the neuermarkt

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i of course had to visit the secession pavilion.

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it was designed in 1898 by joseph maria olbrich as a temple to the arts…inside is the absolutely incredible beethoven frieze by klimt, a tribute to the composer’s ‘ode to joy.’

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detail of exterior decoration of the secession pavilion…the owls are apparently symbols of pallas athena, the goddess of wisdom, victory and the industrial arts.

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i also took the metro a little ways out of the city center to visit prater, vienna’s famous amusement park, and the riesenrad, the giant ferris wheel that has become an icon of the city since it was erected in 1897 (to celebrate the 50th anniversary of franz-joseph’s coronation).

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i also got off the metro at the stop on the ‘donauinsel,’ the island in the danube (the metro stop was actually on the bridge over the river, which i thought was kind of cool). thought i should see the great danube as long as i was so close…

and a slide show to finish: this was just a ‘random’ block of buildings that i happened to walk by…i photographed them in order, just as they are on the street. i thought maybe it could help to show how beautiful and ornate many of the buildings in vienna’s center are:

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