Sights of Vienna

The first Hop-on Hop-off bus was due at the bus stop on the quay at 09:20 and we made sure that we were ready and waiting. Our new Australian friend, Val, joined us for our sight-seeing today. Unfortunately this bus company does not have reduced prices for Senior Citizens.

Before I tell you some of what we saw on our 2nd day in in Vienna, I must tell you of one exciting thing which happened as we cruised down from Passau. We went through the first of 8 locks on the river between Passau and Budapest. Now that may not seem to be the most exciting thing to everyone but it was the first many of us had ever experienced. We had been told that the best place to get photos was the top deck so as soon as we realised that we were approaching the lock many folk headed straight for the stairs only to find that they were roped off. An announcement was then made to say that access to the top deck was not possible as the top of the lock was very low. Taking the photos through windows with a large part of the front of the boat in the way was not nearly as exciting or dramatic. What was amazing was the depth by which we dropped as we went down river or rose on return. This was anything from 8 – 15m.A Rosa in the lockIn the lockA Rosa height of lock wallShowing the height of lock wall while in the lock










As we left the quay the bus went across the Empire Bridge (Reichsbrücke) which we had walked along yesterday. This took us on Vienna Looking south on the DanubeLooking south on the Danubeto Alte or Danube Island which is the island developed by the Viennese to control the flooding of the Danube.ReichsbrückeView of the Reichsbrücke (Empire Bridge)

Besides being a wonderful recreational space and kms of beach there are a number of interesting buildings. The best known of these is the 160m high Danube Tower which is topped by an excellent revolving restaurant giving incredible views of the city. There is another building which we understood to house offices is a most fascinating shape. It has a glass facade and has unusual lines. We drove around a lovely park for children with lots of tulips in many colours. A wonderful sight to see.Vienna buildings on the island in the river

We returned to the city via the Empire Bridge giving us wonderful views up and down the Old Danube or Alte Donau. As we travelled down the main street into Vienna we had a brief and limited view of The Wheel which we had been told was a must to visit. We hoped to do so on our way back to the boat in the afternoon. While making our way into town Trevor asked the bus assistant where he could exchange some dollars into euros and was told that there was a place near the Opera House which was where the bus start and end stop is located. When we were there no one seemed to know just where it was. We didn’t have time to search as the bus to Schönbrunn Palace arrived.

Having just 8 hours to see as much of Vienna as possible we had to be a bit selective about which route to go. There are 3 routes by the bus company with some overlap. After some discussion we decided to go to Schönbrunn Palace on the outskirts of the city. It was a toss-up between the Palace or into the country. At first we hoped to do both but once again time was not on our side. Although distance wise, they were about the same and to go directly would take less than half an hour, but on this bus one has to do the round trip and it can take the better part of 2 hours. This did give us the opportunity to see much of the city to add to the trip.

The first part of the now 1441 room Palace was purchased in the 16th Century by Maximillian II, Emperor of the Roman Empire. It was to be his country house and hunting lodge. Over the next 200 years the Hapsburg monarchs extended and altered the Palace until it looked as it does today. First it was in Baroque style which was particularly favoured by the Hapsburgs and then into the Neo-Classical style as it stands today. We didn’t go into the Palace itself but spent almost an hour walking around the gardens which are stunning. There were tulips and other Spring flowers everywhere. But added to that were long avenues of trees lined with sculptures and on the top of one hill was a memorial and beautiful fountain.IMG 1598Palace gardens and war memorialVienna ent to Schonbrunn Palace 2Entrance to Schonbrunn Palace

By midday it was time to move on so that we would have time to see St Stephen’s Cathedral and the centre of the city. Once again a circuitous route was followed taking us about 20mins to get back to the terminus. It was at this point that we realised that going on the country tour was definitely not an option so we took the Red Line bus and alighted at the stop indicated for St Stephen’s. On the way we passed some beautiful buildings and parks. One of the places was a restaurant which is frequented by all the who’s who from around the world. They know, especially if they are from Hollywood or Bollywood, that if they want to be seen, this is the place. We could not see much of it as, like many other buildings in all of the places we visited, it was being renovated. I guess that Spring is a good time for this so as to be ready for the tourist invasions of June, July & August.

As we walked to the Cathedral we saw 2 very interesting sculpted murals. One was a sketch of the North District of Vienna in 14 86 and the other a sketch of the area, known as St Rupert’s as the Church of St Rupert which is the oldest church in Vienna is there, in 1683. The old church is no longer in use and a new St Rupert’s has been built.

Also on the way, we passed a bank and as Trevor was getting irritated at not finding an Exchange Bureau, he went in but came out rather quite quickly. They wanted 50% commission!! We decided to abandon trying to change our dollars into euros and just use the plastic money especially as Hungary and Slovakia would not freely accept euros. We then took time to admire St Stephen’s Cathedral which I will tell you more of in the next blog as this one is now too long. Don’t want to lose your interest as we had so many wonderful experiences.

Vienna Tulips Irises at Schonbrunn

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About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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