MICHAEL and JEANNIE in VIENNA
17 August 2005
On Wednesday, 17 August 2005, our tour group left the hotel by bus about 9:20 a.m. We stopped first at Belvedere Palace where our guide from the previous day led us around the structure. We did not go inside. It started raining again just before we reboarded the bus.
Everyone left the bus near the State Opera House. We walked a few blocks in the rain to the museum for Sisi, the Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 1800's. Our guide led us through this museum in the former Hofburg Palace and provided considerable commentary and tolerated our many questions. Sisi (pronounced "C.C.") apparently led a miserable life in spite of all the luxuries provided for her.
Our group then walked to St. Stephen's Cathedral. We could not go inside because of mass. This was the end of the guided tour, the rain stopped, and everyone went in separate directions.
The two of us ate lunch at Cafe Mozart near the State Opera House. We retrieved a bag of souvenirs we had left on the bus when it returned at 1:30, though no one but Peter and the driver returned on the bus to the hotel. We returned to shopping for European treasures.
We took a break at Demel's, the most famous pastry shop in Austria. In years past this was the popular sweet shop for the imperial families and other residents of the nearby Hofburg Palace. Michael ate a famous Sachertorte and Jeannie had a pastry with strawberries.
Around 4 p.m. we carried our new purchases and the souvenirs from previous days to a Mailboxes, Etc., for shipment home. After we recovered from the momentary shock at the shipping cost, we were back in the shops looking for more stuff to purchase to fill our suitcases.
We spent late afternoon at the museum of the Imperial Treasury, where we saw the thousand-year-old crown of the Holy Roman Emporer.
For supper we stopped at an Italian trattoria where both the food and language were authentic. We found we can still speak sufficient Italian to get a good meal.
We rushed to the subway station and made it back to our hotel with less than 30 minutes to dress for the evening. We departed with our tour group at 7:30 to attend a concert by the Vienna Residence Orchestra. They played mostly Mozart and Strauss. It was an enjoyable evening, except we had to say goodbye to our many new friends in the tour group.