Over spring break of 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to Austria. I traveled to Austria with my dad and aunt to visit my brother, Payton, who was spending a year in Austria at the University of Vienna. We of course jumped at the opportunity to visit a new country while getting to visit my brother.
Here are a few highlights from our trip:
Hallstatt is a quaint town in upper Austria nestled in the Alpine Mountains on Lake Hallstatt. It has a population of less than a thousand but receives nearly 1 million tourists each year. Hallstatt is a salt mining town, home to the oldest salt mine which visitors can see today. Another interesting fact is that some tourists loved Hallstatt so much that they built a replica city in China! It was truly the most picturesque town I have ever seen, and we enjoyed seeing the shops, churches and walking around the town.
2. Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn was the summer residence for the Habsburgs. The palace is Rococo style and was commissioned in the seventeenth century. From the top of the hill behind the palace you can see nearly the whole city of Vienna. Behind the palace is a large garden area. On the top of the hill behind the palace is the Gloriette, which was designed to glorify the Habsburg power.
3. Saint Charles Church
“Karlskirche” is a baroque church on Karlsplatz (Charles’ Square) in Vienna. The church was dedicated to Charles Borromeo, a leader of the Counter-Reformation. The dome of the church contains beautiful frescoes done by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Gaetano Fanti. Inside the church is an elevator to take you to the top and see the frescoes in detail. The detail and reality of these frescoes was impressive.
4. A Day Trip to Budapest
On one of our days in Vienna, we took a quick bus ride to Budapest, Hungary for the day. There we took a tour of the city, saw many impressive churches and historical monuments and got to look over the historic Danube river. One interesting thing is that Budapest was actually once two cities. Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the eastern bank. Only in the past 150 years have they formed together to be one city.
Belvedere consists of two baroque palaces (upper and lower Belvedere), stables and the Orangery. Originally the summer home of Prince Eugene of Savoy, the palaces have been converted into an Art Museum. Home to an amazing collection of art, some highlights included: many works by Gustav Klimt but especially “The Kiss”, “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David, and numerous pieces by Egon Schiele.
Overall, it was an amazing trip and I enjoyed the history, sights, and food we were able to experience. One day I would love to go back!