Sisi, Steffl, Sacher – doing: travel, fitness and travel

More recently they returned to television, the “Sisi” movies. Hofburg & Co. appears in an overly rich color from the 1950s, which makes you want to go back to Vienna. But with a distance of more than 600 kilometers, a normal weekend is not enough for this metropolis, but one extended for one or better two days is ideal. So “gemma”, as the Viennese say.

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On-site visit: author Konstantin Groß at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. © Gross

We are not the only ones with this idea that Friday. The ICE, which leaves at 7:11 am in Mannheim, is full, and so is Vienna when it arrives at the main station, which opened in 2014, at 3:30 pm “Almost like before Corona”, says the taxi driver happily : “Only the Russians and the Chinese are missing,” he smiles.

Check into the Hotel am Konzerthaus, affordable for Vienna and not too out of the way. The first tour takes you along Vienna’s ring road, the Champs Elysees. And characteristic of the architectural style of the metropolis, which is more uniform than in any other metropolis. It dates from the imperial and royal era, that is, from the second half of the 19th century. Hardly a modern building, and if it is, it is conspicuous by its ugliness.

Karntner Strasse Promenade

Arrival at the main promenade, the Kärntner Strasse. All the major brands are present. We dined at the “Gasthaus zur Oper”. It is said that the best schnitzel in Vienna is here. Is there. And at a reasonable price: 21 euros.

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Day 2. The weather report announces cloudy skies. Ideal for indoor activities, ie visits to museums. Passing the Belvedere Palace through its wonderful park, it goes to the HGM, the Museum of Military History. Contrary to what his name might suggest, it’s not about the glory of the soldier. Rather, his catchphrase is: “The war belongs to the museum” – how topical is this demand these days.

The most spectacular exhibition: the car in which the Austrian heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed in Sarajevo in 1914, triggering the First World War. A touch of history floats around you when you are here.

This also applies to the next station: the Hofburg. We look at the “Führer’s Balcony” on which Hitler announced the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in 1938, below them, on Heroes’ Square, thousands of cheering Austrians who after 1945 cannot remember: Were there something?

Nice story: in the treasure of the Hofburg. But we’re out of luck: The masterpiece, the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, is currently on loan for scientific research. But really there is still enough to see here.

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We want to make a third museum: the imperial dwelling of the Hofburg, the Sisi Museum. But be careful: there are two different queues here: one for tickets and one for admission. A lady calls our attention to this when we have already been standing in the wrong place for half an hour.

We prefer to go to eat something, to the “Bundeskanzleramt”. No, of course not in the nearby official residence of the head of government, but in the adjoining restaurant of the same name. Bolstered with the fried liver he’s known for, he heads out for the final sightseeing of the day. Not to the venerable Albertina, which we ignore, but to a jewel: the Museum of the Third Man. A private collection commemorating the legendary 1949 thriller set in post-war Vienna and made famous by the zither-driven film melody. You simply have to experience it.

Experience St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The same applies to the event in the evening: the Easter Vigil after two years of pandemic again in St. Stephen’s Cathedral full. About three hours, from 9:00 p.m. to almost midnight. But even those with no religious ties shouldn’t miss a visit to this gothic marvel, affectionately called “Steffl” by the Viennese. If you are lucky, you will be able to witness a sermon by Archbishop Schönborn, one of the great church princes of our time, who is still combative at the age of 77. He made headlines that day because he told opponents of vaccination, “My God, let it rain brains!”

Day 3. Bright sun. Now it’s out. To Schönbrunn, not to the palace there, but to the oldest zoo in the world. And with this pound grows. With a historical natural route, which not only informs on panels about the previous accommodation of the animals, but also with original cages. Awesome history of the zoo.

For the last night we allow ourselves the mythical Hotel Sacher. It is not cheap. But technology and comfort of the highest level in a historic setting. Even the gallery of images of the famous guests is a true journey through time. And of course here and in the cafeteria is the legendary Sacher cake.

Day 4. The last appointment in the morning: the Capuchin crypt near the Sacher. The most famous Habsburgs are buried here: Empress Maria Theresa and Franz Josef, Crown Prince Rodolfo (who goes to his death and takes his beloved Maria Vecera with him) and, above all, Sisi (who is only written with a ” s” in Austria). There are always fresh flowers in front of his sarcophagus, and a cameraman from Spain is herding the family in front of him. And we decided: After we return, we will see a “Sisi” movie.

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