Welcome Vienna – From Helsinki we went to Vienna and then Bratislava, Slovakia. So this write up is in continuation with my last one (Helsinki). Here I will try to cover main points of our Vienna stay (4-5 days). Below pics, kids are ready to explore Vienna, Bye bye Helsinki, till we visit again.
Reached Vienna airport, from here in that bus to the hotel. Below are the pics of our roof top in Le Méridien. It gave a beautiful view of the city.
Our tour operator always takes care of good stay in terms of vicinity, food and comfort – Le Méridien Vienna – This hotel with an old-world exterior is a 2-minute walk from the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), an 11-minute walk from the Hofburg Imperial Palace and 1.7 km from Wien Mitte-Landstraße Bahnhof train station. Although we had to wait almost 2 hours for our room due to a big group and they were giving rooms one by one.
Austria’s capital, Vienna is well-known for its cultural events, magnificent sights, coffee houses, wine pubs, and the Viennese charm.
History – Vienna’s history dates back to the first post-Christian century when the Romans established the military camp Vindobona. Today’s cityscape is characterized by the abundance of baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph, who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße .
Places to See – Schönbrunn Palace – the former summer residence of the imperial family, is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque palace complexes. The land had been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569, when the wife of Emperor Ferdinand II had a summer residence built there in 1642, which she called “Schönbrunn”. The palace and garden complex built here from 1696, after the Turkish occupation, was redesigned from the ground up by Maria Theresia after 1743. For most of the year, the Habsburgs resided in the countless chambers that a large imperial family needed in addition to the formal state rooms.Today, the palace is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings. (www.schoenbrunn.at)
A wedding photo shoot was going on at that time. Below are some of the pics.
Other palaces – Hofburg Palace, Church, museums etc. We did visit a church which had something related to Trinity but I am not able to recall it’s name at present.
The above pics are of our walk near the hotel, we tried to explore the area, Hofburg Palace and surroundings.
From this place we were on our own and almost got lost from the group, we decided to meet at McDonalds over the phone. Unfortunately after walking for more than 5-6 kms also we were not able to locate McDonalds, no one was able to help on the streets (If it would have been India, people would have dropped you to the place by then). Then finally we asked a Tourist Center and they told in the market there are three McDonalds, so which one. Finally we settled for the nearest one and had our much required burgers and coke. The other group had it in their McD! Half day went like this. Later on we realized it was quite near to our hotel. Then in the evening we went to an Indian Restaurant because most of the people in group were used to having Indian food, so I was deprived of trying out Austrian cuisine. Every evening we tried different Indian restaurants.
Above – The Hundertwasser House in Vienna bears the unmistakable hand of the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Hundertwasserhaus can only be viewed from outside.
Right opposite the Hundertwasserhaus, however, is the Hundertwasser Village, which is open to visitors. It was created out of a tire workshop in 1990-1991. The artist created his own shopping center here with a “village square”, a bar and numerous stores in the typical Hundertwasser style. Below, a lady walking by caught my attention.
The next day was Guided City tour followed by Private cruise. Later, the other day we went for Art Home, museum of natural history and shopping. The Guide was Chinese and Bus driver Austrian. Driver was very particular about time and from the hotel itself we was angry because people did not turn up on time. Finally, by evening he was literally shouting at us and we had to tell him to leave. So he dropped us in the middle and went, the poor guide tried to cool down things but we were happy without him, so she said she will walk to the hotel which was near the market and we all went for window shopping.
Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum were built in the Neo-Renaissance style. They not only hold remarkable art and natural possessions, but are also architectural masterpieces.
The Museum of Natural History is among the largest of its kind and one of the most important museums in Europe! They have permanent and special exhibitions, monthly programs, research, planetarium and a place to shop too.
You will need 2-3 days to cover all the exhibits and programs. We had to rush from one room to another to cover each section. I loved the old coin and rocks area and kids liked the Huge animal and space exhibits.
Fine Art Museum – The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the most important European museum buildings created in the 19th century. The monumental structure, built as part of the Emperor Franz Joseph I expansion of the city in 1858, was intended to both unite and suitably denote the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries.
Monday : closed ( and unfortunately it was Monday, so we could not visit)
Our Private Cruise Dinner – Normally, the cruise along the Danube River is 3-4 hours and they serve Austrian dishes, but as our group was totally Indian (80 people), we were served Indian buffet-style along with live Music and Belly Dance (not Indian 🙂 . They did try some Shah Rukh Khan songs too but the choice of songs was really pathetic. Hop aboard the boat and off we went for illuminated Vienna night tour. Below are the pics of inside of the boat, kids enjoying the view and in the third pic here, my son trying to search for the dancer he fell in love with.
I guess I was comparing it to Venice or Zurich tours so did not find this a very overwhelming experience but you will experience the city of Vienna from a different perspective.
Seegrotte Hinterbrühl –The mine stays at the constant temperature of 9C in any weather. For those who forgot to bring their woolens, there are blankets available for renting at a nominal 50 cents. Going under the ground is always fascinating experience. Here you have a chance to visit an old gypsum mine that was flooded.
They partly filmed ‘The Three Musketeers’ here & the ship was left as a souvenir. During the war it served as a plane parts factory.
An old model is put on display in one of the caves. I did enjoy the tour although it was slightly overpriced at €9. Overall it was an ok, but I feel it’s not worth a second visit. The snacks shop outside is overcrowded cause of long wait to go in the cave, our kids enjoyed ice-cream and chips there.
Before the caves we had gone to the below place, if someone can help me with its name.
This is the trinity, I was talking about earlier.
Our day ended in yet another Indian restaurant, this time punjabi food. Next day early morning we started for Slovakia.
This is somewhere in the middle of Vienna to Bratislava. You are not allowed to eat inside the bus, so when the driver stopped to get fuel and we came out to get fresh air, we all settled down on the side road itself to get our hands dirty in Veg Biryani and Samosas!
My younger one got upset here because he did not get his double share of a chocolate. Finally he was busy with the flowers. Then we started for Bratislava.
Hitler – Seeking a career in the visual arts, Hitler fought bitterly with his father, who wanted him to enter the Habsburg civil service. After his father’s death, Hitler eventually persuaded his mother, Klara Hitler to permit him to pursue his dream to become an artist. As she lay dying of breast cancer in the autumn of 1907, Hitler took the entrance exam to the Vienna Academy of the Arts and failed to gain acceptance. In early 1908, some weeks after Klara’s death in December 1907, Hitler moved to Vienna, ostensibly in the hope of renewing efforts to win acceptance in the Academy of Arts. He lived in Vienna from 1908 to 1913, after which he moved to Munich. Being fascinated by Hitler and in general history, this was also a major attraction for me to visit Vienna.
No farewell yet to Vienna because we came back in the night. But closing this blog here only, will continue about the next place in later write ups. Good day guys!