Saturday, September 20th, 1997 Vienna, Austria
Up about 7:30 AM we leisurely prepared for the day and didn't eat breakfast at 8:30 in the dining room. The breakfast room was very full, many Americans and so it was unusually noisy compared to other mornings. Decided to buy lunch so only Jim made himself a sandwich to go.
Started out walking with lots of layers of clothing. On the cool side, but no rain in sight but we took our umbrellas just in case. Our first visit this morning was to see the inside of the Spanish Riding School located within a block of our hotel. Good try but we needed tickets which have been sold out for weeks. We weren’t really surprised as we had read months ago that this would probably be impossible to get to see.
We walked for about an hour through city streets teaming with activity. Street vendors and early shoppers; horse drawn carriages; children soliciting donations for Children’s Hospital; young adults dressed in period costumes selling tickets for concerts; plus lots of window shopping! We finally arrived at the area known as Hundertwasserhaus. An apartment house complex designed by an artist. The structure looks like it was designed by someone with a funny streak who liked vivid colors and lots of variety.
From there we continued to walk east towards the river and an amusement park known as the Praterstrasse which has the largest Ferris Wheel in the world. It is known as the Wiener Riesenrad and is celebrating 100 years of existence this year. It was destroyed in WW II and then rebuilt. It has little rooms instead of the normal seats.... and you can walk around during the spin around. It actually goes rather slowly and you only go around once. Shari has a problem with height and small spaces; but she was a trooper and went up with us for the ride. Really got a fantastic view of Vienna from the top. Then Dave and I went for two fast roller coaster rides before we all stopped for lunch in the park. Shari splurged and had a strawberry dessert that was really rich while Jim had soup (with his sandwich from the hotel at breakfast) and Dave & I had pizza. A fun lunch eaten outside under the rides!
We then went to watch the parade of trolley cars celebrating 100 years. Very, very old ones were brought out of storage for the parade. Only watched part of it as we continued to walk back into the city looking for a way to get a boat ride on the Danube River. Finally found the place and went on an hour ride. Crowded, but interesting. The sun was very hot as we sat outside during the ride. At one point they rocked the boat to the tune of the Blue Danube Waltz.
After the boat ride we headed for the hotel and a change of clothes. Shari needed to call her daughter and we decided to dress up for dinner. Shari realized her black jacket was missing so we made a trip to the car prior to looking for a restaurant. That was an experience in itself! But we finally found the car and the jacket was in the car! Then came the time to locate a place to eat dinner. Always a challenge; this time didn’t prove any easier; but we did it again and accidentally found a wonderful chain restaurant called Wienerwald which specialized in Chicken dishes. English menus; smoke free dining room in very good condition. From the outside it looked like a take out style with only a few tables. What a surprise when we got inside! Everyone really enjoyed their dinner.
A nice slow walk home with stops to check on church times for Jim & I and times for the Kaiserapartments for Dave & Shari.