9E. Austria is Voldemort

The New Palace viewed from the Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square)

The New Palace viewed from the Heldenplatz (Heroes’ Square)

1938, 200,000 Viennese gathered in the Heldenplatz to watch Adolf Hitler give a speech from the balcony of the New Palace (pictured above). Austria had been annexed to Germany and Hitler proclaimed that “…One of the pearls of the Third Reich will be Vienna”. At this point, the word “Austria” was forbidden to be spoken, much like the term “Voldemort” in the Harry Potter series (for our younger readers). And so a blog title is borne.

Today, we walked the streets of Vienna. We began at the Opera House. If there is any question about where the world capital of music is located, just ask a madrigal walking the streets of Vienna. Not only will they tell you where it is (Vienna), but they’ll sell you a ticket as well. They will speak fluent English in doing so, and once engaged, they’re hard to shake. The Opera House was built in 1869, Neo-Renaissance style and has hosted the likes of Pavarotti, Domingo, and others.


Opera House featuring pesky Madrigal

Our stroll took us past various churches, monuments, and other notable sites. The first monument was the Monument Against War and Fascism. This was a dark monument reminding us of the consequence of not keeping our governments on track. It includes concentration camps, WWI gas masks, and human rights tragedies over a site where several hundred people were buried alive during WWII bombings.


Monument Against War and Fascism

Another monument was the Holy Trinity Plague Column. This monument was dedicated by the inbred emperor Leopold I after Vienna lost 75,000 people to the bubonic plague in 1679. The emperor can be identified on the statue by his gaping underbite due to royal inbreeding. He dropped to his knees during the plague and begged God to save the city. Two-thirds of the city survived, so he dedicated this monument.


Holy Trinity Plague Column

A couple of fun sites were Loos’ Loos, water closets built in old wine cellars by architect Adolf Loos, featuring chandeliers and mahogany walls. Brenna and Scarlet ventured down the stairs to try them out – at 50 euro-cents a visit.


Brenna and Scarlet visit the loo

Circling back to the Hofburg Palace, we were treated to the excavated remnants of the 1st century Roman foundations. The palace plaza exists over the top of these ruins and is absolutely fantastic.


Ruins underneath the Palace plaza

The Palace itself goes on forever. It includes Imperial Apartments, the Spanish Riding School, a treasury, a music chapel (where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings on Sundays), and more. We walked through the area today and will explore a bit more deeply in the coming days.

On our walk home, we passed the parliament, city hall, and another cathedral (which we toured on our own). There is no lack of huge, beautiful buildings here in Vienna and we look forward to more touring. Upon our return to the flat, we found a flier on the door from a local pizza joint. Elizabeth noticed that it features the “Indiana” under its American Pizzas. Had we not blown through our eat-out budget on day one, we just might have sprung for the pizza topped with tomaten, kase, melanzani, schafskase, and scharfpfefferoni.


2 responses to “9E. Austria is Voldemort

  1. Little selective memory loss here in Austria. Austria welcomed Hitler (an Austrian by birth and had to get permission as an Austrian subject to join the German Army for WWl and wasn’t even a German citizen when he was appointed German Chancellor) with open arms and provided some of the biggest red hot Nazi’s ever! The Danube Valley was a hotbed of National Socialism! Only after the war did they decide to discover they had been over run by somebody or other and they really didn’t mean it! Hey did Rick Steves tell you to go to the treasury at the Hofburg Place and see the HOLY ROMAN EMPORORS CROWN and regalia. DO It ! My Valentine’s Day present. Get’s you all tingly inside!

  2. Pingback: Where Did We Go? | Friend Family Adventure·

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