The apartment we are renting is on the outer edge of what would be considered “the city” in other terms – a 30-minute walk to see important stuff. Europe without a car is going to take care of the guilt from not regularly working out. Surprisingly, the children don’t complain about walking like they did in the US.
The center of Vienna is dominated by shops that sell things we could never even imagine having the ability to pay for and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Dominating is about the best word to describe the behemoth. According to Rick Steves the builder wanted it to be bigger than the Cathedral being built in Prague and for a town of only 10,000! We strolled through the nave and were able to observe the rest of the sanctuary – we didn’t want to pay the fee to travel beyond the gates. Even so you can still see quite a bit and it gave us a good taste of the gothic style of building: gloomy columns.
Last May, Brenna visited Europe with the Purdue Musical Organization and they were able to sing in St. Stephens. Brenna recognized many of the sights in Vienna from her trip. In addition to Brenna Friend, Mozart was frequent performer and attendee.
Just a block away is St Peter’s church. It is not nearly as ornate on the outside as St. Stephens, it saved all the bling for the inside. The interior is in the baroque style which means, no straight lines, over 25% of surfaces must be gilded and al fresco the ceiling. Somehow it all works for this place and the smaller size keeps it in balance. We were there in time for the afternoon organ concert featuring all pieces by Bach. It wasn’t that long and it gave us all a time to appreciate the artistry around us. Brody used it to flip through the 5,000 pictures my brother has uploaded of his son on the cloud on my iPhone.
In the battle of St Stephens v St Peters – the winner is St Peter. They take the honors for knocking it out of the park in the Relics division. Relics are a piece of a body preserved for eternity. Usually it is a tooth or bone chip. (In Budapest, at St Istvan, they had the whole mummified fist of St. Istvan.) St Peters has not one, but TWO skeletons, in glass cases. They are right there for the whole world to see, not in a tomb or catacomb, but in a glass coffin, right next to all the pews for people to study if the sermon runs a bit long. They are also bedazzled, the church may have another term for encrusting skeletons with jewels, but I didn’t know who to ask. You can’t compete with that.