Or…how to spend a long layover in Vienna
Although I arrived in Vienna on a Thursday morning and would be leaving again in the morning for the Hamburg Do, I was determined to see as much as I could in a short amount of time.
I stayed that first night at the Holiday Inn City, located just a few blocks from the Kettenbrückengasse U-Bahn station. The hotel is easily accessible from the airport being only two stops from the Central Train Station. I was very pleased with my stay there and would highly recommend it. Even though I had managed about five hours sleep on my Austrian flight from JFK to Vienna, I just had to lie down for a little nap. I neglected my first rule of beating jetlag which is to immediately have one or two cups of espresso upon arrival.
I headed out and the first place I visited was the Naschmarkt. Located only a few blocks from the hotel it is a colorful market featuring fruit, vegetable, and flower stalls as well as many small restaurant stalls featuring food from around the world.
I was going to try to grab a bite to eat at Urbanek, one of the more popular (yet pricey) eateries that was recommended to me, but the line was just too long and I continued on my way into City Centre.
Following Google Maps, I made my way into the City Center for a visit to St.Stephen’s Cathedral located in Stephansplatz. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church of Austria and stands on the site of the original church which was built in 1137 but later burned. The final changes to the church began in 1359 and lasted until 1511 and resulted in the church that you will see today. It is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture and boasts a beautiful tiled roof. Built of limestone, the church’s exterior has darkened over the years but is undergoing renovations to restore it to its orginal white color (because of the scaffolding, I have very few pictures of the exterior).
As with all Cathedrals, the interior of St. Stephen’s is simply breathtaking. Containing five different chapels, the Cathedral also contains the tomb of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III which took over 45 years to construct. The sculptured pulpit is simply magnificent.
The Sculpture below is affectionately referred to as Christ with a Toothache by the Viennese because of the look of agony on His face. According to folklore, some men made fun of the statue saying it looked as though he were suffering from a toothache. Later that evening, those men were struck with a terrible toothache themselves which was only cured when they returned to the Church and prayed for forgiveness. It is little stories like this local legend which can add so much when visiting new places!
After wandering around the City Center for a while and pausing in one of the many outdoor cafes for a cup of cappucino, I headed back to the area of the Holiday Inn and enjoyed a quick dinner at a Thai Restaurant near the hotel before calling it a day.