Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
IBIS Budget Wien Sankt Marx
What I did
Schonbrunn Palace and the giant ferris wheel

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Did not set the alarm but up after 0600, breakfast starting at 0700: coffee and warm milk, a nice bread with liver pate and a banana, leader Peter and I alone for a good chunk thereof.

Left at 0900 for the trip into town, Peter suggesting we get a 24H pass [worthwhile] 5.7 E. To the Stephensplatz for a quick overview of the cathedral. As a tour leader, Peter cannot guide so it is sometimes a fine line. A short visit inside. Always amazed at the ignorance of some dumb tourists, snapping away near certain areas inside a church where people are clearly praying.

Inside Demel's to see sacher torte, the dessert of Vienna, being prepared in the kitchen, a location duly noted for later by some of the group.

Strolled through the Hofburg Palace grounds, then past the National Library and the statue of Sisi [Empress Elizabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Jozef]. Continued past the Rathaus [city hall], the national parliament [the central block very reminiscent of the US Supreme Court facade], ending up at the Opera House.

Peter left us there and the female-driven effort to find some lunch venues failed twice, a flurry of maps on display. We eventually settled on a locals' place: good food but too heavy for lunch. I had the gratinated roast smoke meat dumpling a la Weldviertel along with a half litre of Goldfusel Special 15.2 E.

Don and I were Schonbrunn Palace-bound [another WHS, Roddy!] 13.5 E. Somehow while touring Arjan and Nathalie [from Ottawa] appeared. You could not take pictures inside but the audio guide gave some good context into the rooms and palace life. Krushchev and Kennedy met in the grand hall in 1961. The palace exterior is Baroque; most of the interior [done by Maria-Therese], rococo. Suffice to say the Hapsburg spent their palace money on the interiors by and large.

Up to a decorative addition up the hill called the Gloriette. Turning around, there was a decent view of the palace with the city behind it. It was a Sunday afteroon so many locals were on the grass, having a family day out.

Toronto Don wanted the sacher torte at Demel's and we got there in time 9 E. It is very rich and we certainly walked it off thereafter. Don claimed to have been at the giant ferris wheel the day before. Several map checks and his phone GPS got us there eventually. Must check the height of the ferris wheel. The units seemed like old tram cars. There was a nice little exhibition of the history of Vienna before seeing the city at night from on high 9 E.

On some subway platform four of the group suddenly appeared. Nathalie went with them as the boys headed out to find some grub, settling on the Hinterholz, a remote location [not roadside] but very traditional. Tried the putenspiesse or rooster kebabs, some local musicians doing some drinking songs in English. I think with Arjan and Don I have found my drinking soul mates for the trip.

Returned home, getting off at the Erdberg station but did not seem any shorter. There was a note from Jozef and he left his mobile number but too late to call. Downloaded the pix and little more before bed after 0030.

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