Daily Journal: Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Woke up early (9:00?) to get ready to leave Vienna and also have time to visit a few more places before catching the train. Had a fairly good sleep last night – with the window open for a few hours to cool down the room. Earlier, had someone from the hotel engineering staff come up to have a look and perhaps lower the temperature on the thermostat. He said he would, but guess he never did. Couldn’t get the room temperature lower than 26 or 78F until I opened the window. The street outside was fairly quiet so I didn’t mind. When I checked out the person standing next to me heard me tell the receptionist desk about the heat and he had the same problem. Otherwise the hotel was perfect!

After breakfast I walked to the nearby shopping district to pick out a thank you gift. This area is high-end – and sort of like a Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive of Vienna. Was interested in visiting the Gustav Klimt shop, which I did, and found a gift that would transport well to the U.S. Then found a post office to mail it. My next destination was Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer home of the Austrian royal family.

Originally I was going to take a taxi there because the GPS on my phone said there wasn’t any public transportation available. I found that difficult to believe so actually looked at a paper map (!) and saw that I could take the U4 line that would drop me off in front of the palace. And there happened to be a U4 station nearby.

By the metro stop I saw a nearby park (Stadtpark or City Park). The Strauss and Mozart concert on Monday was held in the Kursalon Wein (Palace) which is located in this park. Took pictures of the park, the palace and a bird who was talking to me while I was taking pictures.

From there I caught the U4  for a direct line to Schonbrunn Palace. When I arrived, the snow which had been forecasted went from light flurries to snow showers. Having dressed warmly, the walk to the palace entrance was comfortable.

I took a picture of the front of the palace, which was the only one I took since photography was not allowed inside. (Though some people took pictures anyway.) The palace, like the Hofburg, is really a building comples. When the royal family was in residence there were over 1,000 staff to support the operations. (Fairly similar in number to the staff that supported Henry VIII at Hampton Court.)

There were several queues before entering the state rooms and the other areas where the royal family hung out. (And this was a Wednesday in April – wonder how many people visit each day during the summer months.) Room after room of very lavish decorations and each had a purpose. Before long, my mind was going numb from so many pictures of family members, gold gilt, and chandeliers. Think I completed the tour in about 45 minutes – maybe less.

I had to ask how to get out of the palace and directions to the train station. So many people and so many rooms to navigate. I could have walked around and found the exit myself, but asking was so much easier. Difficult because there were many exit signs but they all seemed to lead in the wrong direction.

The U4 train took me to Karlsplatz station where I transferred to the U1 that would take me to the Wein (Vienna) hauptbahnhof. I waited for about an hour at the station before boarding the train to Budapest. This time, my nearby fellow travelers were not much into conversation so I used to time to play pinochle on my phone. Saw much more snow on the ground as we left Vienna. The trip went quickly (about 2.5 hours) and was in my flat within a half hour after arriving.

Easy to unpack, given I was only gone about 3 days. But good to be in my Budapest home. Found everything where I left it.  Then enjoyed a quiet evening.





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