Sunday, August 9, 2015

Touring Vienna by Bus

We had decided to go to the Danube River, and just so you know, it is a lovely shade of blue, and since we haven’t figured out the metro system, even yet, decided just to walk/roll and see where we got to. Out through the Museums Quarter again because the elevator system puts us conveniently close to the old district, we walked past more museums in palatial buildings and stumbled onto a hop on hop off bus doing city tours.

Statue of Empress Maria Theresa

Oh well since we are sometimes spontaneous we hitched, paid for, a ride. They have a deal for both Vienna and Budapest so we signed up since we’ll be in Budapest mid-August. Now these hop/on/off busses are really touristy but they do provide a good overlook of a city and we use them in large cities. 

We first stopped at Schoenbrunn Palaceönbrunn_Palace and since we’d seen it we just had a mediocre lunch there. The line ups to buy tickets were horrendous. I am so glad we did the tour of the interior, gardens and zoo when my legs were a lot younger! It is a fabulous place, a not to miss in Vienna in my mind, but I remember hardly being able to walk to the metro to get back to the hotel, so tired. 

Outside Belvedere Palace

Then we stopped at the Belvedere Castle and grounds, again not too much touring but a delightful spot. 

Sphinx Statue, human head, lion body representing strength and intelligence

Meanwhile on the bus we wound through Vienna in one direction, the opposite of where we’d planned, to the river, but that’s okay. We bought a 48 hour ticket so we can go the opposite direction tomorrow or Saturday. 

Parliament Building

Many people, read experienced travellers, think these buses are a waste of money, if you do the research ahead you can take a regular bus(s) at a fraction of the cost and see everything. I don’t agree, firstly because, call me lazy, but I don’t want to do all the research, I want to learn but it’s so much easier just plugging in and listening. Secondly, we can afford the easier way. Thirdly, the tour operators are usually really nice people and yes, they get paid to be, but truly most we’ve met are knowledgable about the city, the tours and the sights. 

Our first driver was a hoot, the ramp coming off was quite steep and she stood in front to “catch” Bruce, scared me, didn’t want her or her toes run over! She had long pretty nails and had to pull up the ramp handle very carefully so as not to damage them which she carried off with aplomb. The woman who sold us our ticket was also very knowledgable and told us snippets of information we didn’t get on the tour, good sales person, friendly but not pushy. Anyway it was a lovely day, not to hot and full of touristic sightseeing. Vienna is a beautiful city and we get to see more of it tomorrow including the Danube River.

Coffee - Important in Vienna! This is the smallest house.

Aside, a reminiscence since a fruit fly just landed in my drink. I was with my ex-husband and we met a couple who were friends from Germany. The male friend wore knee length dress shorts, probably lived in them looking at his tan. He was asked to leave since shorts weren’t “appropriate attire” for the patio according to this ritzy hotel’s rules, it is a patio in summer, come on! So he left, went to the nearby hotel, changed, came back, ordered a drink and had a fruit fly land inside it. Not a happy man now, he said “this fly is wearing shorts please remove it and give me a new drink”. 

It's an ATM! At Praterstern permanent fairgrounds with the oldest ferris wheel

Second day of touring Vienna in the opposite direction of yesterday. We got to the Danube and walked to a park alongside it called Bundesbaeder Alte Donau, Federal Bathing place in Donau where we had to pay two euros each to get in. The park was full of families in swimming togs, some having picnics, some eating at the small outdoor restaurant. There were some very tanned people about, so this must be a regular outing for them. Back on the bus to return to the centre and a large family boarded the children were good, just restless and everyone talked the entire time, got a bit tiring for us. The audio function didn’t work which was a shame because that’s an important part of learning what all those beautiful buildings are, and would have helped tune out the noise.

Arsenal Museum

When people come to Vienna they expect and do see many old, ornate buildings but the modern ones are beautiful as well. 

Striking, perhaps maybe a stretch to call it beautiful

Many large companies have headquarters in the Donau District and they have built strikingly modern buildings there. We can see the tops of some of them from the flat so it was good to look at them up close.

So that was our two days of sightseeing, and it was a good thing we did it then, it's very hot here now.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

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