More Mozart..

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jun 18, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Saturday, May 17, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
-  Did the Rick Steve's self guided tram tour from his book which gave a quick listing of the highlights of the city.
- Did the Rick Steve's self guided walking tour and then walked around Vienna ourselves... saw the sights like Opera and St Stephens Dom and the statues of Mozart and Strauss.
- Visited the Imperial Apartments and heard the story of Empress Elisabeth. The story was interesting and seeing the knife that was used in her stabbing that lead to her death was kinda freaky.
- One thing that annoys me about this town are all the people dressed up as Mozart that keep bugging you to buy concert tickets. Man they are annoying... as bad as the Africans in Rome who annoy you to buy roses and crap.
<Lang's Extended Version>
After a long travel day yesterday, we woke up and headed to the local bakery across the road for a pick-me-up coffee and pastry.. I had booked an apartment for our stay here in Vienna and it's spacious and comes equipped with a kitchen, so no breakfast included.. Not that it mattered as it means we can chose what we wanted.. ;)
After breakfast, we caught the underground to the Opera to catch the tram that runs a loop around the city. Rick had a self-guided tour that we could follow from his book which gave us a quick overview of the city.. It really felt like Munich on steroids, minus the beer.. They had similar underground and tram systems, a main shopping strip, gardens and parks around everywhere and also a grand residence that use to house the emperor and empress of the day.. The people even spoke German!
Nevertheless, after doing a full loop of the tram in about 30 minutes, we hopped off to do the self-guided walk in the inner ring. This covered some of the main sites including the Opera, Sacher Café - yes, where the famous Sacher torte was invented, Stephansdom, a huge gothic church right in the centre of the city and of course the Hofburg or Imperial Palace.
Walking by all these famous sites, we were hassled continuously by people dressed up like Mozart trying to sell us concert tickets to see an opera playing Mozart and Strauss classical hits.. Strauss was the guy who came up with the famous Viennese Waltz and a local home boy. We stopped once to see what the deal was about and also to see how much they were charging.. Good old Rick had forewarned us that the people who organise and played in these were amateurs and only catered for the tourist market (yes, I know that's exactly what we are, but still!), so we continued on.. BTW, the cheapest tickets were 29 Euro..
At the Imperial Palace, we were going to purchase tickets to see the Sisi Museum and Imperial apartments, and saw that they had an English tour at 3.30, an hour and a half away, so decide to head to the local park to people watch.. We've come to the stage in our trip where we're now just happy to relax and watch people, rather than be on the go and see anything and everything like in our first few weeks... Is it museum or gallery or church burn out? Maybe..
So we sat in the park and just relaxed, Brian relaxing enough to fall asleep for a little while.. =P
The tour lasted just over an hour and it was interesting to learn about Empress Elisabeth, also affectionately known as Sisi.. She was married to Emperor Fran Josef at 17, spent her years traveling, hunting, and exercising to maintain her 20" waistline, even after having 4 children. It was interesting to also discover that she was also a drug addict, shooting herself up with cocaine after her only son committed suicide at age 30.. However, she was assassinated at age 60 with a knife to the heart. The actual murder weapon was on display and was kinda chilling to see..
The next part of the tour covered the Imperial Apartments, where you saw Franz Josef's and Sisi's private rooms as well as the dining and audience rooms where the Emperor saw anyone who needed help or wanted to meet with him.
Our ticket also covered the silver and porcelain collection, so we had 15 minutes before closing time to check it out. We pretty much wizzed through the collection, what's so interesting about knives, forks, plates and table settings?? Not a lot really..
We strolled around town for a little bit more before stopping at the Supermarket to pick up a few things. Since we had the kitchen, we decided that we'll cook tea tonight, rather than go out again.. So we ended up with some chicken, pasta and salad that night and enough left over for tomorrow night too..
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