Trip Start Jun 09, 2006
Trip End Jul 24, 2006

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Flag of Austria  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

Well off to Vienna, off course the flight was delayed and we actually landed in Bratislava, so technically I have been to Slovakia even if it was just the airport. We finally got to the hostel and to bed at about 230 in the morning, but at least we are now travelling

Vienna is as charming and beautiful as I expected, the building and architecture is amazing. Our first stop was Anker Clock at noon, it plays songs and has major historical figure that move around (see video). We then went to the imperial Burial Vault, very ornate, it contains most of the Hapsburg family one of the great royal families of Europe. We then went into St. Stephens cathedral, and took a tour of the catacombs, lots of bones and crazy tombs. Then for the horse drawn carriage ride, Fritz and Freda were our horses and that was fantastic, we pretty much saw all the city highlights and didn't even have to walk. That afternoon we decided to go down to the Danube river, and ended up at the Copa Cobana and the Sunken City. Very cool, in the middle of the Danube its a bunch of restaurants and bars - very cool

Day 2
Got up early this morning and headed the Schrobrunn Zoo - the oldest zoo in Europe and all the building are of the baroque style. Had to spend the morning looking at animals, one of my favorite past times. In the afternoon we decided to head over to Upper Belvedre and stopped for lunch at a greek restaurant, in which we spent a considerable amount of time, drinking way to much wine. After lunch we went to the museum at Belvedre in order to see Klimt's - The Kiss - absolutely stunning. We then walked through the gardens to lower belvedere, and wandered through the city. That evening we had the Mozart concert with the string quartet. It was in a small house that Mozart lived in for a period of time, very grandiose but small and hot. So I suggested we sit out in the courtyard and watch the concert through the window. Now that was a fantastic and wonderful experience and even better being outside with the music echoing off the building. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Day 3
We decided to go to Hofburg palace to see the Lipizzaner horse practice. It was nice to see the horses, but it was packed and in all honesty a bit boring. So we then decided to go to the Imperial Treasury of the Hasburg royal family. It was crazy. The treasury has a bunch of big religious items - a handkerchief supposedly bearing Christs face, a thorn from the crown of thorns, the knife that stabbed Jesus, etc, etc. The jewels, however, were phenomenal, there was and 2168 carat emerald, and a huge opal - absolutely stunning. We then made our way to another museum, the KunstHausHistorices,tons of beautiful and amazing paintings. After lunch we went to another museum, the KunstHausWein, its the contemporary museum. There was a Giger exhibit on, that was great - he is the guy who created the aliens for the movie. The building was fantastic, they wanted it to represent the natural outdoors, so there are no sharp corners and the floor was uneven to represent the ground. We had a couple of drinks in the cafe and then headed over to Belvedre palace. We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around in the wonderful park and then in the evening went to Blue Flute marionette show. Its an opera using marionettes, surprisingly life like and very interesting.

Day 4
We decided to go to the Central Cemetary - it has many of the great composers graves - Strauss, Beethovan, Mozart memorial and Schubert. The Chapel was beautiful and the interior ceiling absolutely stunning. We were then going to go shopping, but unfortunately we are in Europe were most places are closed on Sunday. So instead we wandered around the city. We saw the Jewish Memorial to war, Freud Park and the Votive Church. We then went to Cafe Central were all the old scholars used to go and have intellectual conversations. We then found the oldest church in Vienna which had a famous Mozart memorial plaque. Spent the rest of the day lounging around, till we had to catch our overnight train. To our surprise it was the Orient Express, we had a six man cache and had 4 very nice Korean boys stuck with us. It was very hot but I slept better than expected and arrived in Venice at 10 am
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