Thursday, July 20, 2006



In November 1979, Austria national team was going to play a football (soccer) match with Portugal in Lisbon; so the Austrians chartered (and fully paid) a Boeing 747 from the Portuguese airline TAP (Air Portugal) to bring them here, and return to Vienna after the match. The plane was flying empty from Lisbon to Vienna to pick the fans, and then from Vienna to Lisbon on the return flight after the match. This was an opportunity for a very good deal profiting from the fact that the airplane was already paid. So a group was joined, and landed in Vienna!

"SCHÖNBRUNN - La Hermosa Fuente, as our Spanish speaking guide would call it. Mr. Gilbert looks great in front of the palace. The rest of the group heads to the main entrance, trying to avoid the light rain"

"SCHÖNBRUNN - After the visit. The ladies' umbrellas add some colour to the photo"

"RATHAUS - The 1883 neo-Gothic building from Friedrich von Schmidt - the Vienna city hall -, is one of the most important secular buildings in town. The façade is dominated by the central tower (198 meter high), crowned by a 3 meter high statue of the «Eisener Rathausman» - The Iron Knight of the City Hall"

"CHRISTMAS MARKET - In the morning. Fortunately nobody was having Glühwein!"

"MARIA THERESIA SQUARE - Al and Gilbert enjoy the stop of the rain, near the Empress"

"THE RING - Trying to cross the Ring - a 4 kilometre long Boulevard, initiated by Emperor Franz Joseph I in December 1857, which circles the city centre - is not an easy task: no Austrian would dare to disrespect the red light! From left to right, Zé, Marília, Al, Gilbert and Trotter: the rain was back!"

"HOFBURG - Originally a medieval castle, was extended and saw its glory with the Habsburg's power. Nowadays it hosts the Imperial Treasury, the National Library, the Etnography Museum and the world famous «Spanische Hofreitschule» - the Spanish Riding School. The «Heldenplatz» - Heroes Square (photo) -, is one of Austria's symbols"

"GRABEN is the hub of Vienna. It became the fist pedestrian zone in 1971"

"PESTSÄULE - In Graben we can see the «Pestsäule» or Plague Pillar, also called Trinity Pillar. This was raised in the middle of the Graben by Leopold the 1st, as a sign of gratitude by the end of the 1679 plague, which took the life of either eighty or one hundred fifty thousand Viennese, depending on the estimates"

"CATHEDRAL - St. Stephen's Cathedral, built in 1147 and with a 136 meter high tower, was for a long time the highest building in Europe. It marks the city centre, and is a must see to any visitor to Vienna (unless you're only coming for an OPEC or UN meeting, and leave town at the end of the day)"

"KAERTNERSTRASSE - Vienna's central shopping street. Nearby you have Sacher Hotel, and Sachertorte; but, at least for my taste, you are much better off heading down the Ring to the Imperial Hotel, and having Imperialtorte!"

"OPERA - Group photo with Luís, Al, Miga, Gilbert, Trotter, Marilia and Zé. Guida took it.
The Vienna Opera House is famous for its first-class opera performances, as well as for hosting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. As we had not much time, could not see the entire performance, and there were only very few tickets left, we bought tickets for the Gallery. The cost was roughly the price of a tram ticket, the view was restricted - we could only see half of the stage - but the first Act of Wagner's «Meistersinger von Nürnberg» was sublime!"

"ALBERTINA PLATZ - The Albertina palace is 12 metres above the city level. It hosts the Albertina Museum, which has one of the largest and most beautiful graphic collections in the world, with 70.000 drawings and more than one million graphic prints. From Leonardo to Warhol, one can also see works from Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Manet, Cézanne, but the most impressive was the collection of Dürer's works!"

"WALKING down the Parkring. The Ring Boulevard was inaugurated on May 1st, 1865 and with its trees and monumental buildings is one of the most beautiful boulevards in Europe"

"SCHWARZENBERG PLATZ - Behind the Equestrian statue, there is a Russian Memorial, and we can see the Belvedere Palaces. Not a great shot, anyhow..."

"RINK, just behind the Intercontinental Hotel. Many years later I had a room with a view to the Rink. On the other side is the Stadtpark!"

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