My treat for you today is fellow Etopian, Antonia van Zandt. In honor of her latest release Vienna Valentine she’s sharing with us a little history on Vienna.
Vienna – Capital of Romance
For some, it has to be Paris. For others, the eternal city of Rome. But, for me, one city towers head and shoulders above all others when it comes to the Capital of Romance – Vienna.
Vienna used to be the capital of a great Dual Monarchy – the Austro-Hungarian empire – and, in the second half of the nineteenth century, its ruler, Franz Josef, decided he would transform the cramped streets of the city into the most magnificent capital in Europe. To do this, he undertook a massive building project which included gutting the inner city and constructing the elegant Ring, framed by majestic buildings built in classical Grecian style.
World War I saw the destruction of the empire and the break-up of its territory. A much smaller republic of Austria emerged, but still with its opulent capital. Despite heavy bombing in Word War II, a massive restoration programme saw the rebuilding of the Ring and now, today, the city of Strauss and Klimt weaves its magic for anyone with romance in their heart.
The Viennese enjoy the finer things of life, and music, art and diverse cultural activities abound. Enjoy a romantic dinner for two in the elegant Grand Café, within the Grand Hotel on Kärntnerring, followed by Swan Lake at the Opera House just up the road. Then, late night drinks in the Hotel Sacher – topped off with a slice of their famous chocolate cake. Wander through the streets and stroll along the banks of the Donaukanal. On a warm summer evening, just a gentle breeze will ruffle your hair. Magical.
By day, hop onto the tram and circumnavigate the Ring, stopping off whenever you see a beautiful building that takes your fancy. You can spend all day doing this! There is so much to see and fascinate. Or maybe you’d prefer to see Franz Josef’s masterpiece from a horse drawn carriage. You can pick up a Fiaker near the cathedral.
Hold hands, walk along leafy roads and through peaceful parks (try the Volksgarten, near the Hofburg, which houses a lovely statue of Empress Elisabeth – Franz Josef’s beloved and tragic wife). In Vienna, it’s surprisingly easy to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets. Don’t miss it!
Now I’ve got you in the mood, let’s heat things up a bit. Here’s a taste of Vienna Valentine: