March 29, 2019
After disembarking our home for the past 7 days, we checked into a hotel in the historic city centre and headed out to explore more of beautiful Vienna. We started at the art history museum (Kunsthistorishes museum Wien) in the Maria Theresa plaza. Within the building holds Hapsburg Imperial art from 18th century Central European artists, Rubin, Rembrandt, Bosch and Brummel in addition to Hapsburg family portraits and commissioned pieces for the royal family. The interior of the museum is as beautiful as the pieces that fill it. Painting aficionados will not be disappointed in what this museum has to offer. The museum also offers a coin and sculpture collection.
After departing the museum quarter, we headed back towards the Hapsburg Imperial Palace to the treasury building. Home of the royal treasures of the Hapsburg era the collection was most impressive and is filled with acquisitions of one of the most influential royal families in Europe.
Our mode of transportation for the day was the Hop on/Hop off bus which included a ride around the city to see more of the sites. We opted to get off at the Danube canal to visit the jewish quarter. Before reaching the jewish section, we enjoyed the Doner wraps (Turkish falafel sandwiches in wraps instead of pitas) from a local food truck. Tasty and delicious it was a nice break from the Austrian cuisine we had been enjoying all week. The Juedisches Viertel is the historical location of the original synagogue that was blown up by the Germans during WWII. Since it was Friday, and the Sabbath, the site closed early, so we were unable to visit the ruins. Definitely on the todo list, if we return to Vienna.
Walking the olde city of Vienna, is like the gift that keeps on giving. Every turn we found more exquisite buildings and courtyards than the last. Our explorations led us to Mozarthaus the home to Amadeus Mozart during his prime composer years in Vienna as the court composer. Seeing how he lived and his story, makes you realize how celebrity back then is nothing compared to today. He died poor and ashamed at the young age of 35.
As we were headed back to our hotel for a rest before our last evening in Europe, we got a wild hair and opted to grab last minute tickets at the State Opera house to see Simon Boccanegra as performed by Placido Domingo. We did not have opera clothing, but was assured by our ticket handler, that our jeans and sweaters were efficient attire for the evening. Boy were we wrong! Entering the Opera building, the interior was not just amazing and beautiful but decorated with riches it was one of the most opulent interiors we have ever seen. The lobby’s were filled with guests dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos and then us in our street clothes. The Viennese opera experience was unlike any other theatre performance I have experienced. I did not have visiting the opera on my bucket list, but knowing what I know now, it would be added. Note to self, pack formal wear.
We ended the evening at the well known Viennese cafe Gerstner. It was highly recommended to us by some fellow passengers onboard our cruise. We night capped our evening with Austrian sparkling Rose wine, small plate local dishes and Sacher torte mit schlage, of course. Sacher torte is a signature dessert created by the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. It is also offered at the original Sacher bakery and can be found everywhere.
Final notes on Vienna – the old city is very crowded with tourists, almost over tourism. We purchased the Vienna pass which included the Hop on bus and offered great value for all the top locations we visited in Vienna, with a fast pass entrance. The hop on yellow line is busier than the red line but both visit many of the same stops. If starting or ending a river cruise in Vienna, I recommend at least 2 additional nights to see all this beautiful city has to offer. If not, then Vienna will definitely be on the must visit list again. Lastly, all public bathrooms in Vienna have a fee of .50 euro, even cafe’s. Change is a must when exploring. Vienna coffee houses are everywhere. Cafe Central near the Hop on red line stop 1, and Schwartzenberg Cafe on the Kartner Strauss are 2 of the best.