Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 2 in Vienna, Tour of Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens & Shopping Areas

I did not want to wake up this morning, for whatever reason I was comfortable in bed and did not want to move.  I finally got my day started, or at least got up around 9:30 am.  My hostel mates were all up at that point and I wanted to make it to breakfast at the hostel, I had heard the breakfast was good, and at 3.80 Euros could not beat the price.

Breakfast is from 8 am to 10 am at our hostel, I made it downstairs at about a quarter to 10 am.  I saw a couple of my hostel mates, asked them how I purchase breakfast, they told me to go to the reception desk and buy a ticket and hurry since breakfast was almost over.  I got my ticket from the front desk, brought it up to the eating area, and gave it to one of the workers, in exchange I got a saucer, bowl, glass and coffee mug.

My hostel mates gave me some tips on the breakfast, I went over and loaded my plate.  The breakfast was not the typical American breakfast, no bacon, eggs and sausages.  Instead, there was salami and ham, soft and hard cheeses, crusty bread, plain yogurt, granola, cornflakes, some cut up vegetables, hard boiled eggs, jam and Nutella.  There was also a machine for coffee, hot chocolate, hot water for tea, etc.

I got my food and sat down at the table with my hostel mates from Australia.  I got a lot of food, and a lot of late comers to breakfast arrived after me, the staff was prepared and brought out more food.  My breakfast included, salami and ham, I got the soft  cheese and spread it on the bread, then a slice of hard cheese, I got an orange I did not eat, maybe I'll eat it on my early train to Budapest tomorrow morning.  I also got a bowl of granola with yogurt on top, a glass of water and I went back to get some hot chocolate.  The food was good but a heavier breakfast than I am used to and I regretted eating all of it later in the day when we started walking.

My hostel mates were talking about Nutella or we somehow got on the topic.  A hostel mate in Brussels had raved about Nutella, I had never tried it, for some reason I had a negative impression of Nutella.  My hostel mates today convinced me to try it, I did and it is good, I ate it right out of the package, as my hostel mates recommended. The hostel's breakfast Nutella came packaged in the same type of containers you find jam in at restaurants. I am surprised Nutella has not caught on in the US, it is delicious, I did not try it with bread, but out of the container, it was great.  I have probably started a new sugar habit after trying Nutella.

My hostel mates asked what my plans were for the day, I told them I was going to Schönbrunn Castle, they had plans to go to the same place, so we went together.  After breakfast we went back to our room to get our things, looked at the map and headed out for the day.  The walk to Schönbrunn was long, or seemed long becuase of my heavy breakfast.  The weather has finally warmed up, so the walk was pleasant in that respect.

Schönbrunn was a direct walk from our hostel, we ran into a few dead ends along the way, but found it in about half an hour.  The palace was a summer home, we took pictures outside the palace, playing the role of royals.  We then went inside for the 11.50 Euro audio guided tour, to see how Austria's monarchs once lived.

Lynnae in front of the Schönbrunn Palace

After we toured the palace, no picture taking allowed inside, we went out and explored the gardens.  My reaction when we went into the garden was wow, a man standing near us said he had the same reaction when he saw the palace grounds.

Schönbrunn Palace Garden Grounds 
After Schönbrunn Palace, we took the U-Bahn subway back into the city center.  The Schönbrunn was the summer palace, we wanted to see the winter palace, I had already seen the winter palace yesterday.  We were going to go to the Sisi Museum, which houses the belongings of Empress Elizabeth of Austria,  but we did not make it in time for the tour.  

We decided to go get a late lunch/early dinner since the Sisi Museum was closed. My hostel mates recommended a cafe that served traditional Austrian food, they said it was delicious, so we set out to find it around 5 pm this afternoon.  We walked through Vienna's upscale shopping district on our way to the cafe, I missed this part of Vienna during my stroll through the city center yesterday. The stores in the area have a lot of security, including men with earpieces in suits standing in the streets outside the stores, reminded me of the US Secret Service. 

Me in Vienna's Upscale Shopping District
We found the cafe and got our seats outside, all the guidebooks say you must spend time in Vienna sitting at an outdoor cafe, I have done this both days in Vienna, today's cafe was the most enjoyable.  I ordered a sausage dish, the sausages were wrapped in bacon and had cheese inside, it came with fries, I got apple strudel from desert, an Austrian cuisine feast. The meal came with a small salad, I felt better about eating the sausage and fries since I was eating a few vegetables with my meal.

My Viennese Sausage Meal

Apple Strudel another traditional Austrian Dish 
We were all stuffed after eating our Austrian feast, we were ready to head back to our hostel.  We left the cafe and walked to the end of the shopping district.  We found a park and decided to sit down for awhile like the locals in Vienna and relax, let our food settle, there was no rush to get back to the hostel.  We took some pictures in the park and watched the locals and some of them watched us.  I took a picture with the Johann Strauss memorial and recalled my days in orchestra, we shared stories of playing the violin, viola and other instruments in school.  Vienna is scattered with monuments of the great composers. 

We sat in the park and talked for about an hour before leaving to find our hostel, then we saw another park with a large fountain and a military memorial we wanted to explore.  We walked a couple of blocks down the road, the fountain was beautiful, we were not sure what the memorial was, there was a date, April 1945 in front of the fountain, my guess, it has something to do with World War II . There were people relaxing near the fountain at this park too, a dog got away from his owner and went for a swim in the fountain and when the sun set, the fountain was illuminated with different colors, pink, green, blue. 

Lynnae at Fountain in front of Soviet War Memorial 
After spending time at the Soviet War Memorial, we headed to the hostel in somewhat of a rush, there are few public bathrooms in Europe, we needed to get to one after a day out.  There are always new things to see in Europe, lots of history, beautiful building, but on the way home we encountered the explosion sculpture.  I took pictures of the explosion sculpture yesterday, but wanted to take a few more, with me exploding like the sculpture.

Lynnae & the Explosion Sculpture
We finally made it back to the hostel, one of my hostel mates ran for the bathroom, we relaxed.  We later went down to the hostel's bar to get our free drinks, you get a voucher for a free drink when you check in.  I got orange juice, chatted with my hostel mates for awhile and the headed back upstairs to pack for my trip to Budapest on an early morning train tomorrow.

Lynnae and Hostel Mates at the Wombar
Day 2 in Vienna Photo Album

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