We arrived in Vienna, Austria on day five of our twelve day trip, still excited and telling ourselves “we’re really here.” I snapped a couple of photos before my camera screen said “battery exhausted.” Neither of the two adapters worked in the Prague sockets on days one to four. But I did catch a nice photo of the thousands of blooming tulips in Stadparkt across from our very nice Hilton. (I will save the adjectives for this hotel for my TripAdvisor blog).
The hotel was close to the transit system, park, and central downtown area. It was about a half mile to St. Stephen’s cathedral, the Albertina, and the largest Swarovski store in the country. I must say that those three sites need to be on your list of must see’s. This Gothic and Romanesque cathedral dates back to the 1100’s. The limestone has absorbed the soot and pollution of hundred’s of years giving much of the stone a black facade. It’s on year five of its restoration to it’s original cream color.
We caught the U-bahn or U right around the corner and took a quick trip to the baroque Schonbrunn Palace, home of Maria Theresa, the only female queen and ruler of the Habsburg Empire and mother of Marie Antoinette. She had sixteen children in twenty years through two wars and commented that if she weren’t usually pregnant she would have gone into battle herself. Tough woman. The other woman of the palace was Empress Elisabeth who was as stunningly beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor in her twenties. Outside of the palace there were several small wood buildings set up for Easter Market selling everything from Viennese coffee, varieties of thick Bavarian pretzels, easter eggs in glass, beaded, wood, cloth and everything in between.
It was getting pretty cold and beginning to rain so we beat it back to the U and went home to change before leaving to one of the opera houses in the park for an evening of classical music. Vienna is the home of Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Strauss and Hayden. You can’t forget this with the numerous busts and statues dedicated to these genius composers and musicians (I’m sure I forgot a couple also). We missed the Vienna Boys Choir by two days, but the evening of classical music was enjoyable.
The Albertina and Belvedere are art museums you can wander in for days. An exhibition of Picasso’s and Monet’s were at the Albertina and Manets, Klimt’s, and Monets at the baroque palace.
Besides the gorgeous architecture, beautiful gardens and classsical music, there is time for dining. I don’t know how the Viennese brew their coffee but it is the very best. Their desserts of apfelstrudel (applestrudel) and tortes are just as good. But you can skip the Sachre Torte from Hotel Sachre, dry chocolate cake from rude waiters (our friends told us, I had the torte before, like chocolate dust).
And Schnitzel is everywhere, and not too bad if you like breaded meats. But I liked the bratwurst sausages in five different flavors with the most refreshing beer I’ve ever had: Grosse Radler. It’s like lemonade beer.
Oh, here’s the last photo I snapped before my camera died. The famous Lippizaner horses were coming back from their morning workout. It’s mostly their backsides, much like our own as we cantered back to our hotel after a full day of site seeing.