Vienna was one of the stops that I was looking forward to visiting. This was another hot and humid day on our cruise and thankfully our tour of the city was during the morning when it was a little cooler. Blogger Hubby and I went on different tours – I did the regular City Tour while he did the Hidden Vienna Walking Tour for the more active walkers. I could have done it, really, but I wanted to see the regular tour of the city as it was my first time in Vienna.
Vienna is a grand city with its Ringstrasse and the beautiful buildings all around it. I liken Vienna’s Ringstrasse to a pearl bracelet around Vienna where each pearl signifies a different monument or building that makes this city special. It truly is an Imperial City.
The boat did not dock in Vienna but rather in a city ja short distance away. We all boarded our buses and began our tour of Vienna and it began driving to the Ringstrasse. The Ringstrasse dates back to 1858 when Emperor Franz Joseph had the city walls torn down in order to unite the suburbs of Vienna with the city center where the imperial power was located.
The result was a beautiful collection of buildings built in different architectural styles that was spread out between the parks and public gardens. In addition to having the State Opera and the City Hall along the Ringstrasse, wealthy citizens bought land along it to build magnificent town homes. The Ringstrasse became the Austrian version of Paris’ Champs d’Elysees.
We were then dropped off and our tour guide walked us around Vienna, which by the way is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We went by the Hofburg Imperial Palace winter residence of the Habsburg family.
Next we walked by the famed Spanish Riding School. when I was a young child, my mother took me to Boston Gardens to watch a performance of the famed Lipizzan horses. I never forgot that experience and here in Vienna at the Spanish Riding School is where they trained. We “peeked” through to look in the courtyard to see if we could see some horses but none were to be seen.
We found ourselves walking over to the main square, the Stephansplatz where the main Roman Cathlic church in Vienna is located. This cathedral, like others we have seen on our trip, was in the process of being cleaned – getting all the black soot off the sides of the building.
One thing that I love when I travel are sweets – I know I shouldn’t but I do love them and always try to eat at least one a day. Blogger Daughter had told me about a bakery that she went to while in Vienna and suggested that I might want to “stop in”. While on our tour we went right past Demel’s established in 1786. Unfortunately since we were on the tour I did not stop and when I did go back, the shop was extremely busy. Here are a few photos of Demel’s. Perhaps if you go to Vienna, you’ll find time to stop and taste their pastries.
Friends that went on the cruise with us wanted to have a treat at Aida’s close to the cathedral. It had been recommended to them by a neighbor of theirs who lifter our tour was concluded, we headed to Aida’s. I found myself pointing at the glass cases as to which treats I wanted.
After these treats, we parted ways and I ended up window shopping as most things that I looked at were very expensive. I found the Lanz of Salzburg store and it reminded me of the dresses that I had in the early 1990’s that came from this manufacturer.
We were told when and where we could meet the bus to go back to the ship. The afternoon we had an optional trip to Schonnbraum Palace which our wonderful travel agent had given our group because we had booked with her – a Virtuoso Travel Agent. Unfortunately, I decided since it was so hot that I needed a partial “sea day” and elected to stay on the ship, get in the whirlpool, take a needed nap and rest up for the rest of the week. The heat really played a major part in my decision to not go to the palace and in hindsight, I regret it but at the time, it was for me the right thing to do. We spoke to one couple on our cruise and what they did was just to stay in Vienna, stroll around, stop for coffee and eventually they had a delightful dinner in Vienna. That sounded wonderful and I have to remember to give myself permission to not always do what the cruise line sets up for us – I can go off and be “independent”. I will remember this for future trips.
Next post – Bratislavia
Here are some more pictures of Vienna to enjoy: