Monday 24th September.
Our schedule wasn’t as hectic today and so we got in a morning walk. We retraced a lot of the ground covered yesterday but it was lovely to see the sights and statues without the crowds. I found it rather ironic that Mark wanted to photograph Mozart’s statue given he wasn’t a huge fan of his music. Our coffee stop was at Heute Ist and reminded us of the Blue Bottle cafés of NYC. Mark noted that it was the best coffee he’s had on this trip thus far. We shall have to wait for a couple of weeks and see how this stacks up against the coffee in Rome!
Our Hitler tour didn’t start until 2.30 pm so we used the morning to visit St Stephan’s Cathedral; about 50 steps from our apartment. There has been a Church on the site of St Stephan’s Cathedral since 1137 and the current one is the 3rd. The Cathedral was founded by Rudolph 4th and we saw his tomb in the Catacomb beneath the Cathedral; he was also a Hapsburg. We had used the audio guide provided with the ticket for the Cathedral tour but later found our Rick Steeves podcast was more informative.
On leaving the Cathedral we stopped off at Cafe Frauenhuber, which we’d learned yesterday was the oldest cafe in Vienna. The coffee was good but not as good as Marks coffee from earlier this morning.
We also stopped off to buy some supplies for lunch and to look for some warmer clothes for the two of us. It’s cold here already and has taken us by surprise; even my new leather jacket isn’t enough. We checked out jackets in North-face but at multiple hundreds of Euros I opted for a down jacket at Zara for just 70 Euros. Next stop was at Adidas for leggings for Mark. Luckily, they were 50% off!
It was then home for a quick bite before our afternoon Hitler tour.
Our afternoon walking tour was with Good Vienna again and was their tour about Hitler’s Vienna. Our guide was Dieter and he was great as he spoke slowly and clearly and was an historian by profession. Given my lack of formal History study I found this all rather fascinating and have noted points of interest below:
- Hitler had a difficult relationship with father but a good one with his mother.
- He had wanted to be an artist but was twice rejected from art school: rumour has it by a Jewish Professor but apparently he was a Protestant!
- Hitler was born in Austria and moved to Vienna after his father died but was rather poor and sold his art on post cards.
- he fought with Germany in WW1.
- Wasn’t popular when elected but the unstable conditions at the time favored his election: Wall Street Crash and Bolshevik revolution.
- Antisemitism existed before Hitler.
- When Hitler took over Vienna there was little resistance as Austrians weren’t used to democracy anyway given they’d be ruled by the Hapsburgs for 600 years.
- Hitler was elected democratically said he’d use extreme powers for just 4 years but this then turned into a Dictatorship.
- Austrian fascists: 4 differences compared to Nazi fascists:
- 1. Not racist.
- 2. Supported Roman Catholic Church.
- 3. No territory claims.
- 4. Were happy with independence.
- Sigmund Freud was sacked from Vienna University for being Jewish.
We chose to dine out tonight and settled on Restaurant Fuhrich. The photos on the website look great but let me save you the trouble. It was less than ordinary and, needless to say, we will be eating at home tomorrow night.