Road trip to Vienna

Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Welcome to our road trip to Austria.  "Throw another shrimp on the barbie mate."  O.k. so I had to throw a little Dumb and Dumber quote in somewhere. 

Anyway, with our GPS back working, we didn't have quite as eventful of a trip as we did to Budapest.  We did, however, get stuck in an hour long traffic jam while driving on a two-lane highway in the Czech Republic.  As annoying as it was, at least we weren't lost this time.  When we did finally make it to Vienna, our GPS took us straight to our Holiday Inn.  From there, it was about a fifteen minute walk into the "inner ring" of Vienna, were many of the touristy sites are.  

As we were walking in to find St. Stephen's Cathedral, we spotted a Starbucks.  This is the first one I've seen since leaving Heathrow Airport in London. Forget about sight-seeing, forget about St. Stephen's, I made a bee-line straight for Starbucks.  My iced chai and chocolate chip cookie were wonderful. 

After getting my Starbucks kick, it was off to see the sights.  Our first stop was at St. Stephen's Cathedral.  We enjoyed walking around the church and looking at the pictures from World War II, in which the roof of the cathedral was severely damaged. While there, we also decided to take a tour of the catacombs.  I just have one word for this tour, creepy.  The tour led us underneath the church were it was divided into two parts, the old part and the new part.  The old part consisted of tombs of the former bishops and cardinals of the church.  The new part was a grave site for the general public where they stacked bodies on top of  one another.    We got to see all the bones while we were walking around in a dark cave.  I told you it was creepy. 

Following the catacomb tour, we went for something a little bit less gruesome and went and saw the Hofburg Palace.  This is where the Vienna Boys' Choir performs.  In this area, there are quite a few museums and statues.  As usual for us, we didn't go into any of the museums, but decided to keep walking around.   We saw some cool looking cathedrals in the distance and decided to head towards them. As we were walking, we ran into the 7th Annual Vienna Rainbow Parade.  With over 100,000 people along the parade route and people wearing all sorts of crazy outfits, it made touring the city a bit interesting.  While along the parade route we saw Fredrich Schmidt Platz, which is a nice looking building.  I'm not sure what it is for, but it looked neat.  We then continued on to Votiv kirche or church.  Even though it was under construction, it was still a pretty church.  We then walked back along the parade route to the hotel.  That night we had authentic Austrian food and I had my first wiener schnitzel. After dinner, we walked around the inner city again and were a bit disappointed in the night views. 

We spent most of the day on Sunday at Schonbrunn Palace.  But, before getting on the metro to go there, we peaked at Karlschurch.  This Baroque style church looks different than most of the ones we've seen thus far.  It was nice, but nothing spectacular.  We then jumped on the metro and went out to see Schonbrunn Palace, which is supposed to rival Versailles in Paris.  I can't compare it to Versailles, since we haven't seen it yet, but on first impressions, it was big and neat, but didn't compare to even the Louvre in size and beauty. We decided to take the tour of the inside, which I actually enjoyed.  They gave you an audio-guide, which was nice, so you could go at your own pace.  The inside was very extravagant.  Following the tour, we went out to the gardens behind the palace.  The gardens, with the water fountain and monument were nice.  We walked around for a while then decided to head back to the inner city again.  On the way to the metro, we saw some guys playing American flag football, which was cool.  Except, they were wearing tight little bike shorts.  No way that would fly back home. 

We still had some time to kill that afternoon and didn't know what else to go see.  All the guide books, showed this big ferris wheel.  We weren't real excited about seeing a ferris wheel, but didn't have anything else to do, so we ventured out there.  What a waste of time that was.  It was just a big ferris wheel, that was actually a part of a theme park.  I didn't think it was pretty or anything that special.  That was about all we saw. 

Overall, we thought Vienna was a nice city and we are glad we came to visit.  If you were into more cultural things like opera, classical music and museums you would probably really enjoy it here.  Since we are not real into the cultural scene, we found that Vienna just didn't have the Wow! factor that other cities have had. 
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