boom at lock

Our new Australian friend, Val, joined us for our sight-seeing today.

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.  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.

boom at lockThe boom which opens and closes the gates

bottom of a lockWall of the lock with a ladder and level measurements 

Boat goes through the gatesOur boat leaves 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 to Alte Danou or Danube Island which is the island developed by the Viennese to control the flooding of the Danube.

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.

Beautiful architectureBeautiful architecture

Tulips and buttercups and pondTulips and buttercups in the gardens

 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.

Foreign Exchange placeWe saw the exchange when we returned

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,  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.

2 beautiful spires2 beautiful in the centre of the city

Austrian ParliamentAustrian Houses of Parliament

Central gardensGardens downtown Vienna

From the centre of town we drove out to the Schonbun Palace. The Palace was built in the 16th Century by the Hapsburg Rulers and has 1441 rooms. It was originally built in the Baroque style but over 200 years it was added to and changed and many of the additions are in the Grecian architectural style. We did not do an inside tour of the Palace but the gardens were absolutely stunning. We spent a very happy couple of hours walking through them.  The pictures tell the sstory best.

Avenue of trees at SchonbrunBeautiful avenue of trees

Entrance to visitors centre at SchonbrunnThe entrance to the Palace Visitors’ Centre

Ent to Schonbrun PalaceFront of the Palace

Fountain of Neptune and Marie Therese MonumentNeptune Fountain and Marie-Therese Memorial

Gardens fountains and Marie Therese monumentPart of the huge gardens

Some of many statues in the gardensThere were dozens of statues in the gardens and on the roof of the Palace

From the Palace we took the bus to St Stephen’s Cathedral about which I write in the next blog.