AUSTRIA


(Austria Flag)


(Map of Austria)

SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2011:

It was a 150 mile drive to Vienna from Budapest.



All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Saturday morning we drove from Budapest to Vienna.
We arrived in Vienna at lunchtime and had lunch at a local restaurant with very slow service.
After lunch we went to Schönbrunn Palace, Austria's #1 tourist attraction.
No photography was allowed inside, so all I can show is the exterior of the palace.
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria

Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial 1,400-room Rococo summer residence.
The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
The Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria The Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria The Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria

My time in the city of Vienna itself was very limited, and it rained for most of that.
I did get some short glimpses of a few important buildings.
The Vienna State Opera Museum of Natural History Austrian Parliament

The video below is 18 minutes long and covers my day in Vienna.

I stayed at the Vienna Hilton across from City Park.
Vienna Hilton The Viennese City Park Monument near the Viennese City Park

The video below is 2 minutes long and is a hotel report on my accommodations in Vienna.





SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2011:

There were no planned activities with my tour group on Sunday so I decided to take a cruise on the Danube.
Unfortunately this was the worst weather day of my six-weeks in Europe. It rained all day.
I took a bus to Spitz where I caught a boat to Melk.
Spitz, Austria Spitz, Austria Danube River in Spitz, Austria

Even though the weather was quite bleak, it was still a scenic voyage.
Danube River Cruise Danube River Cruise Danube River Cruise

The were many old castles along the river as we made our way to Melk.
Aggstein Castle Schonbuhel Castle Danube River & Schonbuhel Castle

After about two and a half hours on the boat we reached Melk.
Melk is a small town of about 5,000 people.
Melk, Austria Melk, Austria

Melk is best known as the site of a massive baroque Benedictine monastery named Stift Melk.
The grounds of the Melk Abbey View from Melk Abbey The garden of Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey is located above the town on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube in Lower Austria.
The monastic school was founded in the 12th century, and one of the school's pupils was my guide in the abbey.
Melk Abbey Melk Abbey Melk Abbey

The monastic library is renowned for its extensive manuscript collection and was quite impressive.
After touring the abbey I returned to Vienna by bus.
Melk Abbey Melk Abbey Melk Abbey

The video below is 15 minutes long and covers my day trip to Melk.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON JULY 24, 2011
Hello everyone. Didn't send a report yesterday so today will be for the whole weekend. Saturday morning we left Budapest and drove directly to Vienna, Austria. It wasn't a very long drive as we were in Vienna around noon. Our first stop was for lunch. It was a nice restaurant but very slow. We were there for over two hours. The part of the restaurant everyone liked the best were the restrooms. They were very elaborate. In the men's room there was a statue of a little boy by every urinal. When you're done the little boy pees into the urinal to flush it. You had to be careful if you actually used it because everyone was in there taking pictures of it. After our very long lunch we went to Schönbrunn Palace. A modest little place of only 1400 rooms.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria

A very elegant palace. All the furnishings and art are original. During the wars they hid everything in underground tunnels and returned it after the wars. No photography was allowed inside. Below is a picture of the gardens.

The Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria

The tour of the palace was nice but it went on too long. It was very hot in there. After the tour we were taken to our hotel, the Vienna Hilton.

Vienna Hilton

Saturday night we went to a classical concert. It was very nice. Today, Sunday, there were no planned activities for the group so I decided to go out into the Austrian countryside. This would have been a very nice day if the weather had cooperated. It rained for the tenth day in a row, but today there were no breaks in the weather. It was awful all day. About an hour outside Vienna I got on a boat in the village of Spitz.

Spitz, Austria

It was a two hour boat ride on the Danube. Along the way we passed several villages and could see the ruins of a lot of castles in the hills.

Danube River Cruise

We passed a Schonbuhel Castle as we neared Melk.

Schonbuhel Castle

We got off the boat in Melk and visited the Monastery there.

Melk Abbey

We got a nice view of the city of Melk from the balcony of the Monastery.

Melk, Austria

The tour of the Monastery ended at the beautiful abbey. This is the largest Monastery in Austria and is still in use. Our guide was one of the students there.

Melk Abbey

Below is inside the abbey.

Melk Abbey

It was back to Vienna after Melk. We got back to the city around 6:00. This is where it got interesting. I had a hotel pickup this morning but the tour ended in the city center and I had to make my own way back. It was about a three mile walk to the hotel. I had a little map and I thought I would walk by some sites on the way. I walked by the famous opera house.

The Vienna State Opera

I also walked by several other impressive buildings that I had no idea what they were. All the streets in this city are rings and no street goes straight for very long. About an hour into this walk to the hotel I became hopelessly lost. Usually I don't mind getting lost, but in the rain in a foreign country where I don't speak the language it wasn't much fun. I finally hailed a cab and luckily the driver spoke a little English and I was able to make him understand where I wanted to go. This is the last night in Vienna and its on into the Czech Republic tomorrow.

Tim





MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011:

It was a 55 mile drive to Rosenburg Castle from Vienna.


After two nights in Vienna we hit the road again on Monday morning.
It took about ninty minutes to get to Rosenburg Castle.
The castle is situated on a cliff above the valley of the river Kamp. It is one of Austria's most visited Renaissance castles.
Rosenburg Castle Rosenburg Castle Rosenburg Castle

After touring the castle there was a falconry show at the castle.
Falcons, eagles, vultures and other birds of prey native to Germany and central Europe swooped over our heads.
After the show we walked across the street for lunch.
After lunch it was a long drive to Prague.
Rosenburg Castle Falconry Show at Rosenburg Castle Austrian countryside around Rosenburg Castle

The video below is 14 minutes long and covers my morning visit to Rosenburg Castle.


Click on the arrow above to continue to the next adventure, Prague, Czech Republic!

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