Wednesday 26th September
It was sunny but a chilly 6 degrees for our morning walk and so we hugged paths that were bathed with sunshine. We even managed to find a cafe with seats taking advantage of the morning sun.
Our flight to Zagreb, Croatia, tomorrow was with Austrian Airlines again and, given the last debacle, I was keen to check-in and secure our seats. This took much longer than expected but, after about an hour, we eventually secured our boarding passes. Here’s hoping our seats exist when we get on the plane though!
Our train ticket from yesterday was valid for a few more hours and so we decided to put these to use by taking the Rick Steeve’s audio guide tour of the Vienna Ringstrasse. This is a circular road around the Vienna alstadt laid over what used to be the fortified City walls of the city, circa 13th Century. Emperor Franz Joesph had ordered the City Wall to be torn down and replaced with this wider boulevard-type road after he’d been impressed by similar roads in Paris.
It was 12.30 pm by the time we completed this activity and we decided to head back to the cafe from yesterday, Cafe Hawelka, as their coffee was good and we wanted to sample their cheese strudel but, sadly, the strudel had sold out. So we set off to Billa after our coffee to grab a sandwich for lunch and supplies for dinner.
Our final activity for our last afternoon was to visit the Sisi Museum. Sisi, or Empress Elizabeth (1837-1898), was the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph and the museum visit takes you through the royal apartments section of the Hapsburg winter palace and her apartments. We’d visited the summer palace, Schönbrunn Palace yesterday which was much more elaborate, however, this tour focused on the life of Sisi. Sadly, she was was a rather tragic character as she was married at 15 and coped poorly with the public life that being a Hapsburg brought and withdrew from this, and her husband, as a result. The suicide of her only son exacerbated her melancholy and she withdrew further and traveled independently to escape publicity. It was on one such trip that she was identified though and chosen, opportunistically, as a target for a political assassination.
Our tour brought us out near the Hotel Sacher and, given that the line wasn’t too long, we decided to queue to sample the famous Sacher Torte. It was a rather disappointing experience though; the coffee was only luke-warm and lacking flavour and the Torte tasted dry and stale; a bit of a waste of 18 €!
On leaving the Sacher Hotel we drifted down the main mall, , and decided to look in the Swarovski shop given this is an Austrian institution. This proved interesting and, then, expensive as I spied and bought a nice bangle. It’s rather ironic, however, given there is a Swarovski shop in Bondi Junction that I’ve never stepped inside!
After Swarovski there was a stop for Mark to sample a curry-wurst sausage and then a bar stop for him to sample a Stigel beer before we headed home for our last night and one, again, spent dining in.
We have enjoyed our time in Vienna and feel that 5 days was quite enough. One thing we’re not enjoying is all the smoking! You can’t escape it; bars, cafes and restaurants. It makes me realise just how progressive we are down under! Another thing that has been an issue for me is the desiccating atmosphere. I’ve needed to apply moisturizer several times a day whilst in Vienna although the upside is that our washing dries in just a couple of hours!
Will blog again after we make it to Zagreb.