No good lying in bed when there’s a great big city out there ready to be discovered! We’ll have some breakfast and then get out there and see what’s what. The morning has dawned fine and looks pretty settled, so we’ll leave the umbrellas back here and take the risk, shall we?
First stop is a bookshop where my hero and his junior spotted an atlas of Austria-Hungary last night and fancied a closer look. Whilst they peruse the pages and decide there are too many words and not enough maps, I spot a “moon diary”. Though the moon calendar remains popular over here in Germany and Austria, the concept of working to a natural cycle according to the phases of the moon has never really caught on in England, has it? But perhaps you know about this and do your planting, mow your lawn and cut your hair at the right time of the month? Or do you need a diary like this to advise you? I find the whole idea fascinating, though have no personal experience to share, sadly.
The characters in the children’s shop a few doors down appear to have had a bit of a night, don’t they? The assortment of miniature brandies and the like on the table suggest that some of them are the worse for wear.
Oh my, one has his head in a bucket!
Oh, and shock horror…have some of those toys been smoking, too?
Fortunately, there’s a stern notice up there on the wall which you can understand, can’t you? I mean, being the Urstrumpftante* that you are…
Let’s redeem ourselves and take a few minutes inside the Stephansdom, shall we? It’s beautiful in here, still decorated after Christmas with small altars here and there.
I really like these little pools of light, shining on the red and white altarpieces and the whole place has a sense of elegance and timelessness, don’t you think?
Although there are lots of tourists here with us, we seem to be able to avoid the large crowds and anyway, they aren’t interested in the same kinds of things as you and I, thank goodness. This is a curious little wall adornment, isn’t it? Of course, I was curious about his identity so have done a bit of googling and here he is. The internet is a wonderful resource, isn’t it?
Oh, and I’m so glad you spotted that small crib scene, too!
It’s time we were heading off. So far, the crowds haven’t built up and the Graben is looking pretty relaxed. It’s cold, though, isn’t it? I’m really pleased I bought those ear warmers and suggest you tie your scarf tightly like everyone else, because the wind certainly whistles about these parts!
Here’s a spot where you could leave your old Christmas tree for recycling, if, of course, you’ve taken off all the lametta! We didn’t bother with that this year but somehow, a couple of strands still found their way on to our tree. I think they hitched a lift on a bauble…
Another toy shop window and there is a model train display with the Sisi carriage. Now, I’ll warn you, we are not Sisi fans here, so you’re going to have to do a little sweet talking to bring us round. Maybe you remember her from when we were at Bad Ischl ?
Far more interesting is that lovely shop front we spotted last night, when it was dark. Not sure we have any business with “Zur Schwabisches Jungfrau” but we can admire their style, can’t we?
Now, we’re getting near to the Hofburg here and you could do me a favour by distracting these pesky young men from bothering us, please? They’d like to catch our interest and sell us tickets for the Spanish Riding School, the ballet, the opera, the concerts…anything! Of course, we wouldn’t dream of buying such things on the street and I’m sure you woudn’t either. Let’s confuse them and not give too much away…see how long it takes them to work out our nationality?
Aha…fooled them nicely! (Monsieur….Madame……)
Let’s spend a while simply taking in the splendid facades of the Hofburg, shall we? No need to go inside the museums (been there, done that) but we’ll wait a while if you’d like to go round? Actually, it would be a while, because the queues are pretty long!
Look, up there. Isn’t it magnificent? To think the Hapsburgs went to all this trouble to build on such a grand scale when things weren’t exactly going so well for them. Lessons to be learned?
But though we’re enjoying ourselves, I’m not sure about the others?
I’m just going through the archway which leads to the Ringstrasse but someone has spotted something of interest in the souvenir shop. Good grief…how on earth can anything in that window appeal?
Well, I suppose that our eyes pick out things of interest, don’t they? Both historians in the family rather fancy adding this map to their collection. Shall we indulge them this time? Well, they didn’t buy the atlas this morning…
Walking through the rose garden, where Martha Stewart’s advice has been taken and the hessian wrapping has been done (perhaps not quite as perfectly as hers) I admire the grand buildings on the other side of the Ring: the Parliament and the City Hall for starters. Shall we go and take a closer look?
Well, yes, we will…but in the next post, because this one’s getting a little long!!
* Urstrumpftante = a Viennese word describing a woman of a certain age, a battleaxe, perhaps or similar, none of whom read this blog, I’m sure.