It’s a couple of degrees colder this morning and we’re all slightly shivery as we arrive at The Albertina to begin our walking tour. Our guide today is a lovely gentleman named Wolfgang (yes, like Mozart) and he begins by taking us up onto the roof of the gallery so we can look out across the city of Wien – what the Viennese call Vienna in their native German tongue. He points out the famous Vienna Opera House, which was built around 150 years ago and was the first major structure to be built on the now-busy Vienna Ringstraße, which also plays home to the Civic Hall and Parliament building. This boulevard was where the old city walls used to stand before being torn down by Emperor Franz Josef, Vienna’s longest reigning Emperor, and part of the Habsburg Dynasty that ruled over Austria for over 600 years. Continue reading “Walking in a Wiener Wonderland”
Today is our first full day here in Venice and we wake to the sound of church bells mixed with the low rumble of boats passing beneath our window.
Breakfast and coffee consumed in the little pink and green panelled dining room worthy of a Wes Anderson film, we venture back to the Piazza San Marco to further investigate what Venice’s famous square has to offer.
We head straight to the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, originally build around 830 AD, and dedicated to Saint Mark the Evangelist after merchants stole what was thought to be his body from Alexandria and brought it back to Venice. The cathedral is the most famous of Venice’s churches and a stunning example of Byzantine architecture – with an Italian twist. Continue reading “The Great Crusade”