Last month I had a long weekend in Vienna and Bratislava to see my good friend Alex and wanted to share a few photos and experiences of my time there. I had my 'travel photographer' cap on, intent on getting some decent pictures this time. I was last in Vienna in 2008 on a double trip to Prague and still quite early in my photography career and looking back at the pictures... let's just say I didn't do them justice. Even with all my experience now it is still hard to convey the sheer size and spectacle of these ancient buildings. There is no substitute for experiencing them in person.
Exterior of the Votive Church, Vienna
I am always first drawn visually to the architecture of a cathedral or museum, rather than it's history. This was illustrated perfectly a few times as Alex and I were looking around and he would be studiously reading the history of the building (and then recounting it to me...perfect tour guide!) while I would be scouting out the scene looking for the best light and angles to capture it, as seen in the interior of the Votive Church with Alex reading a leaflet.
Interior of the Votive Church, Vienna
After a very busy end to 2019, and my new found appreciation for good coffee, I was really looking forward to sitting in a nice cafe with a big mug of coffee and an even bigger slice of cake, and Vienna does not disappoint on either front. I had to start of course with the world famous Sacher Torte. Pastry chef Franz Sacher who created it in 1832 in the capital of Austria. Sacher was asked by Prince Klemens von Metternich, heir to a wealthy family of hoteliers, to prepare a special dessert for a guest because the official court pastry chef was ill. Sacher quickly came up with this recipe and the rest is history.
Sacher Torte slice Sacher Torte cakes
Before I left my daughter made me promise to take Doggy on an adventure so I swore a sacred father/daughter oath to show him the best time ever!
With Doggy outside St Stephen's Cathedral!
One of the biggest and best surprises was all the electric scooters dotted around the city. They are everywhere! The idea is brilliant - you download the app, scan the QR code and away you go, and it only costs 19 cents per hour! What better way to see so much more of the city by burning around at a whopping 22kph weaving in and out of people and stopping for photos and cake! Once you're done you literally leave it where you are, sign out and you're done. The app shows on the map where they all are in the city so you know if one is nearby. We NEED this in the UK!
Riding the scooter in Vienna
Riding the scooter outside the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Maria-Theresien-Platz
As Bratislava is only 1 hour away from Vienna by train we thought we'd pop along and have a look. Bratislava has nowhere near the beauty or architecture that Vienna boasts but does have some interesting artwork and the impressive Bratislava Castle overlooking the River Danube. Our plan to return to Vienna on a cruise back up the Danube was foiled by boats not running this time of year despite the unusually warm weather.
Bratislava city life
This bronze statue of Cumil the Sewer Worker was installed by the council to spice up the look and feel of the area which was traditionally marked with drab Communist-era architecture. I'm sure many intoxicated people have been face planted by him as they stagger home at night.
Cumil the Sewer Worker
After heading for a beer on a rooftop bar, Rooftop by Regal, to get some photos of the sunset and castle, the owner introduced himself and asked what we were doing. I explained and said I would gladly do a portrait of him and give him a copy. To our surprise and delight he gave us a few beers on the house. Cheers Rusty!
View of the Old Town, Hurbanovo Namestie from Rooftop by Regal, Bratislava
Owner of Rooftop by Regal, Ratislav Masrna
I love travelling and seeing new places and if the opportunity arises to visit a new city I'll take it but I'd happily go back to Vienna one day with the family to see the beautiful architecture and museums, and the scooters of course!
View of Votive Church from nearby street Exterior of Votive Church
Hofburg Palace, Vienna
Hofburg Palace, Vienna St Stephen's Catherdral, Vienna Inside St Stephen's Catherdral, Vienna
Stag do alert!
Street performer Clara Zeiszl