Reflections in Photos of My Austrian Summer

This statue in Krems is called
This statue in Krems is called “Simandl.” It is about the hen-pecked husband begging for the house keys so he can stay out late with the boys.

In three weeks the time on the clocks will change here in Central Europe and we will be on “Winter Time.” Summer has come and gone as I spent much of it exploring Austria on holiday and in two weeks I return to Spain.

A grand Danube River View from Aggstein Castle in Wachau Valley
A grand Danube River View from Aggstein Castle in the beautiful Wachau Valley

I have most recently been living in a small village in Wolkersdorf but my travels have taken me far and wide throughout the country to Krems, Horn, Melk, Tulln, Semmering, Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck, Villach, the Wachau Valley, and Vienna. Many of these beautiful places, people, and artwork have been captured in photographs that I have shared on Facebook, blog entries and in messages to friends and family.

It is both happy and sad to be returning to Spain in two weeks. I have greatly enjoyed my holiday in Austria and with Winter cold and snow coming and the time change bringing darkness earlier in the day, I am anticipating the warmth on the Costa del Sol and friends there. I will miss the people I have met in Austria, the confectionaries, lattes, apple strudel, wiener schnitzel, and this distinct culture that I have appreciated.

In Salzburg, Pegasus in Mirabell Gardens. It was also in The Sound of Music 50 Years Ago
In Salzburg, Pegasus in Mirabell Gardens. It was also in The Sound of Music 50 Years Ago

Today’s blog is all about places I have captured in photos while in Austria. I hope you enjoy them!

Melk is at the beginning of the Wachau Valley and is also on the Danube River. It's famous Benedictine Stift Melk Abbey dwarfs the little town.
Melk is at the beginning of the Wachau Valley and is also on the Danube River. It’s famous Benedictine Stift Melk Abbey dwarfs the little town.

My initial stop in Austria was in Krems an der Donau. It is one of the oldest settled communities in all of Austria and was an excellent place to begin my Austrian holiday. Many people speak English in all of Austria but especially in Krems. I wrote a few entries in my blog about Krems but my favorite one is here. Following Krems, I stayed awhile in Melk. In Melk I particularly enjoyed the park at the Abbey and wrote about my Melk holiday. Krems and Melk are the bookends of the Wachau Valley. Famous for apricots and grapes for wine, the Danube River flows through the Wachau passing many small villages with Spitz, Durnstein, Rossatz, and Emmersdorf among my favorites. The castle ruins at Aggstein are in the Valley and well worth the visit. I wrote about Aggstein and its famous “Little Rose Garden.” I especially enjoyed visiting the ruins during a Renaissance festival and loved the food and writing about my visit to Aggstein.

Lake Wolfgang near Salzburg was in the opening scenes of the movie
Lake Wolfgang near Salzburg was in the opening scenes of the movie “The Sound of Music.”

A beautiful view of the Alps in Bavaria from Eagle's Nest
A beautiful view of the Alps in Bavaria from Eagle’s Nest

In many of the places I have mentioned I went by train and boat to visit towns and cities in Austria. Most notable to me was Salzburg and is certainly one of the places I want to visit again someday. Salzburg is the location for the movie “The Sound of Music.” The scenery in the mountains and lakes is stunning and in the mountains one cannot help hearing Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” While in Salzburg I visited Hitler’s “Eagles Nest” where the beautiful mountain views take your breath away. I wrote two blogs about my visit to Salzburg and Eagles Nest. One can’t help but to be inspired to write in these places with beautiful skies and spectacular peaks.

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Schönbrunn Palace, the Summer residence of the Hapsburgs

Johann Strauss in beautiful Stadtplaz in Vienna
Johann Strauss in beautiful Stadtpark in Vienna

I have taken so many photos that it is always difficult to determine which to include in any blog or to post on Facebook. Staying in Vienna presented a problem in that there are so many places one wants to visit and if I were to reflect on them all, the blog would be way too long. The city offers so much… classical music by Strauss and Mozart among others, opera, historic, beautiful monuments and architecture, and wonderful food and drink. I narrowed my photo selections to a few and decided to write about the “City of Dreams” from a perspective that focused on present day Vienna as dreams that have been realized. There are also memories in Vienna that are sad such as the 65,000 Jews who never returned during the Holocaust, the NAZI annexation of the entire country during World War II, and the oppression by the occupying Russian forces following the war. Vienna was also the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and there are wonderful and sad stories throughout the history of the Empire. These are captured in the numerous museums throughout the city.

A Wachau Vally trail marker
A Wachau Vally trail marker

Hiking along the Wachau Valley Trails brings you to many of the famous places I have mentioned previously. There are many selections of trails to take and one can always find solitude and reflection somewhere in the Wachau. Surprisingly often you find yourself in one of many vineyards. The grapes from the Wachau are particularly desired for making Gruner Veltliner wine which is loved throughout Austria and Germany.

An original 14th century walkway to the Danube inside the Durnstein walls
An original 14th century walkway to the Danube inside the Durnstein walls

Two of the towns in the Wachau Valley are Rossatz and Durnstein. Each are known for many things but my adventures were often focused on taking photographs, eating different foods, learning about history, and tasting wines.

Rossatz early in the Summer
Rossatz early in the Summer

Rossatz in particular is quite beautiful. Located across the river from Durnstein in the Valley, the town is often identified as the heart of the Apricot Mile. In the Summer when apricots are ripe, they are for sale everywhere. In addition to fresh apricots, apricot dumplings are particularly popular. There are all sorts of drinks and syrups made from apricots. But in Rossatz I enjoyed its quiet charm. Many just don’t know about it and the serenity found there in the vineyards, throughout the community, and along the beach. That’s right, there is a beach on the Danube very close to Rossatz. It also turns out that there are several along the Danube.

The Jester in Villach
The Jester in Villach

My excursions have taken me to many fascinating places in Austria and I have captured some of those memories in this blog. I enjoyed my Summer holiday very much and look forward to returning sometime and reliving many of the memories that I have described and many more. So for now I will say “Auf Wiedersehen” from Austria as I plan my return to Mijas Pueblo, Espana, later this month.

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Vienna – City of Dreams

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss

Vienna, the “City of Dreams,” is much more than Freud’s dream studies in Vienna. In Vienna, dreams are much more expansive and expressive than his work alone. The ever-changing, diverse city holds dear all forms of artistic culture. The visions of dreamers extend into every aspect of the city at the Staatsoper Opera House and numerous concert venues. Mozart’s, Strauss’ and Schubert’s dreams of beautiful music come alive in Vienna. And native son Klimt’s paintings adorn the city along with Austrian masterpieces in the Belvedere.

Dreams leap to the present from the imperial past and the stately palaces at Hofburg and Schönbrunn and numerous museums depicting Austria’s past and dreams for the future. Public places depict the dreams of emperors from the bustle on the Ringstrasse to the relaxing calm at Stadtpark. Dreams brought to reality are exhibited in numerous festivals like the Film Fest held outdoors at the Rathaus town hall and numerous other sites that attract people from around the world to both visit and to stay.

Stadtpark
Stadtpark calm and beauty

The visions of past Vienna dreamers have affected and continue to shape the future of Austria and the world. The city continues to set an example for quality of living as it is identified as #1 in the world according to the latest Mercer “Quality of Living Survey.”

During August 2015 I experienced many of these dreams and the quality of life as I lived in the city and have seen how, over time, the dreams have become reality in this City of Dreams.

St Stephen's Cathedral built in the 14th Century
St Stephen’s Cathedral built in the 14th Century

The Vienna dreamers emphasize remembering the past and you see it everywhere. Be it simple as enjoying a latte in Stephansplatz with Saint Stephen’s Cathedral’s bells tolling or a visit to the multitude of museums, it is evident that the dreamers for this city want to leave their mark as a commitment to past memories so that future generations will learn from the city’s past. The Technical Museum is a fine example of this where the emphasis on industrialization and dreams for bettering life live on.

As mentioned previously, music and art abound in the city. Monuments to song and dance reside many places and have been left by past visionaries. The most notable of these monuments is the Staatsoper Opera House where beautiful paintings adorn the luxurious grand stairway and patrons delight as one senses the sounds and sights of beautiful music and dance.

Paintings representing Ballet, Comic Opera and Tragic Opera above the Grand Staircase at the Opera House
Paintings representing Ballet, Comic Opera and Tragic Opera above the Grand Staircase at the Opera House

Dreams are also found in the political history of Austria as it was once was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There are grand stories of the dreams of Emperor Franz Josef and his Empress Elisabeth. While Franz Josef was the visionary for much of the way we see the city today, the impression left to us by Elisabeth is quite interesting.

Empress Elisabeth
Empress Elisabeth

Known as “Sisi,” Elisabeth dreamed of not being tied to royal expectations of court life and lived her dreams by traveling. Her story is fascinating and worth writing a blog about her but I will save that for another time.

Vienna is an enchanting city and it is understandable to be called the “City of Dreams.” One can just feel the presence of the past and the visions of many and their contributions for now and the future. If you have a bucket list item to visit Europe, Vienna is your necessary stop to be embraced by the City of Dreams.