Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
182Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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What I did
Afterwards we went to the Hofburg Imperial Apartments. The ground floor held an incredible collection of dishes used to prepare and serve meals for the royal family and guests. We loved all the copper pots, fish cooking pans, menu samples and tea kettles. From the items used to prepare the meals, we continued on to those used to serve them.
Once we finished on the lower floor, we headed upstairs to the Imperial Apartments themselves and the Sisi museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures upstairs which sped things up considerably! The museum had an interesting collection of items from Empress Elizabeth’s (Sisi) life and explained about her marriage to Franz Joseph I, her life as a reclusive Empress and her eventual stabbing while on holiday. We thought the apartments were incredible and admired all the furnishings.
We then headed over to the Vienna opera to wait in line for standing room tickets. Our guidebook had told us that they went on sale 80 minutes before the performance and if you were there early enough you could stand in the parterre section and be right at eye level with the stage. We decided to try it out and see "La Clemenza di Tito". Our tickets cost a grand total of 4 € each and we filed in with all the others. We found a spot at the rail and stood there while the lady explained that you should tie something around the rail to mark your spot.
We woke up to even more snow today and decided we were glad we had more indoor sights to see. We stopped off at Schönbrunn palace to take a few pictures while it wasn’t raining. We didn’t wander around too long since it was rather grey and cold, so not ideal for wandering the grounds. The palace itself was closed for the day so we planned on returning later to see the inside.
We then wandered back down the main street towards the opera. We stopped along the way for a frankfurter. You can get them “hotdog” style which means they take an enormous bun, put it on a special machine which hollows it out and warms the bun at the same time. Then they pour in ketchup & mustard if you want and stuff the frankfurter inside. We decided this was a much improved method for eating a hotdog since there is no way for your fingers to get all gooey with ketchup and it doesn’t drip out the bottom! They were delicious and we returned the following two days as well. Anoop decided he was still peckish so we wandered over to the kebap stand where he had enjoyed a kebap box the night before. He asked for the same thing, thinking his German was much improved and was surprised when he was given a kebap in a pita instead… We figured he asked for a box and they heard “brot” for bread instead; it was tasty anyhow!
We then headed back to the Vienna Opera house since we had decided to see a modern ballet there and try out their 8€ seats. We were on the 5th level towards the right hand side. We couldn’t see what was happening at the rightmost of the stage, but didn’t mind since we could then watch the orchestra. The ballet was made up of four smaller ballets and we quite enjoyed them. Our favourite was the last one as it was a comedic piece and very well done.
We headed in to town and walked past the Opera, with lots of "Mozarts” trying to sell you tickets to various evening shows. Bypassing them, we walked over to the Mozart statue and admired all the various poses of the tourists while waiting for them to clear out. We headed in to the Kunsthistorisches museum which has the Habsburgs’ collection of artwork. We set off to admire the highlights of the collection while bypassing some of the styles which we were not as fond of. We particularly enjoyed the works by Bruegel.
We then continued on our walking tour while making our way over to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or as the locals call it, Stephansdom. It had a beautiful roof done in different coloured tiles. We only went in to the non-paying part since admission was quite pricey and we’ve seen some rather incredible cathedrals so far. We walked around the outside and admired the architecture. Once done, we stopped off at a mini-sandwich shop which was mentioned in our guidebook. Anoop picked up two to try out as a snack.
We then headed off to the Opera once again. This time we opted for the 3€ standing room spots on the top level. We decided that the view was good even though we were really high up and we enjoyed a bit more room beside and behind us since there was more space between the rails in the higher levels. This time I remembered to keep my scarf with me so we could reserve our spot. We went to the “Barber of Seville” which we had seen in the spring in Vancouver. It was fun to see a different production of it since the costumes and sets were different. It was just as much fun as we had remembered and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening.
We returned to Schönbrunn palace to explore the grounds and the inside. Schönbrunn was used as a summer residence by the Habsburgs and it was huge. There were 1441 rooms, but we toured about 40 of them. The royal apartments were quite amazing and we really enjoyed seeing the various ways in which they were decorated and furnished by the various rulers.
We then headed to the Imperial Furniture Collection. Since palaces were only furnished when they were being used, there was a huge depot of beds, chairs, desks, hat stands etc. When a palace or room needed to be furnished for guests, orders would be sent to the depot and whatever was needed would be brought out of storage. Now the museum houses exhibits of rooms furnished in various styles as well as what the depot could have looked like when actually in use. I started working my way through everything while Anoop zipped off down the road to the store to exchange his sandals.
We then continued our visit at the Ancient Instruments and Armour museum as it was part of our ticket and we felt that even a quick visit was better than no visit. We saw a neat collection of old instruments with many experiments also displayed. The audio guide was neat because you could listen to descriptions of the instruments as well as listen to clips of several of them being played. We continued on with the armour collection and were amazed at how intricate some of it was.
As it was our last night in Vienna, we decided to take the Ring tram and head around the town at dark to see the various buildings lit up. The “rathaus” or town hall was particularly impressive. The square in front of it was filled with stalls being assembled for the Christmas market starting at the end of November. We thought it would be a really neat spot to have a market and could imagine all the yummy smells coming out of the booths and wandering past all the items for sale.
We then headed back to camp feeling rather exhausted by our day, but content to have seen so much! Vienna was an amazing city and we would definitely go back to explore more.