It is very unlike us to travel at such a cracking pace. We like rest days between busy days but this was an exception as after a late night we were up at 6am getting ready for our day trip by bus to Vienna.
It had not really been in our itinerary until we realized just how close Vienna was to Bratislava. In a way we were dreading it, because it felt overwhelming and exhausting but it was too good an oportunity to visit such a famous city that we had never visited before.
Vienna is only 1 and 1/2 hours away from Bratislava by bus, stopping at Vienna airport along the way. The Monday morning bus was fairly full with weary ice hockey fans travelling back home after the World Championships final on the Sunday night in Bratislava.
We were dropped near the Main train station, Hauptbahnhof, and we strolled the short distance to the centre.
The architecture and scale in Vienna is undeniably impressive. I joined a walking tour through the museum, parliament and Palace areas which also took us to Mozart's house and the famous St Stephens cathedral and Sacher Torte cafes.
Thanks to my upbringing
with my mother's fabulous cake baking I was familiar with the famous cake and from my memory of her cake she certainly could rival the Viennese bakers.
Vienna has also exploited the fame of all its renowned composers along with Mozart and Strauss offering recitals at every turn.
There were famous and elegant museums, parliament buildings and palaces that we could have explored inside but with so little time an overview was our best use of the day. I couldn't help but think how the poor tax payers of the days must have suffered to serve the extravagance of the time when Vienna was remodelled by the Habsberg Royalty and churches with no regard to what it must have cost.
We also saw the balcony that Hitler stood on proclaiming Austria to be a member of his "Third Reicht" in front of 200,000 cheering Austrians. The walking tour guide explained that years later, after the war, no one would admit to ever being there. The reminders of what Nazi Germany did to the Jews is every where in Eastern Europe and spreads patches of darkness and sadness over much of the beauty for me.
After all the crowds
and the magnitude of the inspiring architecture we enjoyed sitting by the lake in the beautiful city gardens. Thankfully the rain stayed away until about 5pm when we retreated to eating cake in a cafe before wandering back to the bus station with our umbrellas (more wet socks) detouring via the Belvedere Castle and gardens just before they closed their gates.
We were on the 7pm bus back to Bratislava.
More Photos follow below .....
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