GES139 - Wien Cathedral, Austria
W!en, or V!enna for those not familiar with the proper name of the city, was the base for a trip with GE099 and myself. We had discussed it with great gusto for a few weeks, building up a list of countries and places to target. However, sadly the car rental companies of W!en were wussies, and wanted to charge us obscene amounts to drive into the likes of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. Does €50 per day on top of the daily rate seem a lot? So, after 4 hours cramped into a small gift shop with 2 computer terminals, we settled on flying to Beograde in Serbia. Where the lovely people at Nacional Car Rental, would let us drive into Bulgaria and Romania for the princely price of €15 total. This covered the price of a green card. And the price of the car was almost two thirds cheaper than Austria. Result!
Now free of worry about car hire, it was time to get back to the purpose of the trip, exploring. We were in W!en for one night, it was time to make the most of it. First things first, and a reccie of a target we'd heard GE005 had enjoyed, the central Cathedral, St. Stephans. A gothic, and wikipedia tells me, romanesque, lump of stone in the central district of the Capital. A mere 600 odd years old in it's complete form.
We had found several access points amongst the sprawl of scaff on the Cathedral, and were prepared for a night return. However we had to take care of another target first, it was going to be a long night.
GES138 out of the way, it was a long walk across the centre of town to the Cathedral and 'Action!' GE099 tried the first and more discreet access, but sadly no joy. The sheeting was too tight to bypass, and sat too close to the hoarding. It was then plan two, which required my superior height to peek over the hoarding in a different spot. All clear, I checked around and waited for the perfect moment and bounded over and in. Access was there no problem, so I waved in GE099 when he could find a quiet moment. There were some open windows directly above us, so stealth was required. Which is why it was painful as we both trod on a scaff board that had decided to be unnecessarily loud! The usual procession up the ladders, and we reached the top level. Finally able to look out at our night's second excellent view of the city. The Cathedral has an amazing roof, with tiles that reminded me of a snake's skin. Just like a snake I wanted to stroke and touch it. However it was to be out of reach.
180 degrees from the above shot, and one finds oneself with this view of the other end of the Cathedral.
Sadly what would have been a lovely view of the old central district of W!en was ruined by huge lights fixed on the roofs of nearby buildings. Sadly when these were planned, they didn't have explorers in mind.
The scaff didn't reach the top of the tower, and despite some searching by GE099, there appeared to be no way further up. Somewhere amongst the gothic stone masonary is the top of the Cathedral.
One of the many cool things one can enjoy when reaching these heights on a cathedral is getting up close to the gargoyles and stone work. From below you'd be pushed to appreciate these without a telescope.
Some heavy photoshopping, and it's possible to get somewhere near a pleasing shot of the Cathedral and surrounding area.
We descended down, and I tried a possible opening I'd spotted on the way up. I pushed aside the plastic tarpaulin and found myself looking at the bell cage of the Cathedral. Finally we were into the Cathedral's upper extremities. While I set about grabbing some shots, GE099 went looking for ways to penetrate deeper into the building. But as before, returned wanting.
After precariously climbing down, it was a chance to see a bell end up close. The last time I'd seen bells this close was in Brussels, and they had a habit of going off every 15mins. Thankfully these were silent.
Full height shot of the bell cage and ceiling. Feeling brave, I whipped out the P7 torch for a bit of helpful lightpainting.
Nothing much else to see in the bell tower, it was back out to the scaff, and GE099 was heading off down a cool little passage that linked to the front of the Cathedral,
Looking down onto the cities main square, there were some strange lights beaming onto said square. We were quite exposed here, so were popping up and down like meerkats.
A look back to the main cathedral, which they've interestingly covered up with huge photocopies of the cathedral behind the covering. As with the huge lights on the buildings nearby, I feel it pertinent to point out to the people running the place, that placement of scaffolding could have been better for explorers passing through.
And with that it was time to drop down to the ground and quickly walk off into the night. GE099 would turn down the advances of an amorous local, who had a distinct air of sophisticated inebriation about her.