City of the Hapsburgs

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Apr 11, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Thursday, April 5, 2012

   We started the day with a bus tour of Vienna. We saw the Ringstrassse,  lined with palaces and grand residences around the Inner City. We were standing next to the Spanish Riding school when they brought ought some of the Lipizzaner horses after their exercises and guided them across the street to their stables. We saw the Plague Column. Many other columns like this where erected all over Austria after this one. The purpose of these columns was to celebrate the end of an epidemic or plague. In 1679 a wooden column was erected right here, it was replaced some years after (1693) by this one. We had coffee at one of the coffee houses near St. Stephan's Cathedral, looked through some toy stores and had a nice lunch on the ship. 
    In the afternoon, some of us visited the Schloß Schönbrunn (from the brochure) "a part of the World Cultural Heritage and Austria's most visited sight. This Baroque synthesis of different arts, consisting of a palace and gardens, has been in the possession of the Hapsburgs for centuries, and is today largely in its original historical condition." We couldn't take pictures inside the castle, but the surroundings were opulent, to say the least. We saw 40 of the 1400 rooms. There was a lively market going on outside the front gate, so we strolled around, admiring the crafts and foods and taking pictures.
   In the evening, we went to a concert of Strauss and Mozart music at Palais Auersperg, where Strauss and Mozart had both composed music. Mozart was there when he was 6 years old, and later when his opera, "Idomeneo" was performed to a private audience. We were very crowded, but the surroundings were romantic and the music of Mozart and Strauss, performed by the Wiener Residenzorchester, was awesome. The concert mistress played a Stradivarius violin made in 1760 which had top billing in the introductions.
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