First, I'd like to thank LOT Airlines for having unusually low weekend fares to Vienna. Second, I'd like to thank Guesthouse Arabella for providing us with a lovely tenth-floor apartment to stay in and a free map of the city. Third, I'd like to thank the many friendly Austrians who spoke English with us. We are very fortunate to have grown up speaking what has become the world's international language.
Vienna is an absolutely gorgeous city. Cities don't generally make much of an impression on me. Tall skyscrapers and perpendicular blocks, whether of New York City or of Shanghai, often mesh together in my memory. The Old Town of Krakow is an exception, and so is the entire city of Vienna. Of course, when you are the seat of empires, in power for centuries, I imagine you have the resources to build a lot of really cool stuff.
I could wax poetic about various aspects of the city and our trip, but instead I'll give you a quick photosummary (with limited description) of what we did.
Thursday night, we checked into our hostel/apartment. Tenth floor, great view of the city. The sunrise on Friday morning:
Friday, we headed off to Schloss Schönbrunn, the Hapsburg summer palace, and took a (no-photo) tour:
Then we wandered the immaculately-kept, free-to-the-public gardens behind the palace:
We even entered and eventually escaped from one of the labyrinths:
Finally, we wandered into the Vienna Zoo, which is attached to the gardens (it was originally the royal family's wildlife menagerie), because zoos are always a good idea:
Later, deciding to do something musical, we went to the Volksoper (People's Opera House). A friendly worker helped us get third-row orchestra tickets at a student rate of 12 Euros to see Fra Diavolo, which looked a little more like a musical than an opera, but was still entertaining. Mostly spectacular were our great, otherwise-160Euro seats in this lovely opera house:
This has gotten lengthy already, so I'll put the rest of the trip in a separate post. Enjoy, and sorry for the belated updating!