Published: July 29th 2012July 29th 2012
Day 20 - Vienna, Austria
Today was a short drive from Styer to Vienna, Austria. I little bit about Austria before I go on. Europe is distinctly different from North America and specifically Canada. People who have been to Europe will know this well. The people act very differently, usually they are speaking something othe than English, it is just very different. After some time in Europe, I find that I miss some of the things that I am used to back home, such as... eating dinner before 7pm. It is nearly impossible to find a good meal (other than Mcdonalds) before 7pm. There is some practicallity to this, it is usually hot, too hot to eat until 7. However, our Canadian stomachs do not often want to wait until 7. We have managed by grabbing snacks at stores when we see them. However, Austria, other than the German, is very much like Canada. First of all, the people are generaly courteous here. Second, they eat dinner before 7pm, at like 5 or 6, crazy.... I have felt very much at home in Austria, and I am slowly picking up this language quicker than I do others. It probably helps
having friends here, but I really feel comfortable in Austria.
Vienna is awesome. Syd and I are really trying to cram in as much as we can in our trip and we are usually doing the cities in 24 hours. When I was planning this trip I knew there were cities that I just needed to have more than 1 day in, such as Venice, and Steyr to visit friends. I really wish I had given ourselves a second day in Vienna. There is soooooo much to see in do in Vienna. We chose 2 pretty big things to do here today.
Our first visit was to Schonbrunn Palace. This is the summer home of the Austian Royal Family. The Austrians wanted to build a palace that would rival the beauty and grandeur of Versaille. I think they have accomplished this. The palace is amazing. It probably is not quite as impressive as Versaille on the inside but the outdoor areas are certanly superior to that of Versaille. I have been to both Versaille and now Schonbrunn Palace, without question I would recommend a visit to Vienna over Versaille. First, they are so similar in style, excess and
beauty, however, there are probably only a quarter of the people at this palace as there is in Versaille. One of the problems with Versaille is that it is packed. It really takes all of the enjoyment out of the experience when you are packed in to the palace like sardines in a can. In Schonbrunn is is much more civilized and pleaseant. You will see all of the lovely tapestries, antiquities, art work and extravigence that you would expect in Versaille without all of the chaos. It really was a wondeful experience. We took an audio guided tour, which I also recommend and we made it through the palace in about 1 hour without having to listen to a guide drone on and on about a single royal hairbrush. Very cool experiance. It is so cool to learn about all of the interesting history of Marie Antoinette and Napolean as both have had a major impact in Vienna. If I remember my history correctly Marie Antoinette was Austrian Archdutchess and was married off to Louis the XVI of France in order to improve poltical relations between the Austrians and the French. Of course Marie Antoinette becomes Queen of France
and comes to a brutal end at the hands of revolutionaries during the French Revolution. Napoleon also has history here as he took over this empire and made his quarters in Schonbrunn both in 1805 and 1809 or something like that. It seems that my adventures are taking me in the footsteps of Napoleon. :)
Our second visit of the day was just in the back garden of the Palace. This is where Schonbrunn has it over Versaille. Dont get me wrong, Versille has lovely gardens, and paths and ponds, and statues and is a great place to get away from the crouds. Schonbrunn however has all of this plus, an extravagent and unique greenhouse and the oldest zoo in the world. Now, I am not a big fan of zoos. I do have a problem with animals being locked up in cages when they probably would prefer to be out in the wild, I am just hopeful that this one only takes animals that are in trouble and would have dies without rescue. Regardless, we did go and visit the zoo....(5 MInutes later) OKay I just had to go and look it up and it does appear that
the number one goal of this zoo is the preservaiton of endangered spicies and is very sensitive in only taking animals that would have otherwise parished in the wild... I feel a bit better about this. We saw so many cool animals. We saw giraffes, rhinos, seals, flamingos, and monkeys of many varieties. The lemurs were by far the most entertaining. Sydney is really giving me a hard time to buy here on now... like that is going to happen. We rushed the visit a little in the zoo as it started to rain, but we will not be complaining because it is a nice reprieve from the heat. The zoo was orginally built as a royal display for friends and family in the 1700's.
The transit system is very cool here in Vienna. There are lots of trains and it is very easy to get from one place to another. Or food today was somewhat of a disappointment. We were sort of forced into eating at McDonalds again and that was a mistake. We ordered these things that are like popcorn chicken... I like to call the chicken Mc Popcorn...they suck. Our dinner was also equally as bad.
We were tired so we grabbed noodles and chicken from an Edo Japan type place called Green Express. Very gross. I am still hungry. Boooooo. On a positive note, the receptionist here at the hotel is very friendly and I have no desire to draw a Hitler stach on her lip. She helped us with maps and such and was super helpful....yeah Austria. Booo Hitler.
Tomorrow will be a visit to the old town of Vienna and off to our next destination. This one will be a bit interesting because after I planned, and paid for all of the hotels, I fount out that I am not allowed to bring this rental car into that country. What we are going to do is pack an overnight bag and leave the car in Vienna overnight and take a train in tomorrow. I will let you know how that goes.
There are more photos below