Eastern Europe - Days 28 and 29 - Vienna

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May 31st 2009
Published: June 2nd 2009
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We left jubljana nice and early on Saturday morning for the long drive to Vienna. The drive itself was rather lovely except for the wee problem that it started to rain and really was rather cold. In fact it was so cold that when we got to the top of the mountains between Slovenia and Austria it actually started to snow. Yes that is right, snow at the end of May. First of all it was just raining really hard and then it started to sleet and then it finally turned to snow, just as the temperature nudged 3 degrees.

However once we hit Vienna things improved a little bit. The hotel that we are staying in is down by the river. However when we first arrived there it was still raining, so rather then venture outside in the cold and rain I decided to sit down and watch a movie on my laptop. By the time the movie had finished the weather had improved vastly. So much so in fact that the sun was actually shining outside. I therefore decided to brave the great outdoors and to talk a walk down the river. I must be honest and say that I was a little disappointed by the Vienna that I saw down by the river. It seemed a little unkempt and a bit rough. I was also surprised by the amount of grafitti that I saw. After having lived in Dubai for so long I really wasn't used to it. However the style of grafitti is totally different to that you see in NZ. It was positively artistic (check out the photos).

After walking up and down the river for a little while I headed back to the hotel to meet up with the Intrepid group that I would travelling with for the next few weeks. To my great surprise every single one of them is from Australia. There are 12 of us on the trip and so far 10 of them are from australia, me being the only kiwi and then the tour guide is from Slovenia. However there is one further girl to still join us, so she may be from somewhere other than australia. Finger crossed.

Today we started the day with a walking tour through the streets of vienna with our tour guide for the trip, Chris. We went past the major sights of Vienna, St Stephen Cathedral, The Hofburg, the Opera House etc. I came to Vienna about two years ago so I had already seen most of these sights. However it was lovely to see them again, this time in the moderate sunshine rather than in torrential rain. After we completed the walking tour we had a free afternoon in Vienna. I however couldn't go anywhere with anyone else in the tour as I had to run back to the hotel to charge up my camera battery, which I had just discovered had died a death. So after a quick dash back to the hotel I headed off to the Schonbrunn Palace to take a look at the gardens, which I had missed on my last visit to Vienna due to the torrential rain. These gardens were just lovely, but again after St Petersburg were a little disappointing compared to the splendour that we had experienced there.

After walking around the gardens for a couple of hours I headed off to take a look at the Carraige Museum. This is part of the Schonnburn Palace and is where the old imperial carraiges from the Hasburgs are kept. They have about 170 carraiges as part of the collection but only about 20 or 30 were on show. However the ones that were on show were just amazing. There were a couple of carraiges that were from around the 1700s and my jaw practically dropped to see them. They were obviously from the baroque era and were just beautiful (sorry no photos, you weren't allowed to take photos inside).

After visiting the museum I decided to head back into town to look around. I had wondered if I would see anybody else from the tour at the Palace as a few people were planning on heading out there. However once I got to the palace I realised just how silly that would be as there were just people everywhere. There basically wasn't a chance in hell that I would bump into anyone there. Which made it all that much more amazing when I bumped into Stuart, Annie and Susan (my roomate) at the train station leaving the palace. So we all headed back into town together and then headed off to St Stephens Cathedral where we took the elevator up to the top of the spire to take a look at the view of Vienna. We were planning on walking up the steps but we must have gone to the wrong spire. Which wasn't such a bit problem as I think all of our feet were pretty sore by that stage. After visiting the cathedral we were thinking about going to the opera house to buy tickets to the standing section of the opera for that night (well I wasn't thinking about it but the others were). However luckily the queue for tickets was very long when we got over to the opera house, so instead we just headed for a bar where we enjoyed some lovely wine instead.

Tomorrow we are off for a day visit to Bratislava.

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