Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2003

Vienna, Austria . . . and thereabouts



A quick visit to Vienna to see Elke, early July 2003

Sooty downtown Vienna: the landmark Stephansdom, St Stephan Cathedral, built mostly from 1304 onward, and until recently the most impressive architectural edifice in the city, until F. Hundertwasser built his Spittelau trash incinerator and took everyone's breath away -- with its majesty, not with its trash.

Quite an impressive cathedral and nothing that a good washing-up wouldn't fix.

Tourists and gypsy beggars in Vienna (Kristin in the foreground)

Free Abdullah Ocalan!! (Kurds Rule!)

The Art History Museum, a stunning place with enough rooms full of Dutch Old Masters to keep us shuffling along the marble floors for a week.

The Art History Museum again: the ceiling of the coffee shop.

Street scenes (the Grinzing suburb)

Kristin loves a good street market

This is all part of a timely visit to friend Elke in the Grinzing suburb, home of the ancient heurige wine-bar culture.

Here's Kristin trying on Elke's bhurka, and preparing to visit Mödling and its ancient heurige wine bars the next day.

Heurige: Forget bratwurst -- think quiche!

 

Here's charming Mödling, on a dreary grey day, however.

Kristin in the Mödling high street (left); Kristin and Elke darting over to check out the parish church

Hilarity at the Heurige

Road trip to Dürnstein

Another day, the classic Danube riverside drive, out to see (amongst other cute places) Dürnstein. That's the castle wherein King Richard the Lionheart, just trying to get home from his Crusade, spent two years in the nick (1192-93) waiting for his mom to come up with a 150,000 marks ransom for Emperor Henry VI and for his brother John Lackland to screw up another rebellion back in England.

Zur Ruine, this way.

Kristin and a Chicago police car on the hike up to Dürnstein castle

A welcome pause on the way up to the castle to catch our breath and take a few telephone calls.

Leopold V, Duke of Austria, was so angry at King Richard's treatment of the German contingent in the Holy Land, particularly at the siege of Acre, that he grabbed Richard on his overland journey from the Crusades in disguise, and stuck him up here under his officer Hadmar.

Elke and Kristin high above the Danube . . .

. . . with the Danube below

Riverboat

Precarious

Leopold subsequently turned Richard over to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI, who really hated him anyway, and he was trundled off to Trifels Castle in Germany to await the payment of the punitive ransom (about $3.3 billion in today's money). Holding up a Crusader was illegal, and the Pope excommunicated both Duke Leopold and Emperor Henry, who seemed not to have been too bothered.

"When's lunch?"

An attractive T-shirt purchased at the Salvation Army in Boston

During his imprisonment here, King Richard wrote some estimable poetry, mainly complaining that his family and friends, and especially his half-sister Marie de Champagne, had forsaken him. But his mom, Eleanor of Aquitaine, hadn't forgotten him, and she taxed the English people raw to come up the ransom money. He was finally released in 1194 when the ransom payment arrived (and died pointlessly five years later at Montbrun castle near Limoges [link]).

Tourists posing in what may long ago have been Richard Coeur-de-Lion's own prison cell.

We're on vacation

Shoppers in the Dürnstein (pop. 960) high street

Dürnstein street scenes

Lunch at a classic heurige {Forget bratwurst -- think quiche!} . . .

A Danube steamer, the Stadt Wien ("City of Vienna")

and a ferry across the Danube.

Summer 2003


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 8 November 2003, revised 30 July 2007, 11 December 2013.


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