VIENNA is the Washington D.C. of Austria but felt more like the New York City because it was so crowded. This is the first city where I really experience the high tourist season. There are so many beautiful buildings but the crowded city made me appreciate Innsbruck even more. I feel like I am comfortable and familiar with Innsbruck in a way that I couldn't be if I was living in a big touristy city.
My favorite place was Schonbrunn Palace. It was the summer home of the Hapsburg monarchy that ruled from the 1300's to the early 1900's. Their main palace the Hofburg Imperial Palace is in the city center. The Imperial Palace houses the President of Austria today. A trip to Vienna would not be complete without visiting the Schonbrunn Palace. When you first walk up to the palace it is not that impressive but it is the back of the palace that is breath taking. I say not impressive because although it has 1440 rooms and is huge the exterior is not as detailed as other buildings in Vienna. The best part is behind the palace where you find a huge garden, beautiful big fountain and a Gloriette (panorama terrace) that sits at the tope of hill with great views of the palace grounds and surrounding Vienna. There is also a zoo, maze and other smaller private gardens. The zoo is the oldest in the world and to my surprise has a panda!! Pandas are my favorite animal and I have only seen one in Washington D.C. so this really was a treat for me. That is why you will find so many pictures of the panda.
Other than Schonbrunn Palace we also saw the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Parliament, St. Stephan's Cathedral, Museum Quarter and the outdoor Opera Film Festival that takes place between City Hall and the Burgtheater from I think July until August. It was a beautiful setup with food from a lot of different countries and great fruity drinks. Stacey and I spent a lot of time there Friday just people watching, eating and drinking. The setup between the beautiful buildings made you feel like you were in Europe. We stopped by Saturday too.
This weekend it was just Stacey and I travelling. We had a much better experience with the hostel because we got a private room and private bath. We were gone all day exploring. Vienna is really big so we once again bought tickets for the Hop On Hop Off tour which I highly recommend. The tour gives you a good overview of the city highlights with some history so we sit through the whole tour once then decide what we want to go back to spend time seeing. We got the 2 day pass so we used it as our transportation too. Most things weren't a long walk but for Schonbrunn you would definitely need a ride.
I tooks some pictures of the McDonald's because it was so modern looking. From the furniture to the music it did not feel like the usual place to take kids for a happy meal. The capuccino and breakfast were good and this sandwich had eggs. Don't worry we also ate Austrian food. Saturday night we went to a suburb of Vienna called Grinzing that is known for wine taverns. We had a good authentic meal there and wine of course. There the taverns have patios, musicians and good atmosphere. Grinzing was low key and reminded me of Fredricksburg.
Sunday we had time between having to check out of our hostel and catching a train so we put our bagpacks in a locker at the train station and walked around Vienna. We sat at patios people watching and laid in the park to kill time. It was a relaxing hot day.
This is my last full week of classes and I think this weekend I am staying in Innsbruck. I will keep you posted. Have a great week!