Sunday, August 2, 2015

Vienna is best with friends

I must confess I did not feel the love for Vienna I had wanted to.  For so long I had wanted to visit this beautiful city and was so looking forward to it.   I must admit I blamed the city...the people weren't friendly enough, the buildings did not excite me....but I realized it was me.  I was just too tired from a whirlwind tour of Turkey and three months of travel to feel the joy at discovering yet another new place.  And yes after touring Turkey with my six cohorts and fab tour leader I was...lonely....and I get lonely so rarely I don't even recognize the feeling at first.  "Ah yes, I guess this is what they call loneliness".   Since coming home I've had a think about it all and have decided yes, I will return to Vienna when I am not worn out and tired.  Budapest is "on the list" which is nearby as is a return trip to Salzburg and my friend's home in Germany isn't that far away - I think it is a natural fit to return to.  I believe in second chances.  I hated Paris on my first trip and swore I'd never go back - I went back in 1999 and loved it.  Okay maybe love is too strong a word - I really liked it. 

Lisa and I started out as pen pals well over twenty years ago...I have written to pen pals since my early teens and one of my first pals was Darlene who I am still in touch with and see whenever I am in Vancouver.  Darlene was pals with Lisa and knew Lisa and her husband Heinz loved to travel so she gave Lisa my name and the friendship began... first with long letters and now mainly through Facebook. I can't even imagine my life without the friends I have made through the pen.....the thought of  knowing only people in my home town seems strange and very very sad to me.  However that is for another post...

Sadly, Lisa was in the hospital when I arrived in Vienna which was a real worry for me but luckily was discharged and able to spend  my last day there with me.  I was so appreciative that she did this as I know she wasn't feeling 100%.  

I took the U-bahn (subway) out to Heiligenstadt (ironically the name of the town my friend in Germany lives in and where I was headed next) where Lisa and her husband Heinz met me.  Off we drove to Leopoldsberg which is a famous hill overlooking Vienna and the Danube.  While Lisa waited for us Heinz and I walked to the top for an outstanding view of the city and surrounding countryside.

The Danube
 On the way to our next destination Heinz spotted a spotted salamander on the road and stopped to carry it to the side of the road.....yep that 's the kind of people Lisa and Heinz are...

Then on to Kahlenberg which is a popular day trip and has great hiking.  The views are outstanding!

Two long time friends meet at last - in front of St Josephs church, Kahlenberg
Next up was Klosterneuburg but first we were all a bit peckish so it was time for coffee and cake!!

The Viennese know how to make cake - and no I didn't eat them both!  (though I believe I had a sample!)
Heinz and I then visited the famous Klosterneuberg Monastery which was founded in 1144 with the present structure built between 1730 and 1834.  Its gothic chapel and tower date back to the 12th century.  It is known for its art work and is absolutely beautiful inside.  Luckily I was able to take photos on the organized tour we did.  I wore headsets describing the monastery's treasures in English as the tour was done in German of course.   

I'm not a "pink person" but I loved this room!


Views of the outside - beautiful!

 We then headed back to Vienna and I was absolutely delighted when Heinz stopped the car by the famous Hundertwassser Haus as I had wanted to see it but didn't think I would have the opportunity.  This is a public housing complex designed by Austria's most famous artist of recent times, Friedensreich Hundertwasssr.  I loved the unique design!  This was built between 1983 and 1985 and houses 52 apartment, 4 offices 16 private terraces, 4 public terraces and and a total of 250 trees and bushes.  It is a popular tourist attraction as well and I can see why.  I would love to live in something like this!!! 

Isn't it the coolest thing? I loved it!

Heinz then drove us around the Ring road (barring some diversions)  and I was able to view the Belvedere palace which I hadn't seen yet.  Definitely on my "must visit" list next time I am in Vienna!

Orangery, Lower Belvedere

Upper Belvedere

A quick visit that left me with a taste for more. 

Then it was back to Lisa and Heinz's lovely apartment for a good visit and a wonderful meal...ah home cooked food...when you are on the road for a long time it is like pure heaven....

Yummy delicious and so good I forgot to take a picture until I was half done!! :)  

Heinz then drove me back to my pension in central Vienna....Thank you Lisa and Heinz for an absolutely fantastic day.  You have no idea how you cheered me up and put a smile back on my face.  See you next time! 

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