I left you at the Schwarzenbergplatz in my last post (travel diary; kirchbach – vienna on my own (karlskirch & schwarzenbergplatz). From there is it about 10 min walk to the Stadtpark without a camera in your hand … for me it took about 30 min.
The Stadtpark a fairly big park and very popular with the locals and on a Sunday it seems to be very busy, even if the day had overcast. Never visit a park in Vienna on Sunday before and I was very surprised how many people were in the parks.
The Prater – is the biggest park in Vienna’s 2nd district (Leopoldstadt). The Wurstelprater amusement park, often simply called “Prater”, lies in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel (constructed in 1897, it was the world’s tallest extant Ferris wheel from 1920 until 1985). Never visit the park, but I passed the Ferris wheel in a car. The park has to go on my do-it-note, but I leave out a ride on the wheel. Not very good with hights.
The Stadtpark is divided into two sections by the Wienfluss (Vienna River) and has a total surface area of 65,000 square meters (28 acres). Scattered throughout the park are statues of famous Viennese artists, writers, and composers, including Hans Canon, Emil Jacob Schindler, Johan Strauss II, Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner. The beautiful Kursalon building on Johannesgasse, with its broad terrace that reaches into the park, what I understand is the site of popular waltz concerts.
The Stadtpark was Vienna’s first municipal park, was opened in August 1862. Planning and implementation of the park in the English landscape style were done by the landscape painter Josef Selleny and Stadtgärtner Rudolf Siebeck.
The Meierei (Milchtrinkhalle) building was built from 1901 to 1903 according to the plans of the architects Friedrich Ohmann and Josef Hackhofer as part of the monumental design of the Wienfluss vault and the promenades flanking the new flume. The villa-like building has baroque-secessionist forms. The milk drinking hall was severely damaged during the WWII but was rebuilt and completely restored in 2004 and today holds one of the best restaurants in Vienna, Restaurant Steirereck – which is one of the reasons why I like the Stadtpark so much.
I have never been to the restaurant itself, only to The Meierei – that is more of a bistro type of restaurant on the riverbank and the restaurant itself is in a modern section of the old building.
I enjoy a lunch there – and in the spring it’s, of course, the fresh asparagus with boiled parsley potatoes and that fluffy hollandaise sauce that only Steirereck does. I eat it with a spoon. And of course, I enjoy it with a glass of perfectly chilled Sauvignon blanc and finish off with Vienna’s best coffee.
Coffee in Vienna isn’t that great considering they are the city of cafes and famous for them. At my first visit about 12 years ago, it was like dishwater on the cafes I visit – it has become a lot better.
After lunch and walking around in the park, I took the tram 2 from Schwarzenbergplatz to The Burggarte at Josefsplatz (only 2 stops) – it had been about 20-30 min walk, but my feet likes public transport those days.
Vienna public transport has a senior ticket that cost €2.80 – and that ticket can be used twice. Only to stamp the ticket in the machines on the U-bane stations or aboard buses/trams. Robert gave me 2 tickets and I got where I wanted on them during the 2 days. You may change as often as you like, but you may not interrupt the journey. Can be bought in the ticket machines or at any ticket or information office.
When Napoleon’s troops withdrew from Vienna in 1809, the mess they left behind demanded a redesign of the area around the Hofburg palace. Part of this redesign was the creation of a private garden or park for the Imperial family, long known as the Kaisergarten. The area was extended in 1863. It was renamed the Burggarten in 1919, given the change from monarchy to the republic after WWI.
The park holds a pond, a statue of Emperor Franz Joseph and the Mozart monument, Schmetterlinghaus (The Imperial Butterfly House) and the stunning Palmenhaus. The original, classical greenhouse was built from 1823 to 1826 according to plans by Ludwig von Remy. The back wall of the building was part of the then Vienna city wall. After the greenhouse had been demolished at the turn of the century, 1902-1906 was a new style influenced by Art Nouveau new building to designs by the court architect Friedrich Ohmann. The decorations on the middle section (vases, female figures with wreaths, boys) are by Josef Václav Myslbek.
It was impossible for both Oscar and me to get a great image of the full building – so we have gone to Google for this one.
In 1988, the building was closed for security reasons, from 1996 to 1998, a total of around 13 million euros expensive general renovation. In 1998, the Palm House was finally reopened. The middle part is used by a cafe and restaurant, the left wing houses the butterfly house, the right wing is used by the Austrian Federal Gardens as a greenhouse.
The Palmenhaus is without a doubt one of the most beautiful steel and glass constructions of its time in the Jugendstil style and was once used by the emperor as a place for relaxation and entertainment. It has a length of 128 meters and a floor area of around 2,050 m².
Both the parks lawns and the cafe terrace were packed with people. At the “Plamenhaus” I enjoyed the best grilled sardines I ever have eaten when my visit Vienna the first time.
And of course, I visit my flying beauties at “Das Schmetterlinghaus”, it brings me so much joy to see those massive butterflies behaving like pets. It’s a must for me every time I visit Vienna. They are behaving madly and they land on you and just in front of your feet. It is a quite small area they are in, but they are multiplying and they seem to love their little paradise and so do all their visitors.
As I left the Burggarten I saw what nice weather and a weekend can to one of the cleanest city centers I been to; the waste!!!!!
“Parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.”