Sorry, no Portugal Post this week, as for the last few days I have been in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. If you’ve already my Big News post then you will be aware that on the 20th September I will be flying out to Vienna to start a year of studying at the city’s university. I’m really excited for it but first we need a few forms signed and rather than do it over an email, my dad and I flew out to Austria. In addition to getting these forms signed we decided it would be worth while to scout out the city, find my accommodation and see what the transportation system is like.
On our first evening we arrived late in the afternoon, taking the local train from the airport and then the underground into the center of the city. Walking around we were immediately greeted by the sight of the extraordinary Votive Church, constructed in the mid 19th century as part of a celebration of the failed assassination attempt of Emperor Franz Joseph. The church is certainly impressive to look at from the sides, unfortunately due to it being made out of sandstone, it is constantly being worn away by acid rain and is always in a state of renovation. For some reason the latest renovation included a massive beer commercial plastered over the front of the church.
The next morning we headed over to the university. Vienna University is one of the oldest universities in Europe, having been founded in 1365, and this historical weight certainly shows. The building is grand to say the least, and it is decorated with the busts of its many famous students and alumni. 15 noble prize winners alone have graced this uni’s halls and their faces are enshrined in a hall of heroes of sorts. Faces such as that of Schrodinger, Landstiener, Boltzmann and Freud can all be found along there.
After spending the day at the university and testing the time it takes to travel from my accommodation back to the uni on both the tram and subway, we headed down to the mighty Danube. The Danube River is the second longest in Europe and divides the city from its eastern district, Donaustadt. Donaustadt, consisting of Donau City, is the newest part of Vienna and consists of modern skyscrapers and high rise buildings.
By early next morning on our third day we’d completed all the tasks we’d set out to do and since our plane wasn’t until the evening that gave us a few hours to explore the city centre. We then decided to take the tram to see St Stephen’s Cathedral. Built back in the 14th century, this cathedral now serves as the seat of the Archbishopric of Vienna and is widely regarded as the most important religious site in the country. It’s towering spires and Gothic appearance have become staple symbols of Vienna. Though you are allowed to explore the cathedral, a tour costs money and it looked pretty expensive. So, satisfied by what we had seen, we headed back through the city on foot. Crossing through the various streets we admired the countless grand, old buildings (Vienna really doesn’t do simple). However all too soon it was time for us to collect our bags and return to the airport.
I only spent a few days in Vienna and already I have a hunger to see more. Only 30 days to go now, I’ll see Vienna again soon.