In Vienna, Christmas markets and crowds of people filled the town squares and this huge tree stood in the center of the city next to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
This was our first full day on our round the world adventure without jet lag so we decided to explore Vienna. Thankfully the old city center is small enough to be circumnavigated in a day. The morning was cold and after some wonderful local food and amazing Viennese coffee we headed for St. Stephen’s Cathedral and managed to sit in the pews for the last portion of the midday mass. Built in 1147 it is the spectacular crown jewel of the city and a must see.
The weather had changed by the time we were back outside, much colder and snowflakes were tickling my nose. Many of the streets were lined with booths for local artisans selling holiday food and drink, arts and crafts. I bought Christy a small toy Squirrel and she was over the moon.
I wanted to see the area near the old city wall, which was demolished and replaced by the Ringstrade in 1857, where the Ottoman army of Kara Mustafa laid siege to the Vienna in 1683. It was hard to image looking at it, that the most ferocious carnage in European history prior to the 20th century took place in the location I was standing. It was now filled with happy holiday revelers, travelers, wide expanses of lawn, museums, shops and lovely little cafes.