With Lots Of Snow :)
11.01.2013 - 12.01.2013 -5 °C
Well we are nearing the end of our amazing journey through Europe and while we're happy to be leaving for home and all the people we are missing tomorrow, it will also be hard to leave a city as beautiful as Vienna. We have probably enjoyed our time here the most out of everywhere as we have had lots to see and do and the people are friendly and our hotel is excellent!
On Friday morning we were very disappointed as we looked out our hotel morning expecting snow thanks to the forecasts but only finding rain. We managed to get ourselves down to breakfast with the promise of a day of full on sightseeing and as we were sitting having our eggs, bacon and croissants (and staying away from the weird selection of sliced meat and salad on the breakfast buffet??) we realised people were starting to point out the window and we looked around to find that the rain had in fact turned to snow!! It was very light but terribly exciting nonetheless, so we headed back up to our room quickly and put on some extra layers before going outside to take some photos. Unfortunately the snow did not show up well on our cameras because it was quite light, but Renae managed to get one of it all settled on my dark hair which seemed very romantic a shot but also kind of looked like I just had a bad case of dandruff..... Anyway, we took lots of shots in the snow and then decided to try and look a little less tourist like, and walked calmly through the park and towards the tram that would take us to the Hofburg Palace, where we had purchased tickets to see the famous Lipizzaner horses training in the Spanish Riding School. Their training session went for 2 hours and during that time there were four sets of about 5 horses being put through their paces of different steps and on some occasions little tricks. It was very interesting to see how they conditioned and trained the horses to respond to different noises and commands and even more interesting when the occasional horse got sick of it and chucked a bit of a tantrum, haha. I'm very glad I was with Renae as she knew quite a lot about what they were called and how difficult the certain steps were and how old the horses looked, so I learnt a lot during the morning.
After this finished we headed back out to find the snow had died down and left a very light covering over the ground which made everything look even more storybook like than it had before. Our next stop was out to Schonbrunn Palace so we caught their version of the underground and then walked for a while until we rounded the corner and were faced with the impressive, yellow facade of the Habsburgs summer residence. We bought tickets to see inside the palace and headed inside to get our audio guides. I had been here before on a previous Europe trip but enjoyed this one so much more as it was no longer holidays over here and therefore a lot quieter than my previous visit. We often had rooms to ourselves and got to take our time looking over the small details rather than being pushed and rushed by other tourists who seem to lack the understanding or need for personal space. After walking through the palace and learning a little about the Habsburgs (particularly Maria Theresa, Franz Joseph, his wife Sisi and Marie Antoinette who we know was later beheaded in the Place de la Conchord in Paris during the French Revolution) we headed outside to wander through the gardens and up to the Gloriette. This is up a large sloping grassed area and has large archways and a beautiful view down to the Palace and over it to the city of Vienna. Definitely worth the walk up there and really not to exhausting considering the stamina our legs have built up during this trip! After this we walked back to the underground and manoeuvred our way through their public transport system to end up back at our hotel for some time to dethaw and relax before going to a little cafe down the street for dinner. After all our walking and the exercising we have been doing in our hotel room at night time we decided that we also deserved some dessert, so we stopped at a little Konditorei and each bought a treat to take back to our hotel.
This morning after breakfast we headed towards the Museum of Natural History. It was am absolutely beautiful, sunny morning and while still freezing cold was a pleasure to be outside, but we had heard great things about this museum and as it was listed as one of the Top 10 in the world, we decided it must be worth a visit. Boy were we right! There were two massive levels full of dinosaur fossils and rebuilt skeletons, stuffed animals, creepy underwater animals in big glasses of some liquid and meteorites that had landed across the world. We were very excited by all of these displays and spent a good few hours wandering around marvelling at the Allosaurus, Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Mammoth, Elephant, Giraffe, Panda, Whale.... you get the picture. As we dragged ourselves out of this amazing building in search of some lunch, we discovered that it had again started to snow We decided that snow could definitely not get old as it makes everything look so much more romantic, so happily strolled along in it towards the centre of town where we stopped at what turned out to be a weirdly decorated restaurant for lunch. After that we did some souvenir shopping and got the last of our little presents for family back home (don't expect anything too exciting guys because we have very little suitcase room!) and then had our obligatory Starbucks stop. There was one thing still on our 'to see' list of Vienna, so we headed towards Minorenplatz to find a little church that I remembered from the last trip and to see the amazing mosaic of The Last Supper that was on the side wall. After a little searching in the icy wind we managed to find the church and headed inside but were quite disappointed as it was quite dark by this time and the lack of lighting in the church meant that the art work was all in shadow and very difficult to see. There was, however, a man practising a hymn so that was nice and authentic (if you ignored the mistakes). We grabbed some dinner on the way back to our hotel where we have been doing major repack work on our suitcases to make sure everything fits back in, interspersed by breaks of wedding idea searching on Pinterest
So as this is my final blog for the trip, I have one unfinished task. I made a promise before I left that I would list what I missed most about my sister Kate and after much debate I have decided on three things and I hope you are being good and reading all my blogs so that I don't say this for no reason! The first thing is that when you try to give my sneak hugs and although I protest, I secretly like them The second is your sharp wit, which although often brutal, always leaves me in stitches! And the third is that we are, for now, at a stage where we can share clothes, and that is always fun! So there you go, mission accomplished. In the interest of familial harmony, however, I would also like to let Lauren know that I am missing your stories and how you always say I'm pretty and mean it And Nick, I am missing my big bro who looks after me and I can't wait for a massive hug when I walk in the door! Can't wait for a good, long chat and snuggle with mum and dad too
So for anyone reading this, I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our adventures while overseas and that I have maybe inspired you to come and check out these beautiful places for yourselves. Travelling is something you will never regret! In closing (have somehow made this sound like a speech so will run with that) I would like to say that I am so happy that I got to do this trip with such an amazing person and that I think there are very few people who could put up with me for 24 hours in a day and for 29 days all up, but Renae has managed to do this and has been so much fun and such a chilled out travel partner. I love having another sister and I especially love that we got to see all these places together and now have so many fun memories to look back on when we are all old and wrinkly
See you all the next time I step on a plane! Xo Claire