I’ve just realized today that I’ve been posting pictures of things I’ve seen and random bits of writing, but not actually what I’ve been doing. I know my friends from back home would like to know what I’ve done. As this is a study abroad trip, most mornings are spent in class and then the afternoons are spent touring a museum or church and seeing what we learned about in class. However, there’s always a sight to see during free time, or pop around the corner to get gelato. And honestly, just the trip to the grocery store and back is so gorgeous. We’ve completed our first week in Vienna (which is both exciting because it’s Vienna and sad because I’m one week closer to having to go back to the States). So here’s a post containing the highlights of what we’ve done in Vienna so far. Plus some history- yay for you!!
Vienna’s Römermuseum is all about the ancient history of the city. Yes, Vienna is ancient. While it was settled around 800 BCE, Vienna’s early history gets good when the Romans took over. It was established as a garrison town called Vindabona in 1 CE, near present day Danube River (which is now district one on today’s city grid). There are actually some really cool Roman ruins to see in the city too. I didn’t take any pictures inside because I was too busy taking notes, sorry.
Stephansdom (St. Stephan’s Cathedral) took centuries to complete and the first version was built in 1100. This towering cathedral in the center of the city has seen much, from the plague to a fire during WWII bombings. The Steffl (spire) is 450 feet (137 meters) high, and there are a quarter of a million glazed tiles on the roof.
Over the course of their 600 year reign, the Hapsburg monarchs amassed a huge collection of art. While some used to be housed in the Hofburg palace with the royal family, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is now home to thousands of paintings (largely Renaissance), sculptures & busts, and Hapsburg royal family relics.
We had a free day Saturday, so we decided to spend a few hours at Gänsehäufel. It’s a small island in the middle of the Danube (Donau) River. There’s a pool and some volleyball courts, grassy expanses for sunning oneself, and beaches along the river. Also large amounts of geese (as the name suggests) and even some swans. It was nice to have a chill day to stick my feet in the incredibly clear water and get a great view of downtown.