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Published: September 11th 2018
Our last full day in Vienna was dedicated to Schloss Schonbrunn.
In order to get there, we decided to take the Subway, and were carefully instructed as to how to get there without having to switch lines, which was a very important factor to us even though it required walking to a station further away from the hotel.
Needless to say, we were completely dumbfounded once we got to the station about the, supposedly, simple task of buying whatever ticket we needed for the ride.
We were so frustrated that we were about to give up on the whole idea and just pay for a taxi ride when a gentleman approached us and offered his help. In no time at all we had our tickets, were in the right side of the platform, and were even given advice about our visit. For example, he recommended that we got off at the station following Schonbrunn Station, which was a nicer approach to the palace through the gardens. It was an advice that we really appreciated later, as we enjoyed the beautiful grounds from that direction, which we might have missed otherwise.
I have to say at this time,
that just about everyone we encountered in Vienna was friendly and helpful. We expected rude people, mostly because the taxi driver who took us to the Budapest Rail Station warned us about them, but then he also told us to be careful of gypsies at the station and we never saw even one!
We took the grand tour of the palace, which covers 40 of the 1,441 rooms of the palace. Photography is not allowed. I wish I had been able to take some of some of the rooms. The building itself looks almost plain, and it does not reflect the style inside. They rooms were all luxurious, but some were almost too elaborately decorated, even for the rococo style. However, there were many rooms that were exquisite and many had very personal details of family members. Unfortunately, even though it wasn't the height of the season, it was still crowded which impeded being able to take the time to view some areas. It's hard to take much time looking through a door when there are other twenty people waiting their turn.
Afterwards we took the mini train which goes around the grounds, or at least some of
them. We were informed during the ride that the grounds of the palace are almost as large as the principality of Monaco! But we didn't complete the whole ride. We found that ten minutes was not enough of a break to spend at La Gloriette so we stayed behind and took the foot paths down again when we were finished. The view was too pretty to rush through it.
I enjoyed the walk down, and viewing the grounds from different levels. The Neptune fountain, for example, was a landmark I would have hated to miss.
We did ride by the building that housed the bathrooms of the palace servants. I believe staff was about 500 people. And also by the building that was the station for the private train of Franz Joseph.
One other memorable stop was the Palm House, the beautiful building that houses three separate greenhouse environments. The collection of plants was impressive and it was remarkable seeing them inside the amazing architecture of the building.
The whole thing was an unforgettable experience. Not so memorable was the bottled water I bought without realizing that it was from the artesian well that was used
by the court, but it tasted terrible!
Should I even mention that the return train ride proved to be another dilemma? It wasn't hard to get a ticket back from a real person instead of a machine, but we could not understand why we took a direct train there, but we had to change trains on the way back. Eventually, we figured out that we had left from one station, but asked for a ticket to the station closer to the hotel. Eureka!
With some time remaining in the day, we decided to take a closer look at The Rathaus, which I consider one of the most beautiful buildings. Unfortunately, it was under renovation and surrounded by construction equipment. Getting to an area that provided a good view of the building was not possible. I was only able to take a few photos of bits and pieces.
Afterwards, we decided to return to the hotel and have dinner at a restaurant near the hotel that served traditional Vienna food. It was a bit of a disappointment in spite of being one of the most expensive meals of the trip. Oh, well! We probably should have stuck to
the original plan to visit the Naschmarkt, but we really were exhausted.
But, the excitement of the upcoming trip to Prague was coloring everything in a rosy tone, and we could not wait until the next day to get there.
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