8:20. We'd arrived at Vienna when I got up at 6:45. It had rained during the night, and the weather is refreshingly cool...at least until the sun comes out full force. Showered, went to the buffet breakfast served in the lounge for my usual coffee, yogurt, and orange juice. I heard from other passengers that was quite a storm, starting around midnight, but I didn't hear a thing.
Will be leaving for a bus tour of the city in 20 minutes, then this afternoon a tour of (well, we'll be visiting 20 rooms of the 1,400 room Schonbrunn Palace. This evening a concert of Mozart and Strauss. Busy day.
Vienna is only a short (relatively) distance from Bratislava, which is only a short (relatively) distance from Budapest. But the cities are, in a way, worlds apart. Vienna is, compared to Bratislava and Budapest, a wealthy city, and it shows. It's as though Bratislava and Budapest had one foot planted firmly in an oppressive past, and one foot tentatively in the future. All have long histories, but Vienna exudes a...what?...vitality that Bratislava and Budapest are trying to achieve.
Got back from the city tour just in time for lunch, and shortly I'll be leaving for a tour of the Schonbrunn Palace, where we will get to see perhaps 20 of the palaces 1,400+ rooms. Touring palaces is nice, but they are always so jammed with people being rushed through by tour guides that the herd phenomenon is always present and strong. Again, guided tours have definite advantages, but they always make me feel like I should be saying “Baaaaaaaa” every few minutes.
Then after returning from the palace, a quick dinner (or what passes for dinner with me) and then on to the Mozart and Strauss concert.
Took so many photos I've worn the battery on the camera down. Hope it will be sufficiently recharged to take with me to the Palace. Will post the photos as soon as I can, but again, probably not until tomorrow.
10:45 Amazing, amazing, wonderful! The concert was held in a salon of a 380-year old castle, in which Mozart composed three of the pieces played. The Vienna Residenzorchetra (“Resident Orchestra) has only 11 members...4 violins, flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion, piano, viola, and cello, but they sounded like a full symphony orchestra. The First Violinist played a Stradivarius! It was almost worth the price of the entire voyage, and was definitely the highlight of the trip thus far. I kind of liked it.
Leaving 1 a.m. For Melk, an abbey in the wine-producing Wachau valley. And now, for me, bedtime.
Dorien will be posting running blogs throughout his trip, and posting photos on his Facebook page (which is the only place he can post so many).