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Monday, August 26, 2013

Europe Trip Day 7: Vienna

On May 31st we said Auf Wiedersehen (betcha didn't know that's how goodbye in German is spelled) to Salzburg. We had our things packed up and Hans (the apartment owner) met us there to get the keys. He was very friendly and apologetic of the strange weather for that time of year.

We took the bus to the train station.

We bought tickets on an upcoming train to Vienna and waited for it to arrive.

This is all my luggage for our 2 week trip. Very mobile, I know! I will do a post with details all about that later.


We boarded the train. We always buy 2nd class seats and do not usually buy reserved seats unless it is a long trip. I believe this was the train ride where there was an entire car filled with a loud hearty group of foreigners eating salami and such and playing cards. Thank goodness we were not sitting there as that train car did not smell good.

Then we arrived in Vienna around lunch time and walked to our apartment. For the Vienna apartment, the owner had mailed us the keys ahead of time so we did not have to meet anyone there. It took us a little bit to find the street the apartment was on as it has looked much closer to the train station on the map than in reality plus it was raining so that didn't help.

Vienna train station

We were pleasantly surprised to see that a grocery store was right next door to the apartment. The apartment was about a 10-15 minute walk to the nearest subway. It had 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a kitchen and living room and had a washer and drying in the closet of one of the bedrooms. We were happy to find normal sized spoons (other places had super large and super small spoons) and paper towels and spices! The apartment owner is American and lives in the US so we were thinking she knew some little necessities American renters would appreciate. After unloading our things in the apartment on the 4th floor we popped into the grocery store to grab a few things since this one also closed absurdly early and we didn't want to run into the same problem we had in Salzburg.

A note about the streets here: As I mentioned in one of the Munich posts, the boys loved to make up their own names for the streets that sort of resembled the actual street name. I greatly emphasize "sort of" but it was quite entertaining and did help us remember the streets. A main cross street right near the apartment was Gumpendorferstrasse and it was comically named Grumpy Dwarf.  Another major street that ran alongside the river and the subway, Linke Wienzeile was called Linky Winky. I guess I can't blame them as some of the street names are loooooong and not easy to remember.

Something else that is a funny similarity is the spelling and pronunciation of Vienna and Wine. Remember that W's are pronounced like V's. Well Vienna is spelled Wien and pronounced as "ven". Wine is spelled Wein and pronounced as "vine". A very subtle difference but it helped to remember that wine is said like vine (thinking of a vineyard). In German when there is "ie" or "ei" together the second vowel is the one that gets pronounced hence Wein sounding like vine. So there is your language lesson for the day.

So back to the day.... we were starving by this point (somehow we always manage to arrive in cities around lunch time and once we get settled can't wait to get some food) so we decided we would head to the Hofberg Palace complex to have lunch at Palmenhous and then do the Imperial Apartments tour (the palace).

It's probably good we were later than the lunch crowd because Palmenhous was crowded. The food was good, I wouldn't say amazing but great for a decent lunch on the Hofberg grounds.

Most of us had some sort of soup and salad and Eric had some kind of brat... they really do just look like hot dogs. I would get the creamy asparagus soup again.

We then made our way through the palace complex to the Imperial Apartments and purchased tickets for the tour.


They were crowded at first too and out of English audio guides and gave out a pamphlet to read and follow along with instead. The only hard part was in places where it was dark (at the beginning of the tour) it was harder to read the paper but other than that it was fine although pretty packed with people throughout.

First the tour was all about Sisi (Empress Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Franz Joseph I) and her life and how she didn't love being part of royal family etc. then showed their living quarters. Sisi had a huge getting ready routine and her hair was so long it took forever to brush. They even had an exercise room. There were many rooms for receiving audiences. Sadly, there were no photos allowed inside.

After we took a few photos on the palace grounds.

Then since Demel, a well known chocolate/dessert store and cafe, was nearby we decided to stop in and buy some chocolate bars to take back to the US since who doesn't love chocolate and also they are light to travel with :) We also bought the signature chocolate cake that had been hyped up in various books and such. I will say the chocolates (dark and milk) are delicious but the cake was dry for my taste although the boys thought it was okay. So I'd say skip the cakes and get more chocolate bars!

Once it was nearing dinner time we looked up what was near the apartment for an easy dinner since it was still fairly yucky out and we didn't feel like venturing far. We found a Thai place a block away that looked good. They had a simple menu and spoke some English. It wasn't a big place with only a few tables but they seemed to do a good bit of take-out too.

After dinner we stopped by a gelato place on the way back to the apartment and enjoyed our gelato while planning out our next day.

More Vienna is up next!

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