Taking the train from Budapest was very easy, and comfortable. I got a seat which was great, because there were many reserved, and only a few open, where people feverishly went up and down the aisles looking for a seat with their backpacks. Finally some settled for seats that showed the person would get on in Vienna and continue on to Switzerland, but others weren’t so lucky and sat in the food car hallway.
When I arrived, I got into a taxi and driven to the hotel nearby. Upon checkin, I got situated in my room and was excited to have a nice clean hotel room for a change. The balcony was great, and let me have fresh air in the room with CNN going with the Gaza saga, as well as internet. It was a good pause in my trip to get caught up on some things.
That evening, I headed out and checked out the grounds nearby of the Schönbrunn Castle, which was huge and expansive. Walking up to the top of the hill gave amazing views of the city below, along with the palace. I then went on to the bus parking lot to see if I could get on the hop on hop off bus tour and squeeze out an extra day by getting down to the center to explore tonight.
On my way to the bus, I did find that the palace was doing a concert that night that I could attend. After saying no, no to the price of $60 or so, I passed by a couple other times, and the price went lower, down to $35 :) Not being able to pass up a good deal like that, I decided to check out the orchestra production of famous songs performed by the symphony. Before the show, I went around and found dinner nearby and had a filling heavy meal.
After a relaxing dinner, I went back to the concert hall and enjoyed beautiful music played in a hall that was the site of Mozart’s last performance. It was amazing to be in this musically historic place, and I was excited to see what more Vienna had in store.
The next morning, I went on the bus tour that brought me down town so I could explore. I found the spot where the walking tours began, and explored a little before the walking tour. Finally, a group began to form around this little old feeble looking woman that was to be our tour guide.
As the tour began, she made me laugh because she had this attitude of wanting to tell us some interesting things, as if Mozart and Bach were her friends/peers, but also having that ‘I don’t give a damn’ mentality when crossing the busy streets with a gaggle of tourists feverishly trying to keep up with her.
Along the tour, I met up with another few Americans, and they were actually from Austin too! It was very random, so we chatted a bit and continued along the tour weaving us through Vienna’s streets where famous composers, and musicians all lived, worked, and played.
That evening, I went on another tour at the amazing Opera house. This was one of the best tours I’d ever been on, the woman doing the tour was amazingly fluid, knowledgeable, engaging, and brought us all around the opera house giving us insider information about the beautiful historical building. She was fluent in four languages, and gave her tours everyday in each.
That night I had a hankering for some sushi, so I found a nice Japanese restaurant and had a good meal–and it was all run by Japanese, so I got to speak too! That evening, I went for the Haus of music tour to learn more about the musicians who lived in Vienna, and it was a really great interactive museum. As I had an extremely busy day, I headed back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
The next day, I got to now do the full bus tour, and see some other sites of the city, and I explored some places that seemed interesting. I went into a beautiful old library that was stunningly perfect in its awe inspiring beauty of sweeping spiraling staircases, globes, rolling ladders, and the spines of books being hit by the light that came in from various windows above. I got some great photos of this.
That afternoon, I continued through some other museums like the Esperanto museum and the Papyrus museum, and enjoyed my day wandering the streets of Vienna. I had a wonderful visit to this beautiful city of history, and will definitely be coming back one day :)