Tuesday, 4 May 2010

This Means Nothing to Me, Oh Vienna - Ultravox

Immersed in the Blog, I almost missed the 13-00 train from Zagreb to Ljubljana capital of Slovenia, where the countryside continued pristine throughout. This time almost all of the journey was through a shallow tree lined gorge with a fairly major river running alongside. Small Hamlets were dotted along each bank and with farming seeming the most prominent way of life, things looked idyllic.

The train now standing at platform 1 is the 13-00 to Ljubljana.

Slightly late, the train duly arrived at the small city where I had time to take a quick look around. That was all that was needed, as Ljubljana is tiny to say the least, so with little to see it was easily covered withing the hour. Returning to the railway station, I was lucky to find a train heading for Vienna in just15 minutes time. Not wishing to delay matters any further I hopped aboard and that is where I am now. The only new birds added to the trip list were Pheasant, Magpie, Stock Dove, Mallard, Grey Wagtail and Common Kestrel.

A couple of shots from the train window on the way to Vienna yesterday.

Not ideal but tells the story.

A final shot from yesterday as we reached the Austrian lowlands.

Vienna, Austria

After a 6 hour rail journey, I finally arrived in Vienna, Austria, or to be more accurate on the outskirts. It was an interesting trip once again, through lush montain habitat, including the Kara Wanken Mountains along the Austrian border, while at every station stop it was good to note the 'Wheel Tapper' is still alive and well. Unfortunately, nearly all the way here the rain didn't stop, nor did that change at our destination making hotel finding a little more difficult. The 'cheap' one that was recommended by a fellow traveller turned out to be 120 Euros which I hoped was just this establishment and not an indicator of price generally.

Across the road I sought temporary refuge in a garage coffee bar where I met Tony & Christine from Russia, Andy from Austria and the most helpful of the 4 of them, who's name I don't remember, from Turkmenistan. They seemed alright, and while I'm not given to taking too many risks, I decided things would be OK and accepted the lift they offered to a cheap hotel. It was in fact a Hostel, and not particularly salubrious at that, but as luck would have it there was 'no room at the inn'. However, the people did help by saying there was a Pension within walking distance, which on the face of it looked a bit grotty. Checking, what was an apartment, I was pleasantly surprised especially with the price tag of E35. Bidding farewell and thanking my new found friends, it was always too late to be thinking about Blogs and with no Internet on site I left
yesterday's post until this morning.

Breakfast was a sparse affair with just 2 bread rolls butter and jam plus a cup of coffee, but all I needed at that time of the morning. The local Internet Cafe couldn't facilitate (I need to use my lap-top to down load photos) but the hotel next door did the trick.

Immediately after that I got the Metro into the city and started my sightseeing tour with a 'day ticket' on the usual 'City Tour Bus'. That got off to a smashing start as the coach in front backed up, but despite directions, crashed into our bus! The city of Vienna is probably the most cultural place I have ever been with a choice of just about anything from music to architecture, theater, opera, art,history before you even get on to the good stuff. Pressing time didn't allow for one of the many Mozart (or the Strauss', Beethoven, Wagner et al) concerts advertised or a look at The Spanish Riding School of Vienna with their fabulous Lipizzaner Horses. In addition a look around the National Art Gallery would have been an eye opener, said to be crammed full of early Klimt, Egon Schiele (although sometimes a little too pornographic for me) and even an Andy Warhol exhibition beingstaged at the moment. It was also interesting to note that Jethro Tull, Supertramp and Faith No More are also playing in the city this week, but there was no mention of the world famous Bot's Choir which I once saw at the Albert Hall, London.

In addition to all of this there was also the parks and gardens, which are said to cover over half of the city area, plus restaurants and cafes which the city boasts having more per capita than any other in the world. I did try both the schnitzel and strudel, but unfortunately no room for the array of cakes, pastries and wonderful coffee.

St Stephan's Cathedral, the central point of Vienna.

Some detail of the Cathedral

Reminded me of the immortal line uttered by the wonderful Maureen Lipman in the 5th best movie ever made 'Educating Rita, wouldn't you just die without Mahler?"

The mighty Danube

An impressive church on the banks of the river, but can't remember name.

The Opera House, oh for an evening there!

One of the many City parks, all very spring like.

Statue commemorating the immortal Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The City Hall from a distance.

Maria Theresa

The National Art Gallery

directly opposite and twinning, The Natural History Museum.

Entrance to the Palace of Heroes.

The Palace

Famous Austrian General but name forgotten.

These horses and coaches are an integral part of city life.

Some architectural detail.

some more,
and more.
Roman Remains,
discovered and unearthed in the early 90's.

Back of the Palace of Heroes.

A typical Viennese street, can you see the litter?

another church with no name.

Preparing City Hall for the Spring Recitals.

Plaque above the house of WA Mozart

Just one of his many homes in Vienna

Time is of the essence so please forgive any mistake. Hope to be able to get 'on line' again tomorrow as the trip continues.

Paul Harris says yesterday's insect may be a Carpenter Bee!