Our first sight of snow for the trip :)
08.01.2013 - 10.01.2013 -1 °C
So we arrived in Vienna on Tuesday night and as we walked out of the train station we noticed that there was snow all over the floor and the tops of the parked cars and the gardens!!! We were very excited but also wanted to get inside of our warm hotel, so caught a taxi and were very pleasantly surprised by the standard of the Hotel Regina. Not only were the bell boys and front desk staff very friendly, the hotel is right across the road from the Votivkirche and we can see it straight out our room window. They also have classical music piped into the foyer and lifts and beautiful high ceilings and art work. Ok, so enough raving about our hotel. We decided to go for an easy mean at an Irish pub right around the corner and had massive burgers and a really weird version of Malibu and coke, which was some sort of coconut syrup but was surprisingly good. We planned on an early night but ended up talking for longer than we thought and therefore had a bit of a sleep in the next morning.
After breakfast at our hotel we walked into the main part of town (10 minutes) and found the Hofburg Buildings. These are so impressively large and white and detailed that we took quite a long time taking photos and appreciating the different sculptures over it before looking inside the foyer of the ancient library in one and climbing up to the roof of another to look down on the city streets. We also found the Mozart statue in the gardens and the Spanish Riding School. By then we were really cold, the temperature seems to have dropped even more severely than in Switzerland, so we headed to Starbucks to warm up. Being the Starbucks connoisseurs that we now are, we happily discovered that not only does Vienna have the cheapest menu but also the best cappuccinos After that happy revelation, and some time to de thaw, we wandered through the beautiful main streets of Vienna and marvelled at the huge chandeliers that hang over them and the high end brand's window displays. We also found a Forever 21 store which is similar to Forever New back home and which we could have spent the rest of the afternoon in gazing and dreaming at all the cute jewellery and clothes. We managed, miraculously, to drag ourselves out the doors and after looking around some more and taking a few more tourist snaps we headed back to our hotel to get changed for dinner. Thanks to the ridiculous amount of Italian stores all over Europe and particularly surrounding our hotel area, we ended up having spaghetti for dinner and then came back to our hotel to plan out what else we wanted to see in Vienna and when to fit it all in.
This planning led us get up earlier this morning (Thursday) and purchase a Vienna card (allowing unlimited public transport use and museum/attraction reductions) before heading to the Upper Belvedere Palace. This place was chosen because it holds much of Vienna's famous art works and is currently doing a special display of one of Renae's favourite artists, Gustav Klimt, and holds his most famous painting, "The Kiss". We were extremely excited to walk into the Palace which holds these pieces, not only because it was warm inside, but also because the architecture and the interior decoration were breathtaking. We had sore necks after the first few rooms just from looking up at the ceiling paintings! The Klimt display certainly did not disappoint and there were lots of other impressive works throughout including some Monet and Van Gogh. We were feeling very cultured as we left and headed to a grocery store nearby to get some fresh fruit and cheese and biscuits for a picnic lunch but then decided we wanted to come back home with all our limbs intact rather than lost to frost bite, so moved our picnic to our hotel room and sat looking out at our lovely view of Votivkirche.
After lunch we went back into town so that Renae could replace her new Swatch watch, which she had discovered a fault in, and then we went back to the Swarovski shop so that I could buy a ring I had seen in there yesterday and decided I wanted as a keepsake for our trip. It is rather excessively large and probably not something I can wear in Toowoomba, but will be nice for any big occasions I ever get to go to down the track We are constantly surprised over here at the amount of dogs in town and even more particularly at the amount of them inside department stores, restaurants and even high fashion boutiques. It makes us laugh to think if taking Charlie and Moët anywhere in public and how they would react to the crowds and the other dogs, or even the pigeons! After spending some more time wandering the streets and soaking in the calm Viennese atmosphere (and being hassled to buy tickets to an orchestra performance that night) we found a really cool looking Sushi place and stopped there for an early dinner. I mistook the blob of Wasabi on my plate for a blob of avocado and spent the next ten minutes breathing fire, but aside from that we both decided it was the best meal we had had on the trip and were feeling nice and healthy as we headed back to our hotel in the biting cold wind. Right now we are sitting in our cute little attic style room and listening to music as we catch up on our blog/diary entries and get ready for an early night. Only 2 more days and then we head home on Sunday Excited to see everyone again but am definitely feeling settled in Vienna and this comfy hotel!