Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Winter in the Vienna Woods

All pictures are clickable

I spent the last weekend in the countryside 30 miles southwest of Vienna in an old castle which is now used as a seminar hotel.
We had snowfall all day, the English garden with the mighty old plane trees was soon covered under a soft blanket of snow,
and the rocks behind the building with the pine trees and the old ruins on top looked very romantic.

You can see from my smiling face how much I enjoyed the winter atmosphere!


The castle
Hernstein was acquired by the Hapsburg Archduke Rainer in 1830. 25 years later, his son Leopold Ludwig engaged the famous architect Theophil Hansen to remodel it as a hunting lodge in the English gothic style. While the facade was finished only after two years, the interior took 25 years! Hansen designed every detail, the furniture as well as the doorhandles and the silverware.
Many of the ideas he developed in Hernstein, Hansen later used as a model for his famous buildings at Vienna's Ringstraße, e.g. the Parliament or the Stock Exchange Building.

In the Second World War, the roof of the Hernstein castle was destroyed by a bomb, but fortunately the marvellous interior remained intact. Between 1945 and 1955 (when Austria was divided into four zones of occupation by the Allies) Hernstein was the seat of the military commander of the Russian Zone. After Austria's souverenity was restored in 1955, the castle was bought by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, profoundly renovated and since then used as a seminar hotel. In 1976, a hotel in a very functional style was built at the western side of the castle to accommodate the seminar guests.

Please follow the link below for more information and some pictures from the interior of the castle:
Schloss Hernstein

Friday, 15 January 2010

Winter Skies, heavy as lead

Winter skies, heavy as lead, that's what the sky looks like in Vienna in the past week.
Temperatures here are below freezing, some sun would be welcome to break the heavy cloud cover :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Seagulls and a dog

A walk in the snow along Vienna's Donaukanal.
The scenery is dominated by the animals:
Seagulls from Northern regions and a doggy having fierce snowball fights :)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Little fuzzy pigs (Mangalica) at a petting zoo

waiting to be caressed

Dream catchers at last year's Christmas market near Karlskirche,

an odd stand with stunning headpieces and other handmade things.

Happy New Year 2010!
Hope you get enough shares of kindness and affection,
that your dreams will come true,
and life will be full of pleasant surprises!