Thursday, December 29, 2016

The City of Waltzes and Europe's center of Classical Music....Vienna! Day 10, Saturday, June 4, 2016

Today we docked in Vienna! One of the many nice things about river cruises is the length of time you get to spend in one city or town each day. We arrived at 7:00 am and weren't departing until 11:00 pm that night. If you chose to, you definitely could spend a very full day off the ship! 

We decided to participate in the Vienna Up Close tour. This excursion was added after the original tours were listed online and was a special guided tour where we'd take the subway into the city center and spend a bit more time visiting each site, as opposed to the Vienna City Tour which takes the coach bus into the city. Alycen and Katy had already spent a few days in Vienna before the cruise, while Alex and I were in Salzburg, so Katy decided to relax on board the ship today. Alex, Alycen and I met our guide and it turned out that our group only included one other person! We really were going to get a customized tour! 

First we walked along the river and to the subway station

Our guide showing us where we were starting, where we'd be going, and what we'd be seeing.

He was sure to point out the "Opera Toilet" in the subway....everything is about the music in Vienna!

Our first stop was the Vienna Opera House. This is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. They even have a screen outside so you can see the performances inside!

Next we walked by the Hotel Sacher, home of the original Sacher-torte

Vienna is a very clean and very ornate city...

Next we walked to the Hofburg Palace where the Hapsburg's residence was. It's also home to the Spanish riding school and the Lipizzaner horses. We stopped outside and got to see the horses in their stalls.

These horses have pretty fancy houses!

They are currently excavating some ruins in front of the palace....

We also visited several churches on our tour of the city

We walked through the city some more, with our guide telling us some of the history and just really having some nice conversations with us, since we only were a group of 4. We were really enjoying our day!

Another famous Mozart spot!  

Next we stopped at the Austrian Holocaust Memorial. It's also known as the "Nameless Library"

We continued to walk through the city through some charming streets

We made our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral.  The oldest remaining sections of this cathedral date back to the 13th century. This is the church where Mozart was married and also where Joseph Haydn sang as a choirboy. This church is the most important religious building in Vienna.

We had a little break on our tour for some shopping and snacks!

We visited one more church...

And we continued our tour...

We had a peek inside of the Griechenbeisl. This is one of the oldest restaurants/taverns in Vienna, dating back to the 1300s! Artists, scholars and politicians have come here to eat, drink, debate and reflect....including Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, Mark Twain and more!

We got back on the subway and before we knew it we were almost back to our ship, just in time for lunch!

We had another nice lunch on the Aquavit terrace, and then Alex and I had another tour planned in the afternoon! Our day wasn't even half over!