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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ein Langer Tag - a Long Day - in Vienna

We arrived in Vienna by train in late afternoon, taking a taxi to our overnight stay at a little Viennese Inn, 'The Garten'.
Kunsthistorisches (art history) Museum
Where we searched for the underground station

The next morning we were off wandering perhaps a quarter mile where with the help of a friendly Viennese gentleman, we found the local Straussgassehaus station.

We took the underground to Stevenplatz (Steven's plaza). Exiting the station we found ourselves in a huge plaza with loads of tourists, facing a large church (I'm guessing St. Steven's).

Facing the 'underground' entrance in Stevenplatz
We took the time to join tourists for a quick view inside the cathedral
Before we could enter the church, one of the ticket sellers approached us. While I declined, Jo was thrilled to purchase a ticket to a concert for tonight.
Much paperwork to procure a ticket

Jo, happy with her ticket for a concert tonight featuring Motzart, Strauss, Beethoven and other famous musicians of Wien (Vienna).

The interior of the St. Stephan's Cathedral was of course, beautiful. I wanted to buy everything in the gift shop, but restrained myself - a reoccurring  & unfortunate theme for the day.

Following a brief tour of the cathedral, we found our way, perhaps another quarter mile on, to one of my favorites - an 'get on, get off' double decker tour bus. That was all the Vienna I am getting this trip so I kept my eyes open for where I wanted to actually get off the bus and tour.

As one would expect, lots of impressive statues and such
King Neptune and his sea-steeds, at a palace? Nope, its a traffic turn-turnaround
St. Francis of Assisi
Sailed past cute little shops

The Tower by the Danube

The Vienna Tower which has a Seattle type restaurant at its top. Found out it also has a... wait for it... bungie jumping platform. Um... not even on a dare...
The remnant of the old Jewish quarter of the city
A tempting spot I might have explored if I had a second day to tour Vienna was the Wurstelprater amusement park, commonly called the 'Prater'.
Nearly antique whirly ride at the Prater
Prater centerpiece - the Giant Ferris Wheel
And this little Prater piggy is an ATM machine
The bus crossed the Danube numerous times
At the end of the bus tour, I'd absorbed a fact or two. Jo decided to go back to our room to rest up for the night's concert, and I decided to get back on the bus and return to the spot that I thought I would enjoy having as my 'in depth' local in Vienna - the Natural History Museum.

Maria Teresa Statue that sits between the Art and Natural History museums

This adorable & picturesque mini-pachyderm stands in front of the Natural Museum steps

The little guy seems to enjoy all the attention, not to mention all the selfies.
The museum entryway

This is the grandest natural history museum I've ever seen. Really, the entryway alone would take one's breath away, with the marble stairs leading up to statues and lovely carved reliefs and enough paintings for the place to double as an art museum.
The massive marble stairway leading up to exhibits
And there were so many categories of exhibits to visit, it was overwhelming. My path through room after room of exhibits - both modern in style and old type exhibits from the 19th century that in themselves all double as antiques. My favorites were easily the endless cases exhibits of wildlife, both contemporary and extinct. The joy of world class specimens!

Skeletons of the massive extinct Moa birds from New Zealand

As most of the exhibits were in German, I could only absorb so much info. For example, is this an actual skin of a long extinct Dodo or a thoughtfully reconstructed recreation of the bird?
Massive skeleton of extinct Irish Stag
Room after room of stuffed creatures pillaged from around the world 
Lots of  'old style' museum exhibits like these of different kinds of deer species
There were many beautiful and unexpected sights, such as displays of stained glass for this cathedral of the natural world.
Stained Glass displaying the beauty of diatoms
Did not linger in the hall of entomology
Though the wildlife displays had my eye, there were other displays of botany, entomology, fishes of the world, and a long time favorite, gemology in competition. for my attention. It was entertaining to see a display that omitting 'doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles' managed to combine two of my very favorite things, ornithology and minerology. Humm... might have been nicer had the birds been alive. The exhibit explained how many birds have gemstones as their namesake.
A Topaz Hummingbird and Topaz
A Lazuli Bunting and a Lapis Lazuli stone

Topaz Hummingbird & Topaz gem

A Lazuli Bunting and its namesake Lapis Lazuli stone

Here is a brief blip - only about 90 seconds longer than my attention span. A look at a heat sensitive video cam, which was fun as I've only ever seen such cameras on television shows, and a CGI of extinct lions.

Toured the museum for hours, and had lunch there at the elegant cafe there.

Beautiful dome by the little museum cafe
When I'd had enough of roaming the halls, I bee-lined to the museum's gift shop. Lots of things to talk myself out of purchasing.

Pretty, fishy toys, stuffed, like many of the museum's inhabitants
Amazing bird calls, each type as unique as the bird it mimics (how did I not buy one???)
Now I've seen some impressive museum gift shops in my time, but this shop, though relatively small, had some relatively impressive objects and nick-knacks for sale. The child below probably took a week to choose just one or two toys from the humongous throng of extinct and contemporary plastic play critters for sale. Dinosaurs, Hippos, Polar Bears and Giant Sloths. HOW did I not bag a few for meself?
Let's face it, that's a lot of toys
There was one thing I am kicking myself for not buying.  I could have I-kid-you-not, bought genuine, gathered in Siberia, Mammoth hair from the an animal long gone during the Pleistocene era. What was I thinking not buying at least a bag of that stuff? I will never forgive myself for passing it up.

I could have carded this with my Alaskan Quiviet (muskoxen undercoat) to spin up and knit into a rarest of the rare knit scarf. Rats.

Are you tired of proxy wandering around Vienna? Let's end this post here and I'll continue it in a bit. I promise.

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