Christmas in Vienna was a long time coming. After visiting the city back in 2008, We booked the trip at the start of 2020, our aim to see Invaders in a lovely wintry city that we could easily fly to from our local aiport. Then the pandemic hit, travel came to a halt, and the airline went bust. We made the best of lockdown and two years later, we re-booked our trip. How lovely it is to be able to travel again!
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Some of our favourite sights from Vienna
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The Austrian Parliament Building and the Art Nouveau Ernst Fuchs Museum, formerly Otto Wagner Villa, featuring a covered swimming pool. Fuchs' work wasn't always our style, but discovering Otto Wagner was a revelation that kept us entertained throughout the trip.
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There was a dusting of snow at the start of our trip, which made visiting the villa all the more magical.
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Lunch at the villa featured our first taste of Viennese wurst and delicous bread. I drew a frog from childhood in on the snow-topped table.
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Tiny Cow enjoyed fondant fancies and strudel at Aida before heading off to explore Spittelberg.
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This huge Invader bridge in the Museumsquartier was thrilling to find. I wore my Invader cardigan to celebrate the occasion. The collages below show all the Invaders we found and flashed on this trip. Our scores in the Flashinvader app moved comfortably up into the top 2000 during the trip. Our last Invader seeking mission was Paris in October.
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Christkindlemarkt at the Rathaus was one of many Christmas markets around the city. This one was the most popular and very busy at night, after our long first day in the city.
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The Secession Building was closed on Monday, but we saw lots of Jugendstil artwork at the Leopoldsmuseum, which holds the largest collection of Egon Schiele paintings in the world.
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I loved the Secessionist fonts. The manuscript is one of Mahler's.
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Klimt's masterpiece is one that was recently vandalised by activists. Let's hope that trend stops soon (along with climate change).
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The centre panel shows designs for the stained glass in Otto Wagner's Kirche am Steinhof, which we saw the following week.
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One of our favourite artists, the tortured Egon Schiele was a brilliant painter who died far too young.
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The Dracula ornament tempted me throughout our trip, but I didn't buy it for our collection. Click HERE to see what we did get.
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Hunting Invaders took us all over the city and led to wonderful discoveries.
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There were Art Nouveau and waffles to be seen at Karlsplatz craft market. The woman (bottom right) was a living art installation. She was sitting inside a glass box, sorting pine needles from a nearby Christmas tree into size and type.
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Invader hunting led us and Tiny Cow to Café Ritter, where we had a traditional Austrian lunch. The mural was dressed like I do.
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In search of Art Nouveau
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Otto Wagner’s stunning Majolica House is directly across the street from the famous Naschmarkt . The photo of body painted Keith Haring is always worth re-posting.
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A great bookshop (top left) specialising in cookbooks and spices. I bought some gingerbread spice mix. I came to love the old-style neon café signs.
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Some sexy statuary and the Austrian Postal Savings Bank building, designed and built by Otto Wagner
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The Museum of Applied Arts was a treasure trove of Art Nouveau and other works to discover.
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(Top centre) One of the most famous (and most cartoonish!) graphic scores is by composer Cathy Berberian, Stripsody. I liked, and would wear, the harlequin costume.
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The next morning, we visited The Kunst Haus, home to lots of colourful work by Friedrich Hundertwasser.
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My favourite of Hundertwasser's works was this series of luminescent books, which link together to form a large work of art.
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The thought-provoking Unseen Places: Inaccessible landscapes showed sealed-off territories or restricted military areas. We had lunch in the colourful café.
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We re-created scenes from 2008, our first trip to Vienna.
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As with all of our holidays, some of our most memorable times are spent at home in the evenings, enjoying meals together and watching films. Our apartment was very handy for getting around the city.
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The following morning, we discovered St. Rupert's Church. Traditionally considered to be the oldest church in the city, St. Rupert's is dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg, patron saint of the salt merchants of Vienna. Also shown is Shakespeare Books, based on the one in Paris.
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Bonnieux's crèche has been lovingly designed and installed by the same artist for several years. Using natural materials, he created one of the lovliest churches I have ever seen.
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The memorial (top left) commemorates the 65-thousand Viennese Jews who were murdered during the Nazi regime. I instantly recognised it as being by Rachel Whiteread, whose work I admire. St. Stephen's Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna,
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On our way to the Anker Uhr, we found a delightful pop-up teddy bear museum.
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The Anker Uhr is worth visiting at any time of the day, but the best time is just before midday. At 12pm, all the figures of the clock parade, including Josef Haydn..
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We first tried the deep-fried flatbread, lángos, in Budapest. A hard-working woman near our Viennese apartment made hundreds of these each day. It was lunch, along with many of the succulent, cheese-stuffed Käsekrainer sausages I devoured on the trip.
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The Secession Building is open! In 1901, Klimt painted the Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition in celebration of the composer. Shown here, Typhoeus the giant, against whom even gods fought in vain. A knight in armor represents Armored Strength. The woman (bottom right) shows the yearning for happiness, assuaged in poetry. The arts lead us to the ideal realm in which we all can find pure joy, pure happiness, pure love. Algebra can't do that.
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Choir of angels from Paradise. 'Joy, lovely spark of heaven's fire, this embrace for all the world'.
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A perhaps-less weighty theme was presented in the temporary exhibition upstairs. We discovered the Ehrbar Saal, part of the music conservatory near Naschmarkt, and returned there later in the week for the best music we heard during our two-week stay, an accordion recital given by the internationally acclaimed virtuoso students of Professort Grzegorz Stopa.
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We heard Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium, which was nice, but nothing as thrilling as the accordion-playing boy in glasses.
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A collection of photos from around the city, including shadows at a Third Man location, St Peter's church, and another visit to the Naschmarkt
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To the right of Mozart, in his tightest finery, the Waterwave Life Fountain was sculpted from an 18.3-ton monolith of Chilean lapis lazuli.
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The Freyung Passage was Christmassy and open on Sunday, a rarity. The organic burger was from a stand at the Christkindlemarkt.
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Santa's Little Helper stood posing for photos for the longest time. We never could figure out why. Vienna reprogrammed 49 of its pedestrian traffic lights, replacing the gender-neutral figures with same-sex couples ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest.
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Off to see the Riesenrad, we discovered that a shtreimel is a fur hat worn by some Ashkenazi Jewish men, mainly members of Hasidic Judaism, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasions. We also saw the birthplace of film composer Max Steiner, before climbing aboard the iconic Ferris wheel featured in The Third Man and Before Sunrise. We rode it in 2008, but some things bear repeating.
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During our trip, we had fun recreating the Dutch angles and chiaroscuro lighting favoured by film director Carol Reed in The Third Man. We visited many of the film locations, including the cinema where two of the characters went into hiding and the church steps featured in a dramatic chase scene.
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Shown above is the doorway in which Harry Lime is first seen with his loyal cat, a cobbled street that featured in the film, and the sheet music to Anton Karas's Harry Lime Theme.
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Harry Lime's rather splendid house and the chained-off pedestal upon which - spoiler alert - he was said to have died after being run down by a car.
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We made a trek to see the Christmas market at Schönbrunn Palace, one of the markets that stayed open beyond Christmas. We saw the fake Roman antiquities, which were all the rage at the time the palace was built.
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More exciting to us than Schönbrunn Palace was the Art Nouveau train station by Otto Wager that stands just across the street.
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We blew Christmas stocking bubbles there and took photos of Tiny Cow and his shadow.
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The Strudlhofstiege is an outdoor staircase of architectural and literary significance in Vienna, named after a former art school run by the painter Peter Strudel. Nearby was a hidden Invader. Back home, we had soup and dinner made from Christmas leftovers.
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The Belvedere is home to many of Vienna’s finest works of art by Kilmt, Schiele, and others. We got there right as it opened and were the first to see The Kiss, in a room all to ourselves. The Monet painting may be returned soon to its pre-war owners.
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More Schiele, some other naked men paintings, and Monet's chef
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Hundertwasser’s glitteringly beautiful incinerator proves that art can enhance anything.
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After viewing the Hundertwasser, we went to a cool neighbourhood for lunch and to find a couple of Invaders.
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The Votivkirche is a neo-Gothic style church located on the Ringstraße in Vienna. Following the attempted assassination of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1853, the Emperor's brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian inaugurated a campaign to create a church to thank God for saving the Emperor's life.
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Colour photos of Harry Lime's doorway, cobblestone shadows, one of the Lipizzaner horses off duty, Graben, and the cathedral
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Art Nouveau architecture, an artists’ enclave near the canal, Otto Wagner restaurant, and one of the remaining Invaders
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The terra cotta coloured building (left, centre) was Otto Wagner's residence. The golden ball sits atop the main fire station in Vienna.
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A fireman, cool cook shop, bread Gluckschwein, and other sights on New Year's Eve
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The opera house, Hotel Sacher, Riva pizza, and more Gluckschwein
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Fantastic art and fig leaves at The Kunsthistorisches Museum. Two Caravaggio paintings and an instantly recognisable Vermeer. Considering that there are only 36 Vermeer paintings in existence, we have seen a fair share of them over the years.
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More Caravaggio and other fine art
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Arcimboldo, Rembrandt, Klimt, and the largest collection in the world of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
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I could stare at these Bruegel paintings, Where's Waldo-like, for hours. In the afternoon, we went to the Stadtpark for lunch and to watch the long shadows.
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Nick photographs Tiny Cow with Johann Strauss II. The ice skater photo is one of my favourites from the trip.
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The organic Karmelitermarkt is much more authentic than the larger, touristy Nachsmarkt. We bought Eierlikör and hazelnuts there. Overnight, Nick located another Invader near the Riesenrad, so we walked back there to flash it. While we were there, a French familiy showed up, very excited to add to their collection. As for Floyd's collection of men....
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The Mozart Fountain is a Jugendstil masterpiece depicting two of the main characters in The Magic Flute. I love the Austrian (and British) fashion we saw. We thought the French church was lovely and tasteful. Also shown are the Plague Column and St Stephen's Cathedral.
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We discovered the French Quarter when looking for the historic Kaiserbründl sauna, which we didn't visit on this trip.
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Back on the streets, people were gearing up for New Year's Eve. Some 800,000 revellers danced and drank champagne to welcome in the new year.
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We happened upon this wonderful apotheke, with its Art Nouveau angels. Later, we attended a performance of Mozart’s Coronation Mass at The Augustinian Church. The church has a famous marble statue of an angel by Antonio Canova (next page). We arrived two hours before the service to secure our seat. The mass was eventually standing room only. Three and a half hours in an unheated church left us frozen, but uplifted by the experience. Pope Benedict XVI died earlier that day and much was said about him at the service. It's the second pope who has impacted my travels, the first, and most memorable being John Paul II in 2005.
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On our last day, we took a bus out of the Vienna Woods to see Otto Wagner’s magnificent Kirche am Steinhof. It was worth the journey. We hope to return to see the interior some day.
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Vienna gave us lots of lasting Christmas memories

Christmas: 2021, 2020, 2019 (Paris), 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 (Gers), 2014 (Paris), 2013(Freiburg), 2012 (Dordogne), 2011 (Salzburg), 2010 (Vendee), 2009 (Vendee), 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000

Our Christmas Ornaments Collection

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