On the road: Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, Days 7-8

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Let me pick up the story of where I was a few days ago: I was traveling across Europe with a group of Astronomy readers to see sights of astronomical history and walk in the footsteps of Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe. Our journey had taken us to Stuttgart and Weil der Stadt, Germany, to see the birthplace and museum associated with Kepler, the Mercedes-Benz Museum, and the Carl Zeiss factory and museum, producer of super-high-quality optics.

Vienna’s Urania Observatory was established in 1910 along the Vienna River, October 28, 2011. David J. Eicher
We traveled on to Prague, Czech Republic, and witnessed an incredible array of historical places there, including the residence of Kepler, the city’s famous astronomical clock, and Tycho’s tomb. There, my spare time for blogging about the trip seemed to run out as we met more and more people and the trip became more and more hectic!

On Thursday, October 27, our group traveled to Vienna, Austria, and I delivered a talk on the bus about the latest advances in astronomy and cosmology and where we stand on the universe’s “big questions.” Arriving in Vienna, we toured the city and got a great overview, just as we had the first couple hours in Prague. What a beautiful place this city is, home of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian empire.

Friday the 28th brought lots of activity in Vienna. We traveled to Urania Observatory and met our astronomer hosts, Hannes Richter and Daniel Imrich, who showed us this historic facility. I lectured on meteorites at the observatory, and we used the scopes to view the distant steeple of the famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which we also explored in the old town section of the city.

We then visited the great palaces of Hofburg, where the royal families lived and ruled the empire, and Belvedere, an assembly of structures that were used as palaces before becoming home to great art collections. Several of us then went on to one of Austria’s greatest museums, the Natural History Museum, where we saw thousands of spectacular meteorites and minerals on display, among other natural wonders. What an incredible collection it is.

We had a traditional Austrian dinner at the Viennese Heurigen (wine bar), a celebrated and historic institution on the city’s outskirts, and — as my friend Brian May encouraged me to do — sampled the Sachertorte (chocolate cake) that is one of the city’s famous creations. And it was pretty, pretty good.

The next day our group departed for Salzburg and Munich — and I will continue the report tomorrow!

 

To see pictures from my trip so far, check out the Astronomy.com Trips and Tours page

Related blogs
On the road:
Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic

Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, Days 1-4

Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, Days 5-6

 

 

 

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