Vienna, Austria: We realize three days in Vienna isn't enough time to explore Vienna, but this is all the time we could find and three days in Vienna is far better than no days in Vienna.
We started our morning with another strudel test, knowing full-well the apple strudel I had yesterday at Cafe Central could never win. It was pretty, but the pastry didn't taste very good and the apples were far too crunchy to be considered for any type of "best strudel" category contention at all in any way.
At Cafe Central yesterday, Martin ordered a plate with a soft boiled egg and breads. By the time his breakfast had arrived, Dave, Shirley and I had finished our pastries and had ordered a second coffee. This morning, we had all finished our pastries before Martin's eggs (scrambled today) arrived. From now on, we insist Martin order his eggs to moment he sits down.
I do not need to mention the glorious, dense, dark, tender breads, do I?
Our plan for the day was to visit the open-air market - the Naschmarkt - and then continue on to visit Schloss Schonbrunn. Again, the temperatures climbed above 90 degrees. Today there was also a cloud cover in the morning, turning Vienna into a sauna. The Naschmarkt has been a gathering place in Vienna for over 500 years. Fresh fruits and vegetables, restaurants, fish mongers, butchers, craftspeople - and a lot of touristy junk - are sold from small kiosks lining the Wien River for about a mile. It was fun looking through the stalls in the market, but a bit frustrating not having a kitchen to prepare any of the beautiful foods. I had never seen the huge (and I mean HUGE) red olives before. A vendor gave me a sample and the red olive tasted exactly like an olive. Later, I learned the olives are dyed red. I did not ask with what or why.
After the market stroll, we caught the hop-on hop-off tourist bus and continued to the Schonbrunn Palace - the magnificent rural estate of the Hapsburg family, used as the summer home of Maria Theresa. The palace and grounds are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photography is not allowed inside the palace (see video tour link below), but we spent a few hours exploring the grounds via a shuttle train (hop-on hop-off again!) that circled through the estate. This allowed DT to see everything and not have to walk much. Shirley outside Schloss Schonbrunn Schloss Schonbrunn We walked a bit through a garden on the side of the castle Art everywhere The rear of Schloss Schonbrunn View from the rear of the castle, up the hill to the Gloriette - built in 1775 Gardens Gloriette View from the Gloriette, back to the palace The Orangerie (greenhouse) on the grounds
After returning to downtown on the hop-on hop-off - sitting in the hot sun - we were all parched and tired.View of the Opera House from the bus Vienna street scene - the buildings are so beautiful Flower stall in Vienna An ice cold beer was just what we needed after our day of touristing And... a snack of gravlox on toast Shirley & Martin
After a rest, we walked to the Jewish Quarter for dinner at Ellas in the Judenplatz, across from the Holocaust Memorial.Gnocchi - with olives Chicken with red beets and sweet potatoes After seeing so much beauty today, we were all taken aback by a display in window of the Prada shop we passed on the way back to our hotel after dinner. Men's shoes. Only $1008 US dollars.
Until my next update, I remain, your palatial correspondent.