Tuesday, October 7, 2014


On Saturday morning, Julie and I got up bright and early (or dark and early) as we had a car picking us up at 5:15am to take us to the airport for a 7:20am flight from Brussels to Vienna. Once we arrived in Vienna we took the CAT (City Airport Train) from the airport to the city center. When we were buying our CAT ticket, we were debating on whether or not to also purchase a 48-hour subway pass and fortunately someone else who was buying a ticket told us we should also purchase the subway pass. After arriving at the train station on the CAT, we jumped on the subway to our hotel. The hotel was not too far from the train station so it was easy to find.
We immediately headed to the Schonbrunn Palace which was within walking distance of our hotel.
It was a warm day - I think we both wished we had changed clothes.
The side view of the palace from the garden.
Playing around in the mirrors.
The maze - we were unsuccessful in getting to the center without taking the shortcut. We thought we had walked every path but once we got to to center we realized we missed a route.
Panoramic of the palace from the back.
There was a restaurant on the palace grounds so we decided just to eat there. We both ordered pumpkin soup which was amazing.
We then walked back to the hotel so we could shower and get ready for the opera. We were happy to see our luggage waiting for us at the hotel. When we arrived earlier in the day our room was not ready and the guy told us to just leave our luggage in the lobby.

Julie had bought tickets for the Wiener Staatsoper, aka the Vienna opera house.
Drinking a glass of wine before the opera started.
The view from our seats.
It was pretty amazing.
The cast of Manon, which is the show we saw. It was all in German, and initially I didn't realize every seat had their own personal translator screen if you needed it. Someone pointed it out to me after Act 1, and it made the rest of the show even better when you knew exactly what was going on.
The opera house at night.
Sunday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We took the train to the city center so we could figure out what we wanted to do for the day. Julie stopped to get some bread in the train station - lots of bread!
We then went to Stephansdom, or St. Stephen's Cathedral.

We took the train to go to the Freud Museum and as we were walking through that neighborhood we thought this sign was funny - Hollywood American Pizza. Because Hollywood is known for their pizza...
We ended up having pizza for lunch, but it was not Hollywood American pizza. We found a local restaurant instead, and there actually were locals eating there.
After lunch we headed to the Freud Museum, which I thought was very interesting.
I liked this quote - "If you want to endure life, prepare yourself for death."

This was at the Danube River. We took the train from the Freud Museum a bit out of the way so we could see the river. When we got off the train, we saw a bike rental (like the bikes available in NYC, Denver, etc.). My credit card worked fine and I got a bike. Julie's cards however were not working - she tried both her Europe cards and her US cards. So, after probably a half hour of messing with the machine, I put my bike back and we walked the river rather than riding a bike.
After the river and a wrong turn on the subway, we made it back to the city center and walked through this park.
We had a nice dinner on a patio before going to the Hotel Sacher for the famous Sachertorte. Since neither of us were huge chocolate fans, we did the Sachertorte and a Viennese apple strudel.

We concluded that the desserts in Vienna were not our favorite. The Sachertorte was pretty dry (although I think Europeans eat drier cake than we do in the states) and the apple strudel was cold. I was thinking it would be more like warm apple pie.

The Hotel Sacher is across the street from the opera house, and they have a live stream broadcast outside of the opera house. We stopped to watch the end of that night's opera show.
Monday was our last day in Vienna. We got up early and headed out to go the Leopold Museum. The featured artist was Egon Schiele - this is his self portrait. As you can tell, his art was a little different.

It was a rainy and colder day in Vienna so we decided rather than dragging our luggage through the city and trying to find lunch we would head toward the airport and have lunch there before our 3pmish flight back to Brussels. Vienna is a city I would definitely return to, and I had a great weekend hanging out with Julie.

We talked about a trip to the wine region of France for next year..let's see if we can make that happen :)

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