Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Some parting thoughts on Vienna.

If you are interested in "relics," this place has a few. Inside Peterskirche are the remains of one martyr I believe to be St. Benedict the Martyr (R.C. Galley readers may know better). He is encased in glass on a side altar wearing his vestments but you can see through the gaps his rib cage and his leg bones. His face is covered by a mask, which I am not certain helps his appearance as you are now looking at a skeleton with a face (and eyes looking right back at you). Inside Mariahülf, right on Mariahilferstraße, lies the body of a female martyr bearing no name. She is actually sitting upright behind the glass altar, wearing a crown that sits atop a wig of long, dark, brown, curly hair. She has on a white mask and is clad in robes. Again, was this to make her look better or creep out parishioners (if there were any parishioners)? Meanwhile, in a side chapel inside Karlskirche dangles a finger in glass. I assume this too belongs to a saint or martyr but alas there is no indication whose finger it was. Besides the relics (speaking of which, an excellent site clarifying what defines a relic can be found here), over at St. Augustine's Loreto chapel you will find more than 50 urns containing the hearts of Habsburgs long gone. (Near the entrance are amazing sculptures of mourners on their way to the vault.)

On a much lighter note, we went to a trendy restaurant, Fabios, around the corner from Stephansdom. On the chalkboard behind the bar are printed all the drinks they serve, including Caipirinhas and Mojitos. They also make Cosmopolitans--I asked the bartender who drinks them: "Mostly married women," he told me. "Ever since that show Sex in the City came here, that's all they want to drink."

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