Vienna – City of Gold

Vienna, or “Wien” as it is called in the local parlance, has long been a city defined by elegance, and extravagance. As early as 1278, the Habsburg family came to power in Vienna, and created a dynasty which would consume all surrounding countries, and eventually even envelope much of the aging Roman Empire, to create the so-called “Habsburg Dynasty”. This powerful family lived and ruled in Vienna, building extravagant monuments to their own greatness in the form of a monstrous family compound and palace. Remnants of this era of immoderation and great power remain even to this day.

The palaces and lavish lifestyles of the ruling class caused great unrest and suffering amongst the common people of the day. In spite of this facet of Viennese history, the city now enjoys the highest standard of living in the entire world, with high wages and advanced city structures leading to the lowest per-capita crime rate in Europe. The Habsburg legacy remains embedded in the walls of the city even today, and the Viennese people embrace this legacy by enjoying lives of comfort and influence, and by setting the bar for cities across the world.

The modest home of a minor Habsburg cousin.

A few casual candelabras for when the in-laws are in town.

Even the lights are gold. That isn't brass!

The Volkstheater, a public theater founded by a collection of private citizens in 1889, as a response to the lavish Hapsburgtheater, built purely for the wealthy.

One of the many churches in the city, each more opulent than the last.

An example of modern architectural tastes contrasting with the traditions of a different time.

No city, no matter how clean or wealthy, is exempt from the touch of street artists.

A statue of Ferdinand Raimund, a famed actor, stands near the Volkstheater.

 

Apologies for the delay between posts, I have been slacking! We haven't stayed in one place long enough to finish a post, Prague and the Swiss Alps coming soon!

-T.S.

 

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a city of dichotomy. It has historically been divided neatly down the middle, split by the Danube River. On one side is Buda, the mountainous, beautiful home of kings and the wealthy upper class. On the opposing side of the river lies Pest, flat as a table and home of the working class. On both sides of the river however, this duality continues in the very architecture of the city. Stately historic buildings adorned in gold and covered with art, lie sandwiched between drab concrete structures and vandalized monuments to a darker time, when communism held sway over the people of Budapest. But in spite of the apparently opposing factions on both sides of the river, the people of Budapest are among the most friendly and genuine in all the world, and will go to great lengths to make a stranger feel welcome. This factor alone makes Budapest an incredible place to visit.

These buildings stood right around the corner from each other, dramatically different symbols of different eras for the city.
The shores of Buda, with the fortress protecting the palace atop the cliffs.
A perfect example of the duality of the city. A ancient saint stands watch over Buda as the old Soviet tram takes people to work.
A German couple giving money to a needy woman on the bridge over the Danube.
A skateboarder careens through the streets at dusk, narrowly missing pedestrians and cars.
On this bridge, are lamps, to which people have attached padlocks with their names and those of their sweethearts engraved or painted on the locks.
Workmen repairing the damage caused by the dangerously swollen river only days ago.

These chains stand as a monument to the Iron Curtain, and the lives lost and irreparably damaged during its time.

– T.S.