I love ornate, well-crafted, overly adorned, old buildings. Vienna has lots of them. I mean, lots.
We’ve already done a few days of walking around, and today we spent most of our time wandering the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna proper.
The weather ventured into the fifties in the afternoon, although the sun was nowhere to be found. We braved the subway (called the U) once again and managed to find our way to the proper stop.
The palace and grounds stood as the imperial summer home during the reign of Maria Theresa. We used the web site to do a little research on its history, but really spent most of the time walking through the vast gardens, making a few turns through the Christmas market set up in the courtyard, and having yet another few glasses of warm punch…this time of the egg nog and Bailey’s variety.
We did manage to find a pub for lunch, of which there are lots spread throughout the city. Thankfully the majority of them have staff who speak very good english and feature menus printed in several languages. Not allowing myself to sway from crude amounts of grilled meat, I ordered a rather large skewer of sausages, pork side, and bacon. The onions and potatoes count as vegetables. Sarah had salad. Ada had schnitzel.
Even this pub was something to look at once we got past the standard pub-facade exterior. It was situated in a converted theatre with a vast bar in the center. There were columns, cherubs, tapestries, high ceilings, and plenty of vibrant colors. We took no pictures.
There was a zoo on the palace grounds as well, apparently the oldest in the world. We had about an hour before they closed, which means we had the place just about to ourselves. Lions, tigers, and bears aplenty. Ada definitely watches everything with interest; now and then she will point and make noises, but I’m looking forward to the day she’s old enough to really get excited at the zoo or the aquarium. Regardless, it was a beautiful walk.
By the time we made it back to the palace it had closed to tours, but luckily Sarah had the camera all day and took lots of very good photographs. She has an eye for composition I often covet, and I’m thankful she loves the camera as she does.
Today was our final full day in Vienna, and in Austria. Tomorrow is Tuesday and we train to Budapest, Hungary. Aside from Hungarian goulash and Hungarian bath houses, I have no idea what to expect…which is most of the fun anyway.