Vienna and Wachau Valley

Vienna, Austria has such a grand reputation as being one of the world’s centers of art, music and architecture.  The city has an incredible aura and I couldn’t wait to find out all about it. Vienna is where we were able to board our Viking cruise ship and settle into our room but it was late at night and there was not much to see from the ship. The rooms are small but everything you need is there. At the ship meeting (everyday at 5:30pm) we were told that we would be on this ship for 3 nights and then we would go to another ship entirely. This is all because of the drought in Europe and the low water levels on the Danube.

Palace Stairs
Palace Stairs

The highlight of our first day in Vienna was a trip to the Schoenbrunn Palace. This is the summer palace of the Empress Maria Theresa. We were not allowed to take photos inside the palace but we were allowed to take photos of the outside gardens that surround the palace.

Schonbrunn Palace
Schonbrunn Palace

The palace is so extensive that it seems impossible that it could be for one family.  Maria Theresa was the only female ruler of the House of Hapsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, and more for more than 40 years. She and her husband, Francis I, had sixteen children. She had eleven daughters, ten of whom were named Marie and one of those daughters was Marie Antoinette, who married a French king. Here is an image of a woman in the typical dress at the time of Maria Theresa.

Light at dusk
Light at dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following morning we were treated to a trip on the Danube river as it passed through the Wachau Valley between Krems and Melk. Both banks have ruined castles and medieval towns and are lined with terraced vineyards. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 because of its cultural importance as well as its physical beauty. UNESCO also says that “The architecture, the human settlements, and the agricultural use of the land in the Wachau vividly illustrate a basically medieval landscape which has evolved organically and harmoniously over time.”  Here are some photos of that picturesque area.

Water Valley Scene
Water Valley Scene
Melk Abbey in late afternoon
Melk Abbey in late afternoon
Castle in the Wachau
Castle in the Wachau

All these photos were taken hand-held. A tripod is too bulky to take with you to these places and so you develop strategies to keep the image sharp. My camera Nikon D300s with an 18-105mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom CS and Color Efex Pro.

 

Wachau Valley Church
Wachau Valley Church

 

Next blog will feature another city from the Danube River Cruise 2015!