Friday, July 01, 2016

Vienna: Bit of Rain Bit of Sun

When we woke up on the morning of  Tuesday June 23, 2015  we were docked on the outskirts of Vienna. and our view was mainly of modern skyscrapers. It was rather cool and some dark clouds were moving in.

After breakfast we joined a tour that was to take us to the old city center and finish at St. Stephan's Cathedral. Unfortunately, it was starting to spit rain by the time the coach left the boat and the traffic going in was ferocious.  By the time we were dropped off for our walk, the morning was fast  disappearing.  We managed a quick fly-by of the Opera House

and then headed toward the Royal Palace and the famous Riding School where as luck would have it they were preparing for some kind of major soiree and were closed down.  This poster was the closest we got.

More drizzle.

And then on to St. Stephan's.

Because of the clouds and rain the interior was dark and muggy. Pictures without flash were tough to get and we only had about twenty minutes inside before the coach would return to pick us up for lunch. 

I'll leave you with a few of the more exotic shots from the morning like swimming in the river?  OK On the river?  Wierd.

Hey look up there!  or Here's water in your eye.

My most interesting shot of St. Stephens was this one reflected in the glass of a modern building.

Still no sun.  Overall it was a better morning for shop window close-ups.

                   We would have loved to take a set of these stunning Klimt tea cups home with us.

Back to the ship for lunch, a bit of a rest, and then on to Schonbrunn Palace for the afternoon. The Hapsburg, Maria Theresa had Schonbrunn built in the middle of the 18th century and at the time it was essentially a country estate.  Now the city has grown out to envelop it and it is a massive free open space.

In honor of the fact that it had been over fifty years since our last visit to Vienna, the sky began to clear.

The palace remains an architectural wonder.

In the rather commodious back yard,  the gardens spread out all the way up to an impressive folly sprawled out on a distant hill.  It is this location that has been transformed into evening concerts--some of which have been broadcast on public television here in the states. The toffs get nice chairs and the regular folks spread out on the hillside. Huge batteries of lights turn the entire park into a  multicolored fairyland.  

One could pass most of a day just wandering the gardens of to the side of the palace.

Or you can meander by cooling fountains and admire the lily-pads and statuary. 

Our journey back to the ship took us by the famous Vienna amusement park called the Prater with its iconic ferris wheel.   We visited the park and rode the wheel in 1963 on our very first European trip, but the wheel is more famous for the ride taken by Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film,  "The Third Man."  We  had to be content with a drive-by on this visit.

Back on board we sat and looked out over the modern city's eye catching skyscrapers.

Then dinner with some pleasant British friends as the sun bathed the skyline with gold.

And dot vas Vienna.  Way too little time for this great city.  We must return. 

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