On a recent pre-sea shipment arrival morning we decided to follow one of the “walks” in a prominent travel guide, promising us a former medieval complex in the core of the elegant city of Vienna. It all sounded picturesque, so off we went.
A lovely boutique appeared through an archway.

We emerged from the archway to see Schottenkirche, a centuries old church that had been redecorated in the Baroque style (hence the former medieval complex).

Very pretty interior.

The whole of the area was filled with Baroque mansions with sculpturally-adorned facades our guidebook suggested we explore, which all pretty much looked like this…

…and excitedly highlighted this 18th century building as the “chest of drawers house.” It didn’t impress the children.
The walk from this point took us through Freyung Passage, the lone highlight of the walk.  The “Freyung Square” was once a place of sanctuary; now the fountain mermaids delight shoppers and cafegoers who stroll the corridor.

The passage was pleasant to walk through, and although I was tempted to spend many Euros at the French market, I realized that I had not brought my shopping trolley and had little desire to hand carry my purchases home. I will learn.

In part, the children agreed to this walk to see the Hermann Gmeiner Park with its whimsical playhouses. Or so said our 2012 edition guide book. We were naturally disappointed, then, to not see any houses. Or anything whimsical, for that matter. A little research later uncovered that the houses had been removed several years ago. Guess the intern who edited our guidebook didn’t check that entry. All in all it was a pretty ho-hum sort of walk.

Fast forward to today and our daily dose of sightseeing. While visiting Schonbrunn a few weeks ago we found a just-perfect “Vienna City Guide for Children” for Anna Grace containing fun city walks with interesting themes. Today we chose the “Saints and Monsters” walk that began near Schwedenplatz.

The Jesuitenkirche, the interior of which my guidebook described as “gaudy.”

Certainly we’ve never seen swirled pillars before, but, gaudy?

 Loved the ceiling!

From Jesuitenkirche the tour moved through an arguably less than aesthetic Gasse (although some of the graffiti was interesting)…

 …past the Alte Schmiede haus (the old silversmith)

to Schönlaterngasse, a street with pretty lanterns to keep the streets lit at night…
…because in a deep well beneath Number 7 lived…

 a basilisk! Whomever looked at its face would perish!  One day a brave lad held a mirror to the basilisk’s face, and, voila!  The basilisk was vanquished! A niche along the street tells the story well (and we assumed the lad would win the fair lady’s heart, of course.)

After all that drama it was time for quiet. The calm Heiligenkreuzerhof (Holy Cross Court) offered just what we needed, frolicking angels and all.

Moving through the court we found ourselves on Fleischmarkt, no longer the butcher’s street but not without interesting sights.

Jungendstil, Vienna’s fresh approach to design from the turn of the century. There are lots of Jungenstil designs around the Naschmarkt–another tour for another day.

 And the Griechenkirche, the Greek church in what was formerly the Greek merchants neighborhood.

Near the end of our tour was Griechengasse 9, where cannonballs remind people of the Turkish siege.

Saints and monsters!  Light-hearted and fun! Too bad there’s only five walking tours left to investigate in the book.