Because we know that our time here in Germany is coming to an end, we’ve begun to visit some of the places that are still on our list to see before we make our way back to the States. Oddly enough, we had yet to really spend any time in Austria. Outside of driving through briefly on our way between parts of southern Germany, we’ve never really seen much of it. So, we rectified that with a trip down to Vienna.
We wanted to stay in the downtown area to limit the amount of time getting to see the heart of the city, so we stayed in a hotel not too far from the city center. The location was great, but it had a few surprises for us once we arrived. The biggest one being that we had to share a bathroom with an adjoining room. Not the greatest hotel that we’ve stayed in, but certainly helped us to see more of the city due to its close proximity.
Our first day we stopped by the Schonbrunn Palace, that was the imperial summer residence of the Habsburg family that ruled over Austrian empire. The palace was enormous and was impressively appointed inside. One of the highlights was seeing the room where Mozart played for the royal family at the age of six. We then walked around the gardens and found the Vienna Zoo that was located within the garden grounds. The zoo was quite impressive and had a large list of animals, and we enjoyed seeing tigers, monkeys, rhinos, bats, elephants, penguins and many others.
Our second day we spent walking through the heart of the city and saw some of the more well-known sites such as: St. Stephens Cathedral, Hofburg Palace, the Rathaus, and the Karlskirche. We even stopped by the Sacher Cafe to have some of the “world famous” Sachertorte cake, but were a little underwhelmed with the taste. It’s just another example of how Europeans and Americans have different opinions on what level of sweetness preferred in desserts. That night we went to a concert at the Wiener Muzikverein, where the orchestra was dressed in Baroque-style whigs and clothes as they played works written by Mozart. The concert lasted about an hour and a half, and was quite nice due to the great music and impressive decorative style of the music hall itself.
For our last full day, we did a lot of walking around and saw some of the city outside the inner-most ring. It was a very nice day to just explore without looking for anything in particular. That evening we went and did something that we thought was quite neat: Exit the Room. Essentially, Exit the Room is a place where they lock you in a room and you have to solve puzzles to get yourself out within one hour. It was really fun, but we just missed the hour mark by 40 seconds. Definitely one of the highlights of this trip.