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Published: October 13th 2019
Leaving the Czech Republic behind, a few hours later, the train crosses the border and into Wien, better known as Vienna, AUSTRIA, founded in the first Century AD. This very liveable city is also known as the city of music and dreams as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and Freud all worked here. It is lovely to hear the clip clopping of the horses pulling carts down the cobblestone streets, and the church bells ringing on the hour.
It is also where coffee houses originated centuries ago, creating part of the Viennese charm. First stop is to the Stephansdom Crypt which is still used as a burial spot for Archbishop’s today. In one section, hermetically sealed metal jars store the organs and hearts of royalty, much like the ancient Egyptian traditions. During the outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1735, the skeletal remains and rotting corpses of 11,000 people were thrown into the pits dug into the crypt. Prisoners were given the task of snapping and stacking bones into orderly rows. You could see this within the wall structures. Also, they were to scrub the decaying flesh of the bodies as the smell would waft up to the church services. Who
would want that job? As well, don’t think they had rubber gloves available then. Interestingly enough, the bubonic plague still exists today. Most of the United States cases have occurred in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and Nevada (CDC report).
The Austrian National Library is a beautiful historic hall that was commissioned by the Emperor Karl VI, and was built in the 1700’s. There are 200,000 books stored within, and the digitalized books are freely available through the online catalogue at www.onb.ac.at I found it so interesting to see the pages of some of the first drawings of musical notation.
Since there is a jazz club right across the street from our hotel, we attend a concert and listen to the Motis and Mallenger quintet. Much of their music has a Brazilian flavour.
Ahh, a blank day. We wander to the Mozart House #5 where Wolfgang lived for three years. He gave concerts here, as well as wrote his popular opera The Marriage of Figaro. Then it is down to the famous Bitzinger sausage stand for lunch. Afterwards it is a subway ride out of the downtown and into the futuristic Donau (Danube) city. Skyscrapers are
ultra modern, even the Catholic church is in cubist style, and the main sculpture is a flying saucer. Close by is the famous Danube River, lined with cruise ships.
Since the snow globe was invented in the 1900’s by an Austrian named Erwin Perzy, I purchase a teeny tiny one for my curio cabinet. The Perzy family company still owns and produces 200,000 globes yearly.
A most beautiful city.
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