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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 48.22, 16.37
We waltzed into Vienna after a three hour train trip from Budapest. Found our way to the hotel and had time to walk into the centre to renew aquaintance with this attractive city. We were here in 2004 though staying further out. Our hotel is opposite the Stadtpark at the edge of the first district. The park is an oasis of greenery and is a popular spot for locals. We found our way to St Stephen's, the towering church at the heart of the city. (Those Inspector Rex fans would recognise it immediately) It is being cleaned and renovated at the moment so is covered with scaffolding. After our reccy we returned to the hotel to meet with our tour group. Once again, there are 39 in the group and this time 35 of them are Australians!! At the meeting, Piotor, our guide reminded us, "We are not on holiday we are on the tour" and therefore most mornings the wake up call will come between 6 & 7. We went back to a restaurant we had been to last time. However, we had had a late lunch so just shared a Pizza.
We started out the next morning at
7-45am. The early start was so that we could get ahead of the crowds at our first stop, Schonnbrun Palace. We were the first group which gave us space to see the place. This was the summer palace of the Hapsburg family, particularly under Empress Marie-Theresa. It has over 1,000 rooms and she needed the space as she had 16 children. The main reception room was similar to the main hall in Catherine's Palace. The wood carvings coated in gold leaf were dominant, and the ceilings were painted in allegorical paintings. During the war remarkably this place was almost untouched and of course it has been extensiveley restored. We wandered through the many rooms and admired the elaborate decoration of the main sitting rooms. The best feature of the palace was the gardens. These were extensive. There was a huge gravel driveway leading to a large fountain and monument at the end. Nothing as spectacular as Peterhof but pleasant for all that.
From the palace we returned to the centre of the city and drove around the Ringstrasse which circles the city centre and along which all the major buildings are situated. We went past the Opera then the Winter Palace.
The most impressive building is the Parliament which is in Neoclassical style with a huge statue of Athena at the front.
We alighted behind the Opera . We then went across the road to the Albertina Museum. They advertised a special exhibition, From Monet to Picasso. We couldn't resist. The exhibition lived up to our expectations. This had been a private collection that had now been willed to the museum. There were some great paintings included; a Waterlilies from Monet as well as two or three other works, Cezanne, Signac,Sisley. then on to Post Impressionists and Fauves like Matisse, Kadinsky etc and through to Chagall, Picasso and Braque. After enjoying this we explored the gallery and found that it was once part of the Winter Palace and the State rooms were displayed. Some of these contained old masters like Rubens, Michaelangelo and Durer. Well worth the visit!!
We walked back to Karlsplatz to see St Charles church then stopped at the Naschmarket. Here were many cafes and market stalls. This is where the ordinary Viennese come for lunch rather than the tourist spots. We enjoyed wandering through the stalls looking at the olives, cheeses, meats and fruit and vegetables. Had lunch at
a Vietnamese cafe which was excellent.
We wandered back to the hotel through Stadtpark. This contained a golden statue dedicated to Johann Strauss as well as being a pleasant place for people to relax and enjoy the sunshine.
That night we took the optional dinner at a Viennese Restaurant. This was Niky's Kuchlmafterei (Lucy please translate!!) We had a lovely meal there with stuffed quail as the main course though the large, blonde maitre d' would have made the Nazis quake with her demands for us to tell her our order!!!
All in all we had enjoyed our day in Vienna seeing some different areas of the city from the last time.
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