Vienna

Gardens at Schonbrunn Palace. I did not know much about the Habsburg dynasty before our trip, so I was fascinated to learn more during our excellent guided tour of the family’s summer palace, designed by Maria Theresa, the empire’s only female ruler and the mother of Marie Antoinette and 16 other children. Maria held various titles, including Queen of Bohemia, which has to be the coolest one ever. Mozart played a concert for her here when he was 6 and was so thrilled that she liked his performance that he jumped into her arms and kissed her three times, during a time when not even her own children were supposed to touch the empress.

Ahhh…we had so much fun cafe-hopping our way around the city.

Buchteln (pl., sing. Buchtel) are sweet dumplings made of yeast dough, filled with jampoppy seed paste or curd and baked in a large pan so that they stick together. The traditional Buchtel is filled with plum powidl. Buchteln are topped with vanilla sauce, powdered sugar or eaten plain and warm.

I love love love Klimt and was very excited to see The Kiss in person at The Belvedere museum.

Get ya hot dogs here! And noodles.

At the Weinorgel wine bar, we were encouraged to throw our peanut shells on the floor. Being from Connecticut, this felt very wrong to me, but we were the only foreigners there and decided to just go with it. When in Austria…

Vienna was much less picturesquely antique than I had imagined. There were some nice buildings designed to look old, but they were constructed in the 1860s. Our tour guide said Vienna wasn’t very damaged during WWII, so I’m not sure what happened to the truly old places.

“The first church to occupy the site of St. Stephan’s Cathedral was a Romanesque church, which was replaced by a larger Romanesque basilica in 1147. A major fire in 1258 destroyed the basilica and construction on the present Gothic cathedral began in the early 14th century.”

Naschmarkt.

No good vacation would be complete without stumbling upon a protest of some sort.

ParliamentThe origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon I as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.

The Habsburg Empire collapsed in 1918 and the First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany.[9] This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Nazi Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austria’s former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral. Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.6 million, is Vienna.