Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vienna - 3/24/09 and 3/25/09

I meant to post the two final trip entries many days ago, but this week really got away from me. And I'm leaving on Wednesday for another 2-1/2 week trip, so I definitely need to finish this up!

Some general notes on Vienna: gorgeous, very walkable, lots to do, museums are more expensive than Paris, restaurants are as expensive as Paris but the service is atrocious.

After a very uncomfortable night on the train to Vienna, we arrived at the station and began walking to our hotel. (One of the advantages of traveling light with medium-sized packs was that we could walk everywhere and see a lot.) We stopped at the first coffee house we saw. It was also an underwear store.

Once we dropped off our packs, we headed out to walk around town. I trust you are seeing the theme here with Ed and statue-posing. Be thankful I left out the one of (a fully clothed) Ed with a naked Greek in the Louvre. Here he is with Goethe.

We went past the opera house and then to Hotel Sacher, which was highly recommended by our Rick Steves guide (Best of Europe 2009). We greatly enjoyed the famous Sachertorte.

We are here at Hotel Sacher, where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference.

We rushed off to St. Stephen's Cathedral so we could look around before the daily Mass started. Here's the incredible pulpit.

The roof was also amazing.

After St. Stephen's, we picked up some famous chocolate at Demel before touring the Hofburg Palace.

Next we toured the Vienna Opera.

These are the seats at the Vienna Opera. By waiting until 45 minutes after the opera started that night (a tip from Rick Steves), we were able to score some free (used) standing room tickets at the very top for the sold-out performance of Lucia di Lammermoor.

We spent the evening relaxing at our hotel, which was far, far nicer than we expected (Hotel Pension Corvinus). We had a huge jacuzzi tub, separate shower, and a kitchenette. There was a grocery store nearby, so we were able to eat a few meals very cheaply.

The next morning, we ride the tram around the Ring road. Unfortunately there was an error in our guidebook that had us on a tram that took us about an hour out of our way. We ended up at Friedrich EngelsPlatz, which, if you know me, is pretty much the last place I ever want to be. But we managed to get back on track. Here is Athena in front of the Parliament building.

Here I am outside the national library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), just before our visit to the excellent Kunsthistorisches Musem.

We ended our visit with coffee and a snack at Cafe Schwarzenberg. The food was great, but our waiter was awful (as usual for Vienna). At the end, he made a point of telling us that "service is not included" in the bill. After we left, I said to Ed, "I'll say service is not included!!"

Then we made our way to a different train station for the journey east to Prague.

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