In the footsteps of the emperors

Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
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Trip End Jul 19, 2012


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Flag of Austria  , Wien,
Thursday, January 1, 1970

What a day we had. After a fun evening wandering around a magical Vienna at night, everyone woke up refreshed and we had a wonderful breakfast at Meininger Hostel. Everyone was happy with the accommodations, and we enjoyed fresh Broetchen for breakfast. The students quickly figured out how to negotiate the (in my opinion very user-friendly) subway system of Vienna. I am sure they are ready for the underground transportation world of Berlin.
On Saturday morning, the speedy trains carried us to Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn was the summer residence of the Habsburg emperors, and the family portraits of Empress Maria Theresa and her many, many children provided plenty of evidence of her time at the palace. The splendor and style of the many, richly decorated, rooms in the palace were an impressive sight to behold. Students had their personal audio guides, and were able to stroll through the rooms at a leisurely pace while we listened to the curation in English. we meandered through the room where the last Austrian Emperor abdicated in 1918, and where a six-year old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once played for the Empress.
Once we finished the tour of the palace, we toured the magnificent gardens of Schoenbrunn.
Taking advantage of our glorious surroundings, we stopped to eat our bag lunch, which the folks at the Meininger Hostel had prepared for us. Even for heat-tested Virginians, the temperature was very warm and humid. We kept moving nevertheless we kept on marching. A swift ride on the metro brought us back to the Hofburg Palace grounds, where we stopped frequently to admire the grandiose architecture of the imperial city, and, since a visit to Vienna would not be complete without a stop at St. Stephan's cathedral, we took time to admire the gothic splendor of the sacred place of worship that has graced the city center for hundreds of years.
After our visit to the city center, we split into two groups. Group one travelled across the city by subway and tram to visit the Austrian Military History Museum. A place graced with the motto "War belongs in the Museum" (a somewhat late and ironic insight, considering Austria is a fraction of its former size), the "Heeresgeschichtliche Museum" proved to be a wonderful surprise. Not only was the building a structure of great beauty, the contents were absolutely astonishing. Among the collections that stretched over 800 years of military history was the car that the famous Austrian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand sat in when he was assassinated, as well as the uniform he wore when he died. The rest-as they say- is history.
A second group went to the Art Museum with Frau Mades:
Although we were only three, we were well- matched. Donyae, Emily and I absolutely adored the Klimt murals that were on display and Donyae got some wonderful ideas for her IB art project from all the famous and incredible works of art. After we had been totally overwhelmed by all the art we stopped for ice cream and further discussion of art. We had a lovely time together, feeling out over art!
After all of this splendor and culture, we made our way back to the Meininger Youth Hostel. From there, we set out for some Austrian Food. Several of us chose the "Wiener Schnitzel" as a fitting choice for our last dinner in Vienna. A group of us went on to enjoy some truly delicious ice cream creations afterward, before turning in for the night.
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