Roman ruin at Schönbrunn Palace

This artificial ruin, built in the Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in 1778, is an example of a sub-genre that is having a strong effect on my imagination of late, that of the anticipated ruin. Parisian painter, Hubert Robert, probably invented it as a way of reflecting on the rise and fall of civilizations and empires. Modelled on the ancient Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, the Viennese ruin features in the pool two figures representing the gods of the Rivers Danube and Enns.

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, Vienna, Austria

Positive Vienna

Positive because I used a slide film, which makes a positive instead of a negative. Glittering Vienna here.

On my last day in Vienna, while strolling around the district of Leopoldstadt which is a little off the tourist trail, this gentleman unexpectedly appeared from the left and ... I'm so glad I captured him and his extraordinary hat!

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Vienna, Austria

Glittering Vienna

Oh, Vienna! One single late afternoon walk around the Innere Stadt had me smitten with the city! In no particular order these are the things I loved: the luminous red of the Austrian Airline's uniform; my very central hotel; getting around it on foot; coffee in all shapes and sizes; umpteen Italian gelato parlours; majestic caryatids and astonishing doorways; rococo interiors; Annatorte at Demel Chocolatiers; Sacher torte at the Café Sacher; the elliptical staircase with iron wrought rail I came across while looking for the restaurant's toilet (where is a camera when you need one?); the Imperial palaces and art galleries - it lashed down four out of five days so I got to spend a lot of time in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Palace, Albertina, The Kunsthistorisches Museum, Belvedere, The State Hall and St Charles Church.

I was amused by: waiters mixing tapping (my contact less card) up with tipping; an Italian gelato parlour translating chestnut into moron (the German word 'marone' for chestnut might have confused them) and cone (as in ice cream cone) into cornet; bird chirping played as background noise in restaurants' toilets.

I didn't like at all the widespread rudeness. Waiters were ill-mannered and unpleasant in too many occasions, with the Café Gloriette in the garden of Schönbrunn Palace really taking the biscuit! I also disliked the mushrooming of Starbucks - I am in no way a coffee snob, but I find that these and other chain outlets make no sense in the city which has elevated coffee culture to an art form!

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Vienna, Austria

The State Hall in Vienna

The State Hall of the Austrian National Library is one of the most beautiful historic libraries in the world. It was commissioned during the 1720s by Emperor Charles VI - represented as 'Hercules Musarum' in the larger-than-life marble statue you can see in the photo below right - for his Court library. The walnut bookcases lined along this 77m-long and 14m-wide library hold around 200.000 books from 1501 to 1850.

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: The State Hall, Vienna, Austria

A unique view at close range

If you find yourself around Karlsplatz in Vienna and don't suffer from heights, it is well worth entering St Charles Church and taking the lift to reach the top of a 32-metres-high scaffolding tower that was erected in 2002 for the renovation of the church's interior but is still there and open to the public. You will be asked to pay a ticket  - revenue from tickets sold is used to finance other renovation projects - but the close-ups you will get of the dome paintings are certainly unique. If you then feel adventurous and climb up just an extra few flights of steps, you will be rewarded with a view of the city as well.

As the church is dedicated to Saint Carlo Borromeo the huge frescos represent the glories of the Italian saint. They were painted by Johann Michael Rottmayr during the second half of the 1720s.

The church's interior, with its use of all the different lighting conditions, is a most spectacular example of the Baroque style. In one of the two large chapels on the sides of the central aisle it is possible to admire 'The Assumption of Mary' by Sebastiano Ricci. It is a pity I didn't manage to capture the brilliance of its blues and reds!

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: St Charles Church, Vienna, Austria