Daily Journal: Easter Monday, 17 April 2017

(No typo in the posting’s title. Many countries in Europe include Monday as part of the Easter holiday.)

Was up very early this morning to get a head start on my side trip over to Vienna. A few days ago I was doubtful about going, but now I’m ready! Was 90% packed from last night so now just need to confirm everything I am taking, then eat breakfast and a shower. I was out the door before 7:00 a.m. to catch the 7:40 train to Vienna. (About a 2.5 hour trip by train.)

Since I purchased an open-ended ticket, I didn’t have an assigned seat so took my chances claiming one and potentially having to move, which I did. As it happened, I moved for a family of 5 and they asked if I wouldn’t mind sitting in their extra seat. Okay with me! They were originally from Australia and have been in Germany for work during the last 7 years. We talked for over two hours on the way to Vienna. Nice when things work out like that. I learned so much and took notes since they travel around Europe as often as work and school permitted.

When I arrived in the Vienna Central Station (Wein Hauptbahnhof) it took me about 15 minutes to find the nearby “U” (Metro Underground) station. Then to confirm which train(s) will take me to the hotel. I had some directions that I pulled from the hotel’s website, but they lacked some details. Eventually I got on the right train, but still asked someone for directions to confirm where to transfer for the final train to the hotel. It took about an hour to reach the hotel, which is good – so I’ll claim success.

I’ve been staying at Hilton hotels for the past few months, partly for the points they offer but also for the consistent high standards of the room and the staff. My room here in Vienna is perfect – on an upper floor and soundproof so no street noise. After I got settled in, was a little hungry, so visited a nearby McDonald’s for a couple of cheeseburgers. (1 Euro a piece – or about $1.06 per burger.)

When I returned to my room from McDonald’s, I took a nap. Was very tired from waking early and thought a nap would be a good idea before going out to explore the city.

While walking to McDonald’s, which was a couple of block away, I saw some buildings that caught my eye. So after my nap, I headed back down that direction to check them out. It seems that the street where my hotel is located has many buildings of interest. Further down is the Hofburg Wien (the old palace of the Habsburgs), the Museum Quarter, and the Parliament building.

Along my walk I noticed that the local lilacs were in bloom.

Some of the buildings along the street where I’m staying.

Quickly I became overwhelmed at the number of large and architecturally significant buildings I saw along the way. Then I saw that the Hofburg (Hofburg Wein) was just down the street. This was the home of the Hofburgs who ruled Austria for many years and was a continual building process over the years – so in all it is really a collection of interconnected buildings. I’ll have to tour this palace tomorrow.

The Swiss gate and also different parts of the palace. Very grand! (Marie Antoinette was a Habsburg and grew up in this palace.)

A statue in the middle of Maria Theresa Square.

I noticed that the Leopold Museum had a collection of Gustav Klimt works, so purchased a (senior) ticket and found his works on the 4th floor. The museum really is a nice place to walk around and view the various works on display. I highly recommend.

Leopold Museum where I found some works by Gustav Klimt

Works by Gustav Klimt

On the way back to the hotel I passed the Parliament building, which I’d like to tour before I leave on Wednesday.

This evening I went to see “Sound of Vienna”. From what I can tell, its an ongoing review that highlights the music and dance of Vienna. The program changes often. I was approached by a person selling tickets and since I was thinking about going, was a good time to reserve my seat.

Not sure why, but I thought it was a good idea to walk to the venue where “Sound of Vienna” was performing. Yes, I did notice that it was raining. No, I didn’t turn back when the light rain turned into a fairly decent and steady shower. By the time I reached Kursalon Wien, I was soaked.

The performance was very nice. Mainly light and mostly familiar music. The big hit was, “The Blue Danube Waltz”. There were two dancers who performed waltzes and polkas. Also two singers who sang along with some of the music composed by Johann Strauss and Mozart.

And yes, I did notice that it was still raining when I left the concert. Did I take a taxi or the metro. No, I did not. Thought that it was raining less than earlier so walked back to the hotel. Yes, I was soaked when I arrived at my room. It was okay – good to get drenched every once in awhile.

After I post today’s update, I probably should think about getting some sleep. Tomorrow is going to a busy day touring Vienna.





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