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Published: September 30th 2010
It was about a 3 hour drive from Salzburg to Vienna and this ride was much easier. Emily was on much better behavior!
While Dan and I returned the rental car the day we arrived in Vienna, the girls did some research on what we should do the following day. They came up with some great ideas. We would take a 3 hour bus tour of Vienna which included a guided walking tour of Schonbrunn Palace on the outskirts of the city. In the evening, we were to attend a concert.
Once again, out hotel was perfectly located in the center of old town Vienna. Old town is circled by a street called the Ringstrasse, which was built in the mid 1800's. Vienna in German is Wien (pronounced Veen, or as Jens told us, Vienna without the na). We were within easy walking distance of many, many huge, beautiful old buildings. All of them built by the Kaisers or emperors of the Austrian Empire, the Hapsburgs.
The Hapsburg family dynasty began in the 10th century and ended with the conclusion of WWI in 1918. The last Emperor was Franz Josef and he ruled for over 50 years. His
wife was Elisabeth of Bavaria, known by the nickname Sisi. She was quite interesting. Very beautiful and extremely vain about her beauty. Sisi traveled incessantly and was quite the eccentric. Newspapers published articles on her fashion sense, diet and exercise regimens, passion for riding sports, and a series of reputed lovers. She had very long hair down to her ankles and she mainained a 20" waistline! She refused anyone from photographing her when she got older. She was killed by the knife of an anarchist assassin in 1898 at 60 years of age.
The bus tour didn't stop very often to get a good look at the buidlings we were passing, but we did get to see them and at least learned what some of them were. The tour of Schonbrunn Palace was quite interesting. Schonbrunn was one of the Hapsburg summer palaces. It is huge!!! The gardens around it cover about 180 acres. The palace required over 2,000 servants on staff. As the guide told us all these things, you got a sense of what immense wealth they had. They had palaces everywhere. We think that Bill Gates is rich. I don't think he's close. At one time
there were 80 million people in the empire paying taxes to the emperor to fund these extravagances. The furnishings and paintings inside this palace are valued in the 100's of million Euros.
The Bus dropped us off at the Vienna Opera House, which turned out to be a littlle over 1/2 mile from our hotel. This gave us the opportunity to make our own little walking tour of many of the beautiful buildings and gardens along the way and unforunately I can't remember the names of most of them. With great sunny warm weather again, it made for a great afternoon. We walked around the Hofburg Palace which was the Capitol Palace of the Hapsburgs. The palace and grounds were once again humongous.
After returning to the hotel for a while, we decided to take a walk and have a light dinner. Once again we found a charming sidewalk cafe named the Cafe der Provinz and had a very relaxed meal. We then prepared to go to the concert. We guessed it was time we got a little culture! It was held in the Auersperg Palace, which was a most beautiful setting for a concert. The concert was
a performance of Mozart and Johann Strauss music by a small chamber orchestra. Dancers performed to several of the songs. Soprano and a tenor singers also performed and the soprano girl blew us away. This was a wonderful way to spend the last evening of our trip together.
The trip was wonderful in every possible aspect. Most of the people we met were friendly and helpful. And these people sure love to enjoy a party. The weather was fantastic. And we got a nice taste of many different places. As with any trip like this, we wished we could have spent more time at many of the locations. Each place was so very interesting. There is just so much to see and do. Tomorrow morning we begin our long journey home, flying from Vienna to London and then off to Chicago.
It was time to say Auf Wiedersehn to these lovely countries.
I forgot to mention about driving on the Autobahns. Marilyn and I split the driving and whan not in the cities it was quite easy. It took a while to get used to their different signage, but it wasn't too hard. It was
pretty cool to cruise legally at 85-90 mph, around 140 kmph. We had the Opel running about 105 mph at stretches. When in the left lane you had to makes sure you checked the rearview mirror often. A lot of cars can come up pretty fast when they're doing 130 or so! I never got a chance to rent a sports car to go faster. Maybe next time.
Tot: 0.045s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0075s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb