Vienna, a city of Music and Palaces, Austria: May 2012

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We arrived late in the evening but had arranged for a driver to pick us up at the same rate as a taxi and were at our Apartment in no time. Baekerstreate 10 was our address just around the corner from St Stephens catederal. It is very spacious, modern  and only 2 flights up

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The next morning John’s first job was to find a shop or two to get supplies but since it was Assumption Thursday all the big shops were closed so we had a late breakfast at Zanoni & Zanoni a local institution that was choc a block and really good value. 2 Eggs with ham and herbs for 3 euro, and an coffee with brioche, ham and cheeses plus fresh Orange juice for 3 euro 60, all up less than $10 to fully feed the two of us. The Aussie dollars buys much more in Austria than in Holland..


It’s is a very cold morning and the crowds are flocking to St Stephen’s Cathedral so we join them inside but decide its too manic so will visit later as it is just around the corner from our apartment.

The temps stayed low all day around 7 deg so we went back indoors and ventured out later to The Cathedral and also bought some Tickets for a concert the next night at The Palais Ausberg for a Mozart and Strauss chamber Orchestra concert.


Since it was so cold and windy we jumped on board the hop on hop off bus and took a tour around the city taking in the sights in warm comfort with running commentary, those buses do have a place at times.

Lunch was calling and we were told that the best Schnitzel was served in our street at another Vienna institution ” Figjmuller ” and the schnitzel was awesome, bigger than the plate it is served on and we could only eat half of it so we wrapped the rest to be used for lunch tomorrow .
We did the full loop around the Ringstrasse which is where the old city walls were until The Emperor pulled them down in 1850 to expand the city, and expand it did on a massive scale over the next 60 years.
There are abundant Parks and so many Palaces, museums, concert halls, town halls, parliament buildings etc that it is overwhelming and it is all within reasonable walking distance from the centre of the old city, unlike Paris which is spread out over a much bigger space.

That afternoon as Ann had a nap John went exploring and crisscrossed a fair area with map in hand and came back with some interesting places to revisit
One of the favorites was the Fissel Palais Arcade which was a gem.


That night we stayed in and rested our full bellies and sore feet plus the temps were getting lower.

Day 2 and it was off to the Schonbrunn Palace just on the outskirts of modern Vienna which was the Summer Place of The Hapsburg’s for over 300 years and it has evolved over that time into one of Europe’s finest. Ann has sat through the Andre Rieu dvd at the Palace many times with her mum, so she had a laugh to be walking around it and took lots of photos for Patty B.

We first toured the Gardens first, as our ticket was timed for 12.30 entry and John climbed o the Top of The Glory or Panorama Terrace which looks back at the Palace from a high vantage point, whilst Ann enjoyed the people watching of the many visitors in the gardens.
The Palace was everything you would expect from a Royal Palace of Austria and obviously they were trying to outdo Versailles and the St Petersburg Palaces of the Russians but in the end they just all went a bit insane.


We got the bus back to town the long way and took in more sights before alighting at The Opera house .
Tonight we were going to The Concert at 6.30 so we allowed plenty of time to walk up through the main pedestrian Plaza Craben and Kohlmarkt to Holgurg Palace, The Heroes Plaza, the Museums Quarter to Ausberg Palace. On the way we stopped in at Peterskirche An amazing Baroque Church just off the main drag.

The Concert was from a Chamber Orchestra with 2 dancers and 2 vocal soloists, Good B grade performers according to Ann but entertaining none the less in a beautiful Baroque Palace Concert Hall setting perfect for the occasion.


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Afterward we strolled past Parliament to the Rathaus where they were practicing for the big ” Life Ball ” a massive aids awareness Concert on the next night.

We dined at the fabulous Cafe Central, an old 19th Century writers haunt in the Fenstel Palace that was so atmospheric and also had great food as well.



We meandered back very slowly and enjoyed the milder night to take in the city lit up at night.


We had a full day out planned so started off with a walk to The Jesuitan Kirche before the Modernist 1906 Post office designed by Otto Wagner, it was like buildings designed in the 1920’s onwards and hard to believe it was before WW1.

Then off to the museum of applied arts in a stunning building from 1860 that houses some exceptional works including some Klimt and other Secession painters as well as a sensational furniture exhibition from the 1800’s through to today.

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The next stop after a lovely light lunch in Museum garden Cafe was a tour of The beautiful Opera House which was well worth it not only for its design features but for its History and interesting facts from the tour guide.





More walking first to The secession building and then the Naschmarkt a vibrant open air market place that is about one km long with 3 aisles of food venues and all kinds of market stalls.
We took in the sun with the locals at The Burggarten next to the Holburg Palace and enjoyed a drink and a light dinner on the terrace of the Palm Haus before wandering the streets for the last time.




Our last day in Vienna and we still had more to do so once packed and breakfasted we got
a taxi To The Intercontinental Hotel and dropped our bags off pending our later booking in for The Cruise.

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We walked up to the big Karlskirche built after the Plague ravished the city around 1715 and stayed for a while during Sunday Mass before starting on our last Palace “The Belvedere”.


Another edifice to the great and powerful built from 1714 for Prince Eugen of Savoy with a sensational Art gallery that houses many Klimt masterpieces including “The Kiss ” no photos allowed.20120523-235530.jpg
A nice lunch on the terrace and a walk around the grounds and it was time to join The Plebs on the Danube cruise.

We all met at the Hotel and talked to a few other guests and checked out what was ahead of us. We boarded the bus to The River and boarded around 4.30, settled into our stateroom as they call it and unpacked as the storage was excellent for such a small space and rested the feet before the orientation at 6 pm. Dinner was at 7pm and we joined the throng for what was a lovely meal and nice company with an English couple and the youngest couple on the boat from The USA.

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