For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to visit Vienna. Especially in winter. For much of my life I have been enthralled with the famous New Year’s Concert broadcast live from Vienna on PBS each January 1. Alas, landing in Vienna Airport did not mean that we’d get to see the city since we had to travel straight on to Bratislava.
But there, the lovely educator who hosted us, surprised us by saying “Let’s go to Vienna on Saturday!” Turns out it’s only an hour drive from Bratislava, Slovakia to Vienna in Austria.
We dressed warmly, piled in the car and drove the highway to Vienna. There we walked for hours! We saw it all: the famous buildings, the statues, the squares.
We saw Lippizaner stallions at the famous stables of the Hofburg. We walked by Sissy’s palace, admiring the wrought iron gates and statues. It was November, with fall leaves blowing along the wide sidewalks and Christmas markets were sprouting up everywhere. People skated on outdoor ice rinks and sipped hot glühwein.
But the absolute crowning glory of our day in Vienna was a visit to the National Library’s Prunksaal. This mindblowing ‘cathedral of books’ feels more like a church than a library but was indeed built as a library several hundred years ago and hosts more than 200,000 leather bound books. For a booklover this is paradise – to be surrounded by floor to ceiling gorgeous books in a place where books are revered… I felt very privileged to walk around, to see and sniff books in this historic building.
This brief visit to Vienna left me wanting to come back for more to this beautiful, musical city along the Danube.