Ramblers Stroll in Vienna 2004
By Mary Kyne
It was certainly a big change for the Oughterard Walking Club to find that their Sunday morning ramble, under the leadership of Roland Wirsching, took place in the magnificent city of Vienna instead of walking the roads of Connamara. We are indebted to Dagmar and Annie Gimpell, a regular visitor to Oughterard for a delightful tour of this, the capital city of Austria.
Vienna is home to two million people and the cities most cultural and historical buildings are all tightly embraced by a circular boulevard, the Ringstrasse, which is less than three miles long.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
The landmark of the city is the impressive Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its unusual patterned roof tiles and fantastic stain glass windows. It was partially destroyed during the last World War but the Austrian population, to their credit, collected money to have it restored to its former glory.
In Vienna we discovered the enchantment of bygone days in the wonderful architecture and the splendour and glory of the Imperial Palaces, numerous grand Art Nouveau residences – the Opera House, Fine Art and Natural History Museums, Parliament House and City Hall and many more.
It was sheer delight to ramble through the countless city side streets, the many squares and to stop and have a Sunday morning coffee and one (or two) of their heavenly dessert cakes in one of their classic Viennese coffee houses. In these coffeehouses you can sit, chat, read the papers, meet your friends and of course drink coffee. We had
First hand experience of what our own minister, Mr Mc Dowell wants to introduce into Ireland. While the Viennese coffee house is an old tradition yet it displays youth and vitality. We also sampled ice cream and their spicy sausages from a street stand. What a way to spend a Sunday morning!!
When we think of Vienna we remember the Vienna Boy’s Choir, The Sound of Music, New Year’s Concert and the Operas Ball, the SpanishRidingSchool and the famous composers Mozart and Johann Strauss.
We had earlier on our tour visited the home of Mozart in Salzburg, now a museum exhibiting pictures, and documents as well as instruments that belonged to Mozart and his family. Mozart as a six year old performed for the royal family crowning his performance by hopping on to the Impress, Marie Theresa’s knee. Despite Mozart’s auspicious beginnings he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave with only grave diggers to see him off.
We were sad to bid farewell to Vienna but we will be back again.