Vienna... again and again.

The warm waft of fresh pastries follows in my wake as I walk street after street lined with majestic buildings, ornate confections crafted for royal weddings, one after another, each a crown jewel set in shimmering pastel twilights to glow in the afternoon sun. Melancholy cathedral bells toll, ringing their balm across the vast city, hourly, spreading ethereal blankets across centuries of heartbreak (the rope-pullers pellucidly corrupt, but who wants to peer into the shadows of the belfry?). Every city, indeed every block in this old city holds a past, perhaps a present, and likely a future of treachery, of carnal desire and alas, the most feeble and enduring of all, romantic dreams. The loftiest of music, the finest waltzes, most brilliant of scientific discoveries, the most intense paintings and sculptures have found in Vienna their canvas, the Muse of Civilization here rising insistently against dark odds. Repetition does not dull the surreal beauty. I come again and again for more, to find myself in this backdrop.

The angels are in the details.

Every street. Any street. Even the modern restorations seek beauty. It makes a difference.

Even in dilapidated commercial areas, one sees the old pension buildings where the arthritic and crippled live, and wonder at the architect's inspiration youthful years ago, before even the strassbahn lines.

The metro stations, used daily by over a million people are grand. 

Even the platform spaces are visually appealing.

They carry the aroma of of fresh pastries and coffee from shops within or sometimes currywurst and kebabs from nearby street stands, a stupidly welcome sight after a night late out carousing.

Buildings seamlessly integrated into daily life here. Residential apartments above retail spaces. Consider daily grandeur. Coming home to your apartment, vintage tiles, tall ceilings, banisters worn smooth by hands over hundreds of years.

And some reserved for theaters:

Or government buildings, like the Rathaus, often hosting community festivities, like the Christmas market. In the foreground, Krampus heads off in search of his horns.
The Rathaus (city hall) is bedecked in flowers in the summer

See an earlier post for the opera house, another favorite venue.

Many of the palaces, like the Liechstenstein Garden Palace are public spaces with playgrounds, park benches, cafes and used as event venues.

And then there's the Museums Quartier, with yet another of my very favorite buildings, the Kunsthistoriche Museum, always promising hours of mind-blowing delight.

Check out Rosselini's 15th century ivory carving f the Madonna and Child clutching a goldfinch

And these other ivory carvings.

And I'm simply crazy about this gold salt cellar, Terra e Mare, Benvenuto Cellini made in 1543 for King Frances I of France.

And then, there's this bronze sculpture of my very favorite god....

Until next time, Prost!