Published: October 5th 2006October 5th 2006
us on train
We departed Prague in drizzling rain, although still not too cold yet. We did a "dummy" run at Pra train station the day before leaving to purchase our tickets and so we would know where we were going when catching our train. Even still, we had a few moments pf mild panic when we arrived to depart.
Appears they dont put up the departure platform until a few moments prior to train leaving. Toss in sheer bedlam, squilloins of people running to see if they can get in your way, nothing in English and dozens of platforms to choose between!
Eventually, Wien came up with Platform 6 so we took a punt. (as did a few dozen other confused Americans, Btits, Japanese, Irish and other odd sods!
We made it!!
Even though we booked and reserved 1st class seats (not being snobby, its the ONLY way to go by train in Europe,) we still had limited luggage room and were lucky to get our bags up on a rack. Others had to do with the aisle.
We got pretty good seats, foward facing and qiute comfortable with a table between us and a nice Japanese couple facing us.
B & B
Stadtnest B & B Wien our room on 3rd floor above reptiles.
we super polite and we nodded and made "small talk" thru hand signs for 3 hours. Near our journeys end, the J chap politely in very good English asked me if I could take a photo of him and his wife!! (she, also not bad English as well)
We then both bought a beer from the dining car and swapped our photos and related travel talk until Vienna.
He gave me his business card and it showed him as a Managing Director of a very large engineering and manufacturing firm based in China. She, (very nice) apparently was NOT his wife, but they had secretly met overseas and were travelling around together.............
There is a funny story I would like to tell about the dining car on this train but in case our cross Atlantic friends read it and take offence, will leave it for a BBQ yarn when we get home...'nuf said!
Due to rain on the train trip down didnt see much scenery until the rain cleared near the Austrian border where we were treated to some lovely little villages, hills, bridges and country side.
Vienna station a complete contrast to Prague. Very efficient, signs
street next to Stadtnest B&B.
in German and English, clean and some nice lunch bars and orderly pedestrian traffic.
We got a taxi straight to our B&B, which is located right in the heart of old VIenna.
The main shopping street, the Mariahilfstrass, is only half a block away and is very upmarket, modern, wide and extremely long, packed with every shop you would expect. The clothes shops are beautiful. Mary tells me she needs a new coat.......
Our B & B is an appartment up on the 3rd floor of an extremely old building but there the old bit stops. Run by a very efficient lovely young lady ( "C" person, Sally) she owns and manages her place in an almost perfect manner. The decor is beautiful, clean to surgical standards and EVERYTHING is natural, recycled, herbal, homemade and NEW! We are very happy here.
Today we visited the Schönbrunn Palace, the former home of Empress Elizabeth and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. The palace gardens are superb with magnificent flower gardens and acres of intricate walking paths and fountains. (Jeff, this is the ultimate gardeners job) hundreds of immaculately pruned trees and shrubs, millions of autum leaves just falling and lots
No respect for city fathers in Wien.
if little tractors and carts to drive around.
Highlights of these gardens are the ancient Roman ruins and marble arches, fountains and statues, still all here in good nick.
We had a very nice lunch with a REAL GOOD cup of Cappa and yes, I'm dobbing her in, Mary got stuck into the apple strudle and cream. This was in a roman style cafe situated at the top of the palace gardens hill with super views out over all Vienna.
Its pointless to go on with meaningless descriptions of places, so instead, am going to try from here on to type less text (takes too long ) and to try to post more pics, hoping that the pics tell the story!!!
OH! by the way, in case havnt mentiond it before, we read all your comments and e mails, but responding is not alwys possible. Internets vary and we have had a few glitches where we have been typing a long entry only to have the bloody computer shut down and lost the lot!
This one is FREE, in the B&B, but it is very late as we have to share with the other guests. Pics sometimes
view from front entrance.
take ages to upload but we ARE trying. ON that note, have a look gack at some of the previous blogs. We are attempting to post some additional photos s we go along if time permits.
After the Palace today we went to the Wiener Prater (Vienna Luna Park) for a ride on the famous big Ferris Wheel. (Riesenrad)
If any of you (over 50´s ie,) have ever seen the 1940s movie "The Third Man" staring Orson Wells, you will know what I mean. The views of Vienna from the top are breathtaking.
Went out for dinner last night to a little local ristorrantri next door to our B&B. Had a local Austrian dish in an Italian restaurant, run by a German speaking Indian who served us in Italian and gave his orders to an Austrian waitress who couldnt speak English. The music playing in his restaurant was The Best of Johnny Cash! We had a great night.
Tomorrow we intend to see more Vienna sights catch up with a few of those lesser known mussos like W.A. Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Strauss and if time do a river trip on the Blue Danube. Then, if time, a
bit of late shopping on the "Mariahilfstrass....Mary wants a new coat!!
Saturday we sadly leave Vienna, as we only booked here for 3 nights. We dont know where we will go from here but our landlady is looking up some places for us. We want to see some snow soon so may head off up into the Alps and some nice sounding scenic places she has described to us south of Satzburg.
If you dont get any blogs for a while after this it is because we are in a net free zone. Hope that wont be too long.
Herzliche grüsse aus Wien.
There are more photos below