This morning Sarah and I start off by catching the tour bus into Vienna central. Our plan is to leave the tour as soon as it heads off on foot and instead visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum in hopes of finding some more early Renaissance pieces. We walk along the Maria Theresa platz where the workmen are setting up for the Christmas Market which will start in a few weeks. The Christmas markets are a big deal in Europe. In fact Viking has a whole river cruise centered around visiting them. We went to the market in Milan once. It was crazy busy and filled with all sorts of Christmas gifts and specialty foods.
In the platz there is a big statue of the former Empress. Maria Theresa’s father, Emperor Charles VI, made sure before he died that the succession of the Habsburg Empire would continue through his daughter. She reigned for 40 years during the 18th century and is much revered in Austria.
We walk over to the art museum only to find that it does not open until 10 AM. We have almost half and hour to find something to do, preferably inside since it is quite chilly. We decide to do as the Austrians do and have coffee. We find a nearby cafe, Burg.Ring 1, and settle in for some fine coffee drinking. We each order the Franziskaner which is espresso, hot milk, and whipped cream. They even include a delectable little cookie. This is a half hour well-wasted!
We head back to the museum and go about trying to find the old stuff we are looking for. Unfortunately it does not seem that this museum has that kind of old stuff. 1500 is about as far back as it goes. But no big deal, there is plenty of other stuff to see. Such as—
After several hours, Sarah and I leave the museum and head towards the Cathedral Square, but first lunch! Since we have been having a lot of regional favorites on the boat we opt for Italian food.We stop at Ristorante da Gennaro and have pizza!
Now we head to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Ground was broken for the cathedral in 1137 but it was not completed until 1578.
The interior of the church looks like it could use a good cleaning. Everything is dark with grime and the interior is not well-lit. On top of that we are barred from getting up close to the altarpieces.
On our way into Vienna the tour guide gave everyone very clear directions for how to get around in Vienna. We are given a metro map and see that there is a route from St. Stephens to near the boat. While it will cost at least 10 Euros by cab to get back to the boat, it will take less than 5 Euros for the two of us to take the subway. Since we have found our way around Budapest by subway we figure Vienna will be easy as well. And it is! The ticket machines give you a choice of languages and take credit cards. At dinner a few people had ventured beyond the Viking tours but we were the only ones to have taken the metro. Good job us!!
Dinner is not terribly successful tonight. I opt for rolled, stuffed eggplant which is terrible. Sarah’s Wiener schnitzel is much better.