Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gruss Gott: An Early Morning View of Vienna

With my back still killing me, I’m turning today’s post over to my husband.  Thanks K …

Vienna has been great – and not just the city.  I mean the experience of learning the city with Fran and the kids.  Little slices of our time here are in Fran’s previous Grüß Gott posts (ice skating, playgrounds, etc.).  But I get to see another part of Vienna in the morning. 

New York is renown for being the city that never sleeps.  Well, not Vienna.  The Viennese take time off and sleep.  That’s not to say they’re lazy.  Quite the contrary, my experience is that they are smart and industrious people.  But things don’t open early.  And on Sunday, they don’t open at all.  Seriously.  Last Saturday I didn’t make it to the grocery store before they closed.  As a result, we had no milk until Monday; Luke was not amused.  My point?  Early mornings are very quiet here.  And a few times a week I get up early and go for a run.  It’s peaceful and you get a different look at Vienna – minus the people.  Today I took Fran’s camera with me and took a few pictures along the way.

The Vienna Opera House around 5:20AM (we don't spring forward until late March).

One of my running routes: Kämtner Straße , a major shopping area.  It's completely empty.  This takes you to Stephensplatz.

St. Stephensplatz and Kirche (Church) is the epicenter of the innerstadt.  This gothic cathedral stands on the site of the original St. Stephen's Kirche, built in 1137 and dedicated in 1147, as local nobles were heading off for the second crusade.  Note the stylish chevron roof.  The roof was destroyed by fire at the end of the second world war.  It was promptly restored, as a sign of Austrian resilience. 

Kohlmarkt, arguably the most touristy street in Vienna – absolutely empty.  The dome at the end is part of the Hofburg Palace.  And Fran and Luke’s favorite bakery/sweet shop (Demel) is down on the right. 

After running down to the Danau Canal and then up past the Rathaus, you come up to the Austrian Parliament.  There’s actually a car on the road!  See bottom right. 

Karlsplatz and Karlskirche (St. Charles’ Church).  This is where we attend Mass, about a 15 minute walk from home.  Right behind me (as I take this picture) is another of Luke’s favorite playgrounds, which is usually teeming with kids.  For the moment, it’s completely still.  

It’s really hard to describe exactly how empty it feels in the morning, particularly when you know the hustle-and-bustle that is coming in just a few hours.  And somehow the solitude makes me feel connected to the city - like it’s mine.  In fact, the other day I was annoyed with the crowds and I complained to Fran about the tourists.  She looked at me incredulously and said, “But you’re a tourist.”  We both had a good laugh.


  1. Fran, I hope you feel better soon. Back pain is terrible.
    Beautiful post by your husband. I enjoy reading your blog daily. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful... I can't get over how clean the streets are. In the fourth image, the street is spotless! Wow!
    Thanks for filling in for Fran. Tell her that her followers miss her and wish her a swift recovery! I'm so glad you and your family are enjoying Vienna!