March 28, 2019
Vienna is steeped with history and sites to visit in addition to being a large city with many amenities. We spent most of our time today, in the Old Centre of the city, within the Ringtrasse line. As large as Vienna is, the Old Centre is very walkable, but you can also use their public transportation, the Ringtrasse and Hop on Hop off buses were very accessible.
We took a ship excursion after breakfast which started at Habsburg Imperial Palace. Walking the Palace complex, passing the Spanish Riding school, Heroes square and walked through the shopping & entertainment district (Kartner Stasse) to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a beautiful church filled with history, including remnants from a fire.
Vienna is known for its coffee, which we enjoyed throughout our visit to Austria and loved, and strudel. A popular bakery in Vienna, Aida, located in the Kartner Stasse was the perfect stop for cappuccino’s and apple strudel – mit schlage (with whip, the proper way to order strudel in Vienna).
After our bakery stop, we walked off the calories, walking through the more modern section of Vienna and past the anchor clock, an enormous musical clock that would give Disney’s small world a run for it’s money.
After lunch, back on the Mahler, we were headed off again to Schoenbrunn Palace, the summer palace built by Queen Maria Theresa and the Hapsburg family. Now summer palace you would think would be hundreds of miles from their city home, but this palace sits just outside the city center of Vienna only about 5 miles away. But what a difference a palace makes. A beautiful representation of the guilded riches of Austrian wealth and modern (for 18th century) innovations. Not only is the palace a site, but the tour provided a great history of the Habsburg family and the building of the palace during the heyday of Maria Theresa’s rule over Central Europe.
Our evening consisted of dinner and local entertainment (classical Viennese music) provided by a pianist and violinist from the Vienna orchestra. The perfect ending to our week aboard the Crystal Mahler.