Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Danks in Europe | Vienna

Our last stop on our 9 day tour through Central Europe was Vienna, Austria.

Danks in Europe - Vienna
After our river cruise down the Danube, we got in around dinner time.  Mike and I stayed close to the hotel and walked to Zum Hagenthaler for spatzel and schnitzel, and crepes for dessert.

The following day we started early with a tour of Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs.  We started our day earlier than we had on any other day, and our tour guide was correct in suggesting we arrive as they opened.  We were the first people to tour the palace, and the gardens were almost empty. 

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As we were leaving, hundreds of people were unloading from dozens of buses, and it started to lightly rain, so we made it just in time!

From here, our bus took us around the Ring Road, a circular road around the 1st District which was built to replace the city walls.  We were dropped off and walked the 1st District and took in the sights like the Imperial Hofburg Palace.

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We also saw the Spanish Riding School and while the male Lipizzan horses were on holiday, the females and the young horses were making their way through the halls as we passed by.  They’re born black and gradually change to the famous white as they mature.

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After the tour we ventured through the city with the same couple we had been hanging out with the rest of the trip.  We stopped at Demel, the famous pastry shop and chocolaterie, which bears the title of a Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court (k.u.k. Hofzuckerbäcker), for espressos and strudel. We walked around and grabbed some lunch at a Würstelstand (sausage stand), more specifically Bitzingers Würstelstand Albertina. 

Bitzingers Würstelstand
I had the currywurst which is a bratwurst with ketchup (not American ketchup) and curry powder – so good!  We went back to Ring Road and continued walking around.

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Walking past the Vienna State Opera.

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Mike and I stopped to relax in Volksgarten when Vienna lived up to it’s reputation and it started to rain!  We waited for it to break, about 30 minutes, then walked back to Albertinaplatz and grabbed a hot chocolate and latte and people watched until our bus picked us up.

As this was our last night together, we drove into the Vienna Woods for a farewell dinner at a Viennese Heurige, or wine tavern.  Before making it to our dinner, we stopped on Mount Kahlenberg, a hill in the Vienna Woods that offers a spectacular view of the city.

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Das Schreiberhaus, the Heurige where we ate was a quaint restaurant, (maybe a little too quaint to fit our group of 38 with no AC) but the atmosphere and view from the outdoor area made up for it.

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We drank and sang and ate way too much food.  It was an bittersweet ending to our trip, and again one of the memories that Mike and I will never forget!

And, just like that our trip ended.  We had an early flight the next morning, and didn’t have any troubles until we got to our connecting flight in Paris.  We boarded the 747, and were forced to sit for 4 hours with no AC while they fixed a mechanical issue.  We had 8 1/2 hours of flight time after they fixed whatever was broken, but missed our connection in Atlanta and had to spend the night in a hotel near the airport.  We finally made it home almost 18 hours after we were scheduled to and was never so grateful to be out of an airplane!

Even with our travel issues at the end, Mike and I had an amazing trip, and I’ve already started planning where to go next!

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