Ascent With Sweet Provisions
No Mönchsberg visit is complete without a slice of freshly baked Baumkuchen from the market stall on Universitätsplatz: a hollow spit cake made from yeast dough, dusted with cinnamon and sugar. From there, the Wiener-Philharmoniker-Gasse leads – as you might have guessed – directly to Festival Hall. To my left is the Toscaninihof, so it’s time to take a deep breath and climb the many steps of the Clemens-Holzmeister stairway. A brief exertion that takes me right into the Mönchsberg region. The first breather gives me a view of the Old Town from the height of a church tower. There they stand in the smallest of spaces, magnificent churches, embedded in narrow streets and wide squares: the green domes of the cathedral, St. Peter’s Monastery, the slender Gothic tower of the Franciscan Church, and the Collegiate Church, like an image from a Baroque picture book. A wonderful, architectural confusion of eras that somehow forms a perfect unity and fills me with joy every time I see it.
Tranquility Between City and Nature
I am usually alone on this route, bar a few locals, sometimes residents or a couple of tourists. Most opt for the Mönchsberg lift to reach the top. And this is where the peaceful part begins, climbing the steep path step by step past houses peeping out from behind walls or wooden fences, bushes, and trees. It’s so quiet.