Tag Archives: museum


Colombia has been on my bucket list for a very long time now.

The country is more than double the size of France with almost 50 million people living here.

And the government has gone a long way to throw off the mantle of its narco-terrorism roots.

The nation has about 1,600 km of coastline to the north onto the Caribbean Sea, and a further 1,300 km of coast to the west onto the Pacific Ocean. The northern border is Panama, which divides the two bodies of water using the infamous Panama Canal. Venezuela and Brazil sit to the east and Peru and Ecuador to the south.


Our entry was a couple of days into the port city of Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast. Oh my god I love this place.

Before I even get into the rant about how great this place is, let’s take a moment to explain the introduction that you get to the town when you get off a cruise ship. As you walk through the port the first thing that you are met with is a FREE aviary and tourist park. This is just there. There are trinket shops, cafes and restaurants right here at the entry point. Within this, the first thing that you see is a grassed area with about 20-50 flamingos in it. Around them are about 10 parrots, some macaws, various waterfowl and the odd tree rat.

Quite literally, if you went no further than this then you would have had a great day out in Cartagena. But there is more. Keep walking around the corner and you come across the ubiquitous “I Love” sign coupled with about another 50 macaws of varying colours. A bit further I got to see my first ever live toucan. From here there were some tortoises and I even ran across a giant anteater.

And all of this for free before you even leave the port, how good is this?

Getting out of the port, we were told it would cost us $20 each in a cab to get to the tourist area. As we walked out we found a dude with a minibus who offered us a 4 hour tour of the sights (including return) for the same price as a one way cab. So off we went.

Cartagena is a major city of about a million people, with a fantastic mix of modern city and down by the ocean is the historic walled Old Town.

The first stop was the seaside suburb of Manga. This is a leafy residential neighbourhood with a park, seafront promenade and nice views of the new city skyline across the bay.

The next stop was the old city walls and some of the fortifications of Old Town.

This olden section of town was founded in the 16th century and now has the historic squares, cobblestoned streets, colourful colonial buildings, and of course all of the tourist hustle and bustle that you would expect. Fair warning…the touts here can be pretty full on so be prepared for a total assault on the senses.

The main entrance to the old town is through the Puerta del Reloj. This is the original and historic main gate to the centre of the fortified city, Cartagena de Indias.

As usual for us, it was covered in scaffolding.

OK…before I step you through the gates into old town, lets talk about the coolest thing in this entire city. Right in the heart of Cartagena city is a small unassuming park surrounded by yellow walls. It is officially called Parque del Centenario and on first glimpses you would probably just walk straight past. But you would have seriously missed out as within the park there were 7 sloths (as of November 2023) living in the trees in and around the park.

In addition to the Sloths, there are also tamarin monkeys, red squirrels and several iguanas in the park. The monkeys are tree rats that annoy you and carry diseases (but the tourists still try and hand feed them) while the Iguanas are usually found lounging on the grass soaking up the sunlight.

The park is located between the squares Plaza de Independencia and Plaza de los Coches. Both of these were in full Christmas decoration phase when we were there. The place just feels right, from happy vendors, beautiful streets great little restaurants the place is welcoming. Admittedly the touts can get a bit much after a while but for the most part they are friendly and just trying to earn a living.

Once you step through the gates you are in full tourist mode (in case you had not already noticed by all of the touts etc).

The Cathedral of Cartagena de Indias was built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It is in the heart of Old Town and is dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The original structure of the cathedral has been preserved today almost unchanged.

Cartagena is just a lovely city. The care and pride shown in the homes, the parks and the neighbourhoods give the place a really great feel. As our ship stayed here overnight we learned a trick that we should have done. Some people got off the boat and paid for a night’s accommodation (under $100) in the heart of the action. This will be us for sure, next time we come.

Within the walls of the old city is the suburb or area of Getsemani this is the bohemian-style neighbourhood where everyone is welcome. Poor or wealthy, tourist or local? Back in the day, it was the neighbourhood for prostitution, drug, and violence. But today it is the home to awesome street art, food, bars and music.

The street art in this part of town is truly something to behold. What was once probably a pretty sketchy to walk through is now an absolute delight. At no point did we feel nervous or concerned for our safety, even amid the mad tourist throngs.

As part of our tour on day one we hit the usual haunts but also had a couple of entries into some museums around town. The first was an art gallery that focussed on the faces of the pandemic and the losses that were felt in Colombia. The next was the local cultural museum.

The last was the Emerald Museum. Colombia is one of the world’s largest producers of emeralds (supplying about 90% of the world’s supply), and as such they are on sale everywhere. And we went through the museum (and shop) that told us all about this.

We were paired at dinner with a Swedish couple (Patrick and Anna) who were fantastic. So on our second day in Cartagena, we decided to head out together to explore the various areas. They took us to the flash cocktail bars and we took them to the dodgy neighbourhoods. They were such good company that we also spent the next day in Aruba with them kicking back by the beaches.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is the castle/fortress that was built on the Hill of San Lázaro in 1536. It was placed in a strategic location where it could dominate approaches by both land and sea. It was built by the Spanish using African slave labour and was involved in several battles between the late 17th to early 19th centuries between the European powers.

We did not get there this time around but we are due to return to Cartagena in about 6 weeks time for a second stint. We will update these photos and give a much better viewing soon.

Once you get a bit further afield there are other little gems that look they should also be added to the things to see list. Some of these include the islands.

Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees.

Isla del Rosario, known for their coral reefs.

Tayrona National Park has long stretches of beaches lined with coconut palms and a dense rainforest with lots of day hikes.

The Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) was built around 800 CE and contains 169 terraces carved into the mountains, as well as a network of tiled roads and small plazas. The site is older than Machu Picchu!

The last thing that I have to mention about Cartagena is the absolute idiocy of the American tourists. They (almost without exception) all hated it. Clearly Colombia’s troubled past (cartels, paramilitaries, poverty, and petty crime) has cast a long shadow that for many will not go away and danger lurks around every corner.

They felt unsafe and one comment was that they were walking around in groups of 10 or more so that they didn’t get kidnapped. For us, this was truly one of the safest places we have ever been to. I am not sure exactly what they thought they would be ransomed for (maybe their vintage chewed gum collection from high school).

We loved the place and cannot wait to come back (which thankfully we will be fairly soon).


Oman (officially the Sultanate of Oman) sits at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It shares land borders with Saudi Arabia and the UAE (west) and Yemen (southwest), while sharing maritime borders with Iran and Pakistan.

It has a population of a bit under 5.5 million.

The Rub’ al Khali or the Empty Quarter is the desert portion of Oman but also encompasses parts of the UAE, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is 1,000 kilometres long, and 500 kilometres wide and has sand dunes with heights of up to 250 metres 

Our early research had us a little more excited about Oman as at first glance there seemed to be plenty to see and do. We were a little terrified coming into it as our Aussie dollar exchange rate came in at 25 cents. This meant that one of their real was worth $4 for us. Jill put us right in the heart of tourist land.

Our hotel room was not a shadow on our one from Abu Dhabi. It was the width of a bed and this was the door.

As I am a touch taller than Jill, I sconned myself on this door (and others around the hotel) on several occasions.

One of these has given me a gash to the head, concussion and likely brain damage.

The seaside area of Mutrah was to be our home for the next few days. Sadly the room paled in comparison with the luxury that we had in Abu Dhabi but the location was fantastic. Looking straight out of our window we had direct views of (and about a 300 m walk to) the Mutrah Fort.

At the bottom of our hill (250m), we were on the Mutrah Corniche. This is a 3km long promenade along the waterfront, which of course is lined with cafes, restaurants, and markets. You have views of the Oman Port and harbour (including the Sultans Yacht) and the Hajar Mountains with its Portuguese watchtowers on the other side.

Our first task was getting up at 6 am and walking along the Corniche to the fish market and dhow harbour before breakfast. Even the dodgy, smelly fish market was impressive. Stainless steel troughs. mosaic tiled walls and of course the freshest of fish that you could find.

As finding food in the Middle East had proven a touch challenging at times we have taken to getting breakfast included in our hotel. And so far, Oman is winning.

After our breakfast, we climbed the hill, paid our admission and hit the fort. Now this was a first. There was nobody there. We had the entire fort to ourselves for about 30 minutes. We roamed and explored and took our photographs with absolutely nobody else to contend with. When we were finished and were walking out the door, we passed the baton to two German guys who then also had it to themselves. Hitting the bottom though a group of about 10 arrived, so their solitude would have been short lived.

Having finished at the fort we hopped the local bus for a 4-5km ride to the National Museum of Oman.

Along the way you see a bizarre space ship looking thing on the right.

Apparently to celebrate the 20th National Day of Oman in 1990 this monumental incense burner was built on top of a prominent hill at Riyam Park. 

Getting off the bus was a bit of a catch all as within a short walk of where the bus drops you off, you have the Museum, the Al Alam Palace (the official palace of the sultan), two Portuguese forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani and some major government buildings.

But the Museum was first.

The palace was the next obvious place to head as it was only a few hundred meters away in a straight line. But it was also in full sun with no shade and no respite.

The next was the forts, which were basically each side of the palace. Unlike the Mutrah Fort, these were unable to be entered and climbed upon. But they were kind of big enough and obvious enough to get some nice photos.

At this point we had melted. While the actual temperature of Oman is lower than places like Saudi Arabi, the humidity raises the “feels like” factor considerably. While walking around at 1:30 in the afternoon we got our own personal record when we hit the “feels like” temperature of 52 degrees centigrade. We were cooked.

The last stop before running away to hide from the heat was the Muscat Gate Museum.

Having got our gate photos we grabbed drinks (melting) and were waiting the 5 minutes for the bus to arrive. At this point a taxi pulled up and beeped (a common thing-touting for business). But this guy already had a customer. He was already being paid and was going past the Souk (our get off point) and took us for free – just to save us waiting in the sun. Now that was a first.

So after hiding through the afternoon (after showers and attempts to wash the sweat from clothing) we waited for early evening and made our way down the hill to the Mutrah Souk. This is one of the oldest markets in Oman and was right on our doorstep. We had briefly wandered through during the afternoon but it is the evening when the Souk really takes off.

The next day, another amazing breakfast and on a bus back towards town to see the things we had passed on our way in. Stop number one, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It was officially opened in 2001 and has become Oman’s most important spiritual site. It was closed on the Sunday that we tried to visit. While we did not get to enter the mosque we still had access to wander the grounds outside and get some happy snaps. The mosque was built to hold 20,000 worshippers and is home to the world’s biggest 1-piece handmade Iranian carpet and the second-largest chandelier in the world.

Directly opposite the grand mosque is the Omani Parliament building. It was built in 2013 and sits on more than 100,000 square metres. It has more than 5 km of facade and the centrepiece is a 64 m clock tower (the highest in Oman) with each of the clocks having a 4.8 metre diameter. The building is known locally as the Majlis Oman.

According to the blurb the Parliament building has been equipped with a range of well-paced spotlights, with modern LED technology and underground lighting fixtures. This means that at night the whole 38-metre high wall is illuminated with a controlled washing effect over almost all of the surface.

The Royal Opera House area which is an event in itself. The building is imposing and our first glimpse of it was in the taxi on the way in (mosque and parliament too), which prompted us to get back here a few days later. It isn’t just the opera house but more of an entire precinct for the arts and cultural pursuits. It is regularly used and has the capacity for 1,000-seat concert and opera theatre. But with 15,000+ square metres, over six levels with three basement floors, it can easily change its configuration to cater to most events.

So Oman is our favourite so far. It is authentic. It has actively resisted the current trend (looking at you UAE) of advancement at all costs and has maintained those things that make it special. There are tons of forts all over the country and deserts and oases worthy of exploring.


Albania is a nation that shares land borders with Montenegro (northwest), Kosovo (northeast), North Macedonia (east) and Greece (south). There is evidence of habitation in the area since the Neolithic era (around 7000 BCE).

The Albania of today provides universal health care and free education (primary and secondary) to its citizens.


Well, this one surprised us. We looked online at the local tourist attractions and the list looked pretty lean. Our time was short but given the list of things to see it had a fair bit of downtime in there too. Once we arrived and started looking we saw much more than we had bargained for.

Add to this that it was listed as a developing country, our experience was very different. It had many of the baselines for a developed nation (footpaths and lighting etc) that we had been missing in many of the last six countries we had been in. Granted, the traffic was a nightmare and the sewerage at times questionable but for the most part this place is extremely civilised and pleasant.

So the main thing on the tourist schedule for Tirana is Skanderbeg Square. This is the main central square in the heart of town. At one end is the National Historical Museum and at the opposite side is the statue of Gjergj Skanderbeg.

This is the third time we had run into Skanderbeg having also seen his statues in Skopje and Pristina.

According to the history books, Skanderbeg’s led a 10,000 strong army that waged war in Ottoman territory. For 25 years, (between 1443 and 1468) they kept winning against consistently larger and better-supplied Ottoman forces.

A war memorial dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo War is present in Skanderbeg Square along with a series of photographs depicting those missing from the conflict.

There is much construction still going on in the city and the thing that is enthusing me is that they are not building boring concrete and glass cubes. The Architects have been to work and are putting together something that may end up being an interesting cityscape.

While there was not huge amounts to see and do, we liked Tirana and would happily come back. Getting around was easy and cheap and the people were mainly friendly. Albania would make for a nice base to launch longer European forays (daytips etc) while not killing the budget.

Tirana represented the end of this phase of our European adventure. We now start heading back to Australia (briefly) but we are doing it the slow way with several stops in the Middle East, Sri Lanka (again) and then into Brisbane via Kuala Lumpur and Sydney.


Bulgaria is a southern Balkan country bordered by Romania (north), Serbia and North Macedonia (west), Greece and Turkey to the south.

Bulgaria is renowned for its diverse terrain that includes the Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. Based near the European crossroads it has long been a cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences.

Before I get into the exploring, I need to talk about first impressions. This place is fantastic. We got off the plane and onto the Metro for a run into town for our hotel. A slight mishap with the ticket scanning saw me through the barrier and Jill stuck on the other side. Seeing the dilemma some random woman came up and swiped her card, letting Jill through and just wearing the cost.

We then got to our hotel and were met by the friendliest and most helpful dude that we have come across thus far (and that bar has been set pretty high). This friendliness was genuine and extended the entire time through our stay. So much so that on the morning that we were due to leave he even offered to wait around for us (after his overnight shift) and drive us to the bus station, so that we didn’t have to lug our heavy bags.

Our room had a fridge so we popped out to the shop on the corner and bought 4 large beers (2x500ml and 2×1 litre) and a soft drink each and got change from $12 Aussie for the lot.

I’m really gonna like this place.


Sofia is the capital of the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. It’s in the west of the country, below Vitosha Mountain. The city’s landmarks reflect more than 2,000 years of history, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation. When doing our early research it looked a bit light on, but on arrival we were happy to see that there was much more on offer than the tourist blurbs suggest.

Hopping off the Metro we landed right on top of one of the listed landmarks, the Lions Bridge.

Well that was easy.

It is a bridge over the Vladaya River that was built 1889–1891 and connects the Central Railway Station with the city centre.

It has 4 very large lion statues on it.

Just around the corner from our hotel, we randomly happened upon the Church of St Paraskeva which is the third largest church in Sofia.

It is a Bulgarian Orthodox church dedicated to Saint Paraskeva,

We were aiming for something else but sure enough this popped up and was pretty cool.

StAlexander Nevsky Cathedral was what we were actually aiming for. It is one of the 50 largest Christian churches in the world taking up an area of 3,170 square metres and being able to hold 5,000 people inside. Construction started in 1882 but most of it was built between 1904 and 1912. The cathedral was created in honour of the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 when Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.

Virtually across the road, you find the Saint Sofia Church which is the oldest church in Sofia. The floor of the church is covered with Early Christian flora and fauna-themed mosaics. 

Just down the hill a bit and you come across Saint Nikolas Russian Church (Tsurkva Sveta Nikolai).

It was built in 1882 on the site of the Saray Mosque, which was destroyed during the Russian liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

Having ticked those boxes we hunted for dinner but were rejected from the first place (Armenian) as I was dressed like a grotty backpacker. They claimed that they were full but really they didn’t want the likes of us in there. So we went somewhere else, got online and made a reservation for the next night, where we dressed similarly. Having done all of that, their snootiness did not translate into good enough food to justify the price (it was OK) and as a protest, they made sure that their service sucked.

A later check of reviews from other people found many similar experiences.

On our walk back from dinner (the first night) we stumbled upon the Opera House that we had walked right past and completely missed on the way up the hill (it was tucked around a corner).

Also on the walk home, we came across roving packs of teens and 20 somethings in the park looking for things to do. Some were drinking, but for the most part, they were just hanging out and discussing the issues of the day. Not protests as such, just exchanges of ideas.

National Museum of History is Bulgaria’s largest museum and was founded in 1973. Set at the end of a very nice park with some lovely fountains it was worth the short journey to get here.

St. Nedelya Church is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral dating back to the 10th century. It has been destroyed and reconstructed many times through the ages. 

The Rotunda Church of Saint George is buried in a courtyard behind other buildings. It dates back to the late 3rd and early 4th centuries.

It was originally built as Roman baths. It is the oldest surviving building in Sofia.

The Regional History Museum is another landmark in the centre of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It was built in the early 20th century near the former Turkish bath and was used as the city’s public baths until 1986.

Almost across the road you will find the Banya Bashi Mosque. This was built in 1566, during Ottoman control of the city. It was built over natural thermal spas and at times you can see the steam rising from vents in the ground near the mosque walls.

The mosque has a 15m diameter large dome and prominent minaret.

The Sofia Synagogue opened in 1909 in the presence of King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria.  Buried away in a backstreet it is tough to get a good camera angle for better photos, sorry.

And just down the road and around the corner you will find the Gypsy Markets. The description that we got from our hotel dude was it was a bunch of gypsies selling the things they had stolen or found in the trash that day. He also suggested not eating there as the meat was likely to be cat or dog.

We were here on a Saturday and Sunday and for the most part, the place was closed. Shops and restaurants worked normal hours, none of this I must be open the whole time. It was an interesting throwback to when people had lives.

A little inconvenient at times but hey.

The only places that were always open were the alcohol and tobacco shops.

As with everywhere, the place had a bunch of statues dotted all over the place. But these ones seemed funkier and edgier than the usual ones that typically haunt big cities.

This is the Eastern Europe that we had been hoping for all along. The place is fantastic, cheap and friendly. The food is good and the sights are worth seeing without being mind-blowing. But mostly it is about the atmosphere. The place feels right. You could happily settle in and spend a month here just soaking up the culture and getting a sense of the place, and importantly you can do so without destroying the budget.


Serbia is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It shares land borders with Hungary (north), Romania (northeast), Bulgaria (southeast), North Macedonia (south), Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (west), and Montenegro (southwest), and Kosovo.

Serbia has about 6.6 million people.

Having loved our (240 km and 8 hour) bus ride into Bosnia and Herzegovina we decided to fly out for a 40 minute puddle jump into Serbia, more specifically Belgrade.


Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the junction of the Sava and Danube rivers with a population of around 1.6 million. Belgrade is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world with the first dated records of habitation going back to the the 3rd century BC.

Our accommodation saw us perched between the old and new town directly opposite the old main railway station and associated park.

The park is amazing with an incredibly impressive monument to Stefan Nemanja (over 20m high).

He was a medieval Serbian nobleman who together with his son Sava (who the big church is named after) are considered the fathers of the Serbian Orthodox Church).

As it was early enough we dropped off our gear and headed out on a walk to see the sights. We chose to hit the ones that were away from old town, where we would be spending most of our time the following day. So we turned the corner from our hotel and started our way up the hill aiming towards St Sava Temple.

But within two blocks we had already landed upon the railway museum, which was incredibly impressive in its own right.

Half a block up and across the street we came upon the Government of the Republic of Serbia building.

This was built in the 1920s and was the first public building built in Belgrade for the purposes of the public administration of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Next came the Department of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Belgrade city museum, public health department. And they were all housed in amazing soviet era architecturally designed buildings that were incredibly impressive.

Anyway, we did eventually make it to St Sava Temple which again, blew our socks off. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava (son of the dude with the big statue opposite our hotel), the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia. It was built on the location of St. Sava’s grave.

The next morning we were up and off to the 160 acre Belgrade Fortress. For many centuries the entire town existed within the walls of the fortress. It sits at the meeting of the Sava and Danube rivers.

As with all of Europe, the warring tribes saw this piece of land change hands many times over the millennia. The romans had their turn and according to wiki “in the period between 378 AD and 441 the Roman camp was repeatedly destroyed in the invasions by the Goths and the Huns. Legend says that Attila’s grave lies at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube (under the fortress)”. In the following centuries the fortress suffered continuous destruction under the Avar sieges. 

The name Belgrade was first mentioned in AD 878 by Bulgarians. The fortress kept changing its master as Bulgaria had it then the Byzantines and then Bulgaria again, in the 11th century it was given to the new Serbian state as a wedding gift. In the 15th century it was conquered by the Turks (with short periods of Austrian and Serbian occupation), but it remained under Ottoman Empire rule until 1867, when the Turks withdrew from Belgrade and Serbia. 

From the fortress you got a fair view of the Gardoš Tower or Millennium Tower.

It was built and opened in 1896 to celebrate a thousand years of Hungarian settlement in the region.

Within the walls is St Petka’s Chapel which was built in 1417 and was allegedly erected over a sacred spring. At one time it held the holy relics of St Petka. With all of the destruction of the fortress over the years, the exact location of this chapel is not known so a replacement was built on the grounds in the 1930s.

The amazing thing for us was that to visit and walk through the fortress and associated grounds was 100% free.

There was one odd children’s playground area with dinosaurs in it that had a small fee.

But as we did not want to play on the playground, we avoided that cost.

From the fortress, you spill out into the remainder of old town and the main tourist and shopping district of Belgrade. This part of town is full of funky old buildings with tons of character.

As you wander through you come upon the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel or simply St Michael’s Cathedral. This is a Serbian Orthodox church in the centre of the old part of Belgrade. It was built around 1840, on the site of an older church dedicated to Archangel Michael.

The Historical Museum of Serbia is currently in this building but it has been granted the building opposite our hotel (the old main railway station) as its permanent home and will be moving soon.

The Stari Dvor or old palace was the royal residence of the Obrenović dynasty (1800’s).

Today it houses the City Assembly of Belgrade. 

Novi Dvor or new palace was was a royal residence of the Karađorđević dynasty (late 1700 & 1800’s)

Today it is the seat of the President of Serbia. 

House of the National Assembly was built in 1936 and has served as the seat of parliament for the Parliaments of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and since 2006, Serbia.

For the most part, Serbia has been great. The food is good (if not exactly heart smart), the prices are reasonable, the beer is well-priced, and there is plenty to see and do (mostly without charge). I would certainly not hesitate in coming back.

The Golubac Fortress is somewhere that looked amazing but sadly (at about 120km from Belgrade) we could not get to. It was a medieval (fortified) town on the Danube 4 km downstream from the current town of Golubac. The fortress was built during the 14th century and has ten towers. Most of these started square but evolved to get many-sided reinforcements to accommodate modern firearms.


Austria is a small landlocked country that is bordered by Germany (northwest), Czechia (north), Slovakia (northeast), Hungary (east), Slovenia and Italy (south), and Switzerland and Liechtenstein (west).

With a population of around 9 million the country has a history that dates back to pre-roman times.


Before I get into the post proper there are two points that have jumped to the surface virtually straight away. Number One. We have massively underdone our timing for this place and will absolutely need to come back at some point. Number Two. One post is not enough for this city. As soon as we got to town and took a look at St. Stephens Cathedral we quickly realised that to do it justice this church warranted a post all on its own. Same goes for the palaces.

The first thing that struck us was the price. We can live again. Having left Switzerland where everything was obscenely priced, Vienna was quite reasonable, cheap even. Our beer price was cut in 3 and the food prices were similarly reasonable. Don’t get me wrong, we still probably paid back home prices for our meals, but we weren’t being anally probed every time we left our room.

Vienna has been called the “City of Music” as many famous classical musicians such as Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart called Vienna home. It was also home to Sigmund Freud (the world’s first psychoanalyst).

Vienna’s history dates back to the Roman era but most of what is there today came about under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia (1740 – 1780) and later Franz Joseph (1848 – 1916), who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture in the city’s centre.

St. Stephens Cathedral

This was the first sight that we visited and quickly realised that we were going to undercook this post. Originally built in the 1100’s and then further added to in the 1300’s this cathedral is phenomenal. Every wall, every aspect, every angle has a different story to tell. Built right in the heart of town, to say this place is popular would be an understatement.

The Hofburg Palace was the one time principal palace of the Habsburg dynasty. Smack Bang in the middle of town it was built in the 13th century and has been expanded several times since. Since 1946, it has been the official residence and workplace of the president of Austria.