I love Vienna. I first visited in the summer of 1984 whilst waiting for my A level results. I was able to visit again in early December 2017 whilst my husband was working in the city. I revisited all the places of note that I had seen all those years ago, with the exception of Schonbrunn Palace. There just wasn’t time. I had the incredible good fortune to visit Vienna again in November 2018 whilst attending a trade exhibition there with my husband. I only had one free day and decided to visit Schonbrunn. However I was late leaving the hotel, and had to be at the expo by 4pm. I seriously doubted there would be time to get there and back, and have a thorough look around.
I stopped and I listened.
Instead of scurrying about on Viennese public transport and keeping an eye on the time all day, I heeded the call of St Stephen’s Cathedral. I used Google Maps to set a course for the city centre and walked in.
I have been there before of course, and knew what to expect. Nevertheless the sight of the tiled roof took my breath away. The cathedral is squeezed into a square barely large enough to accommodate it, and at this time of year, there were Christmas market stalls taking most of the remaining space. I walked around the outside slowly, craning my neck to see the spire tops, savouring the sights and sounds. Eventually, I entered.
St Stephen’s doesn’t disappoint. There are cavernous vaulted ceilings, too many side altars to count, art works, gilded statues, and plenty of places to sit and ignore the tourists.