Vienna, Austria

Trip Start Jul 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Friday, July 22, 2011

Today we left Cesky Krumlov and the Czech Republic and headed for Vienna, Austria. We really enjoyed the Czech Republic. The people were really nice, the food was delicious, and the sites were beautiful. Driving out of the Czech countryside and into the Austrian countryside, there was a noticeable difference in the landscapes. Although both had rolling hills, farmlands, and small villages scattered about, the Austrian landscape just seemed a bit more beautiful (perhaps partly due to not being behind the Iron Curtain, as the Czech Republic was?).

We crossed the Danube River a few times along the way and stopped in the towns of Melk and Krems. In Melk, we saw the famous Melk Abbey and strolled around town a little bit. We didn't stay long. We had lunch in Krems, dining al fresco, which was nice. We also stopped at a roadside stand that was selling apricots and other fruits. This also gave us an opportunity to walk down to the Danube River and enjoy the views.

Upon arriving in Vienna in the late afternoon, we were challenged getting to the hotel, as it was right next to a pedestrian zone and on a one-way street, which did not allow us to turn toward the hotel. Finally, we pulled over and I ran up the block to the hotel and they said it was fine to bring the van up the street (the wrong way) to check in. That was good news! Steve B. was very happy to hear the hotel would take care of parking the van for us!

After settling into our rooms, we headed out into the pedestrian area of Vienna. It is a very lively area, with a lot of street performers (most of which are very good and a joy to listen to). There were a number of small classical music groups we listened to, in addition to a choir that was really good. I especially liked it when they split up and weaved their way through the audience while they were all still singing! I should also mention that there was a homeless man there trying to become part of the act by helping to conduct this choir (the choir and the real conductor simply continued with the show).

For dinner, we had "fast food" unlike any I have had before. I believe the place was called Nordsee and it was all about seafood and sides to go with it. It was cafeteria style and I had salmon with boiled potatoes. Everyone agreed the food was good and we were amazed that the food was so good and fast at the same time.

To put the exclamation point on the evening, we wandered over to the world famous Sacher Cafe to sample the just as famous Sacher Torte. It lived up to the billing!! It's a very rich chocolate torte with a layer of apricot filling inside and a hard chocolate frosting outside. Paired with a nice cappuccino, it's a fine way to enjoy dessert. I think the table had three Sacher Tortes, an apple strudel, and a cheese strudel. Dad chose to skip dessert, which wasn't easy to do given what the rest of us were eating.

Tomorrow, we explore Vienna a bit more, see the palaces, and enjoy a classical music concert in the Golden Hall. Should be a fun day...
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