Friday, 13 September 2013

Around Vienna

After we spent some time in the Ephesus Museum this morning, Jean and I took a hop on hop off bus trip around Vienna.  It was slightly unpleasant because, in this part of Europe, we have now hit cooler, often wet weather.  We sat on the top deck.  It had a roof, but no windows.  We nearly froze!

But it was good to take in the sights.  We saw Austria's Parliament building, its Rathaus, theatre buildings, museums as well as its coffee district and modern shopping areas.  It was good to be able to appreciate where the old city walls used to be, walls that were constructed to keep out the menacing Turks, who last invaded in 1683.  In the mid-19th century, the walls were taken away when the Turkish threat subsided, creating the wide streets and avenues that Vienna is well known for.

As you walk the streets here in Vienna, all these guys dressed in costume come and hassle you.  They want you to attend the opera or a concert.  Yes, we think we'll go, but we're sick of being asked.  They're like the umbrella sellers or raincoat merchants or the bag sellers we encountered constantly in so many ofher parts of Europe.  We're on the verge of telling them we've never heard of Mozart.

After a goulash soup with bread for lunch, Jean and I visited the Schloss Schönbrunn, the summer palace of the Hapsburgs.  We had an English language guided tour of the palace.  This had previously been a hunting lodge, but the Hapsburgs decided to make it their summer retreat.  A bit odd I think since the winter palace is only a few kilometres away.  The guide told us that Emperor Franz Josef, who believed it was his God-given right to rule, was the only Hapsburg monarch actually to be born and to die in this palace.  He also told us Empress Maria Theresa liked to gamble and have lovers.

One of the opera promoters.  This one followed me when I took his photo, but I pretended not to hear him.

Schloss Schönbrunn
Inside Schloss Schönbrunn
Somebody's sitting room
The Millions Room

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