How to do a billion things in one day - Vienna
Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
21Trip End Sep 12, 2012
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Another early morning exit out to see what is basically the center of Old Vienna containing most of the famous landmarks and huge pedestrian only areas and trams that make it a breeze to navigate.
St. Augustine's Cathedral - Austrian National Library - Hofburg Palace Plaza - Volksgarden - Austrian Parliament - Rathaus - Vienna Film Festival - Burg National Theatre - Hapsburg Silver Collection & State Rooms - The Albertina Museum of Fine Art - The Austrian Theatre Museum - Prater - Schweizerhaus Biergarten
Narrated by Shana
We were a bit worried when we realized that we would be in Vienna primarily on a Sunday and a Monday
Before going straight into the Imperial Apartments of the palace, we took advantage of the weather and made a full tour of the Hapsburg's grounds. Going through the Volksgarten, we passed by Parliament and headed to the city hall, called Rathaus. We were drawn in by the sound of live jazz, and found a huge projection screen set up in front of the Rathaus where we learned it was the last day of the Vienna Film Festival. The courtyard was filled with every type of food stand imaginable and a jazz band was playing "Satin Doll" on a stage in the center
While no one in Europe has adopted the "flight" or "sampler" concept of our bars back home, the woman helping us let Andrew try a couple different brews before buying. She spoke English very well and told us about the Ottakringer Brewery and the famous beer gardens of Vienna. I had a Radler Citrus beer, which is a combination of light beer and lemonade, surprisingly refreshing (although our bar maid scoffed at its froufrou-ness), "If you want to drink beer, drink beer. If you want to drink lemonade, drink lemonade."
Moving on from lunch we enjoyed a view of the National Burg Theater and jumped on a "ring tram" back to the start of the palace for a tour through the Hapsburgs' kitchen and dining wares and the personal apartments of Franz Joseph and Sisi. As we had already seen Sisi's rooms in Venice, some of it looked familiar but the scale and grandness of the palace still puts everything else to shame. The dining china, silver and gold alone filled twenty rooms and a scale model of the Hapsburg grounds made you realize how truly massive and impressive the palace was and remains.
From here we went next door to the Albertina Museum which houses some fantastic exhibits as well as permanent collections including Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec
Prater, while home to the "famous" beer garden Schweizerhaus, is also home to a permanent fairground for children with every kind of amusement ride imaginable. After getting a little lost amidst the roller coasters and cotton candy, we found the huge beer garden and nabbed a table outside. I had another lemonade beer while Andrew enjoyed the "house" beer (which was actually the Czech Budvar) which the bartenders expertly poured with a head of foam at least five inches high, rising above the lip like swirls of whipped cream.
We shared our first wiener schnitzel with pickled potatoes, cucumbers and cabbage and enjoyed people watching among the locals, tourists and many dogs that populated the patio. While content enough to withstand your presence, the Viennese people do not seem interested in chatting up visitors, probably due to the constant barrage of daily tourists the general lack of English skills from people who don't have direct interactions with tourists. Despite having no one to talk to besides ourselves, we enjoyed our beers and headed home for some rest before attempting to take on two more palaces the next day…