On the train to Vienna — what a chaotic scene — a group of loud — (yes and ugly) women have claimed the first class car as their own. It is apparent they belong in second class car and here come the conductors to remove them. Immediately the smell and general atmosphere improve. We decided to move to the dining car and had a marvelous time sitting next to a couple from Kansas (Dorothy’s home planet). The chef and waiter just had a wonderful shouting match in Czech! I loved it and could not help myself. The dining car was full of English speakers so I pretended to interpret and said such things as: “stop bringing me all those orders, I want to sit down and have a cigarette! I can’t be cooking all the time!”
We have arrive in Vienna! We check into the Ibis hotel and rest a bit and off we go into the center of Vienna to the Hotel Sacher so that August can have one of his favorite things on the planet — Sacher Torte! We decide to have complete dinner here, rather than just the Torte.
We begin with Pikante Gujasuppe Czardus Furstin for August and Sacher – Gaseleber Torte for me with a bottle of Grurer Veltliner Kemser Regl.
Ending with one of the most famous dishes on the planet…………..The Sacher Torte!
We go back to our hotel after strolling through the streets for an hour or so. We are tired from out travels, but exited to be here. The architecture is so extravagant and beautiful. We look forward to our exploration tomorrow.
We wake early and prepare for our day. After breakfasting at the hotel (Ibis Hotels offer the most amazing breakfast buffets) Our first stop is the most wonderful and breathtaking Schonbrunner Palace (www.schoenbrunn.at). We tour and are humbled by the history through which we walk. We stand in the concert room , where at the age of 6 Mozart had his first public appearance with the Royal Hapsburg Family — amazing!
As we walk the palace grounds the majesty and beauty dwarf our very presence. The day is warm and we venture into a cafe on the grounds for sme refreshment and rest.
Back onto the metro to venture to the heart of the city to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The stone of the cathedral so finely carved that it seems to be lace stretched into the sky.
We wander the streets of old Vienna and visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace and enter St. Michael’s Church — we marvel that outside the doors are hundreds of people from all over the world walking the streets as like ants on a slice of sweet bread — inside this grand church built in the thirteenth century, filled with the most incredible huge marble carvings and so many chapels, I do not bother to count them, there are no people.
As we exit we move about the streets and stop at many a sidewalk cafe to watch the people go by and to take a refreshment. The buildings that surround us are works of art all in themselves.
We stumble upon the famous golden Strauss statue just 40 meters away from the Kursalon Wien.
The following morning we forego breakfast and hop the metro to explore the Danube. First we cross to the island to the marina area, which we find quite charming. We have arrived too early and all the cafes are closed.
We make our way, by metro, to the station in the center of the bridge over the Danube and disembark to admire the beautiful river.
Back onto the metro to the Naschmarkt, the largest of 26 permanent street markets in Vienna. We meander among the booths offering all varieties of fish, fowl, cheese, olives, produce, nuts and spices.
We stop at the sausage hut and enjoy some very fine sausage, bread, mustard and olives. We are surprised to find so many Asian and Turkish restaurants and vendors here.
We have an early dinner at the Vietnam Bistro and enjoy our spring rolls and pho. The owner is a very nice man who visits with us often during our meal.
We spent the evening sitting on the back patio of the hotel Ibis, enjoying a great Chardonnay from Venice that was only 2 euros at the grocery store! It has been a great stay here in Vienna, but now it is time to head off to Salzburg!