Saturday 5-17-08 We took the early morning train to Vienna. We arrived arrived 11am found our pension, only getting lost a few times. I had to drag my suitcase over large cobblestones. We began touring Vienna about 12:30pm.
Walking tour around Der Ringstrasse looking for tourist information. There were some frayed tempers as everyone was tired and we didn’t seem to have a clear plan for our tour.
Secession Museum and saw the Klimt Beethoven
We walked to the Church of St. Charles Borromeo (Karlsplatz) which was spectacular as we rode up a lift and walked up some shaky stairs to the top of the dome.
We walked through the city park (Stadtpark) with its statues and a pond and went to St Stephens church which seemed less impressive after the Charles. We were able to sneak in just before they closed for mass.
About 7pm we settled in the for real schnitzel and gelato in a pedestrian area near St. Stephens.
Sunday 5-18-2008 After a hardy breakfast at the pension we walked up Rathhausplatz to the townhall and past the Parliament.
Next we walked to the Kunsthistoriches Museum where we saw a staggering number of paintings the most memorable of which were the Velazquez and the Bruegels. After lunch at the museum we went to the Belvedere Palace and more paintings. The palace and its grounds were more the attraction here. The Schiele and Klimt’s were highlights here along with some gothic religious sculptures.
For dinner we took the tram to Spittleburg quarter. The transportation system in Vienna is really great.
Monday 5-19-2008 Arrived as early as possible for a tour of the Hofburg castle. The unexpected highlight for me was the table service collection. The audiotour was excellent and the table services were spectacular. Every new prince or princess seemed to need a new one commissioned that was more spectacular than the previous. The Sisi portion was interesting about a reclusive Hapsburg queen but a bit much. Next we toured the royal apartments seemed rather pedestrian compared to Verasailles or other more richly decorated rooms even compared to the Belevedere. After lunch nearby, pizza and a tomatoless minestrone soup, we went and saw the jewels, robes and crowns in the Vienna Treasury where we learned more about the history of the different Habsburg kings and princes. The audio tour was also interesting here. Afterwards we had a nice walk along the Ringstrasse including the Danube and dinner near our Pension at a café, fried calamari and potato salad. It was raining on and off mostly ON all day so it was a bit cold and depressing. We didn’t get to the Freud apartment but again the cold clammy weather left tempers frayed and we were in need of family therapy. I think sugar delivered in the Viennese tradition via a slice of sacher torte after dinner improved everything.
Tuesday 5-20-2008 We then went to the Butterfly house and saw some tropical butterflies and to the Leopold museum where we focused again on Klimt and Schiele. We had lunch at the museum and rushed to catch the 2pm train and returned to Budapest and a dinner at home.