Vienna: St. Stephan’s Adlerturm and Danube-Canal

Every time I find myself in Vienna, there is a couple of places I visit. St. Stephen’s cathedral being one of them. It is, together with graffiti-lined banks of the Danube-Canal, a venue where life is always present. I completely adore strolling around these places, admiring architecture of the former and endless creativity being showcased along the banks of latter.

This week I made my way to Vienna again as some matters demanded my physical presence. However, after that was sorted, I once again found myself standing in front of the monumental giant, head tilted back, eyes turned upwards. My admiration for the makers of this stunning piece of architecture is hard to express in words.

Having climbed the south, gothic tower about a year ago, I decided to explore the other viewpoint available. Following a short wait and a crammed ride in the elevator, was I together with four other tourists spat out to the tip of the north tower, better known as Adlerturm. The first thing that hits you, walking out of the elevator is a strong wind. Not overpowering, but persistent – my personal recommendation is to bring a hat, especially if your ears get sensitive like mine do.

After couple seconds of digging around the insides of my backpack, I finally found it in a pocket of my jacket. I always put it there, so I don’t have to look for it (and then usually forget about it and go on a wild search anyway). With the danger of an ear infection eliminated, it was time to explore the view. And let me tell you, what a view it was.

Overlooking Vienna

Perched behind the rails, mouth open in awe you look into the distance. The city spreading in front of you in all directions, colourful roofs, spiky spears signalising the presence of churches and shiny modern buildings reflecting the clouds above. You walk around the tower, walk up a few stairs and get to the main viewpoint. Despite knowing that the streets below you are full of life, you feel oddly serene. Fellow tourists, happily snapping away selfies from this angle and that other one, laughing and making funny faces. Looking down below, humans on the square are smaller than ants. Tiny dots freely moving around, cheerfully going on about their lives, trying to enjoy those last few sunny days of this year’s autumn. You grab your camera and snap a few pictures as well.

Prater in the distance

One, at least for me, prominent advantage the north tower has, is how close you manage to get to the roof of the cathedral. It may not seem like it from the pavement, but the colourful ornaments decorating it are constructed entirely out of ceramic tiles, carefully layered one on the other. Another interesting feature, is the notable steepness of this tile roof. Surprisingly, at least for me, it results in the roof being mostly cleaned on its own by rainfall and keeps itself free of snow during winters. Pretty neat.

When you had enough of the serene, meditative views, an elevator with a lovely chatty guy operating it transports you back down. You are released back to the cathedral and can go on exploring its beauty for a bit longer. I turn around though, for there is another place awaiting my arrival. Exiting through the main door I go right and join the stream of tourists flowing in that direction. After successfully joining in, you can allow your brain to relax and simply let yourself be carried in a more or less straight line towards the next destination. Stopping on the way in one of the numerous coffee houses or just heading straight ahead, you arrive on a wide road, running along the bank of Donau-canal. Descending on either side of the canal is worth it. However, I have my preference and decide to cross to the other side prior to descending to the promenade.

It is still early in the afternoon and because everyone is busily working away, path stretching across this bank is not that busy. A few fellow strollers slowly walking down the pathway. They pass numerous paintings on the walls, some of them real works of art that inspire and entertain you. Different styles, patterns and messages, all creating a colourful patchwork you cannot take your eyes off.

My favourite part is, where unique sculptures and various installations are placed. Resting underneath a canopy of brightly coloured autumn trees.

Fingers crossed

Walking through this open-air exhibition with no entrance fee, you always find new pieces, for the art is always changing here as one painting layers on top of another. So, if you like something, don’t feel shy to take a picture, you might not find it next time. And that’s what I do as well, slowly wondering down the path, stopping here and there to capture something funny, beautiful, witty …

First fall leaves gently slide through the air, making their way to the ground and I walk on and on.