Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vienna - Day 2

We debated our options for today.  There are two hop on hop off bus tours running in the city, but they seemed fairly expensive to us.  So we opted for public transportation.  Vienna has commuter trains, subways and the tram.  The trams are great.  They run on city streets in the same lanes as the cars.  We could not figure out how to pay a fare (honest, we looked) so the tram option ended up being a free hop on hop off.
The first place we went was the Belevedere Palace. It was built in the 1600s as a summer palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy.  There are upper and lower palaces.  Being a prince back then required a lot of real estate.  He had the two palaces, a zoo, and huge stables for all of his horses.  It's not as impressive as Versailles, but it's pretty big. The stables have been turned into an art museum.

Look at that person with an over-inflated sense of worth.  He deliberately turned in front of an oncoming tram to let out a passenger.  Then he was unable to complete his U turn.  Two cabs had to leave to give him enough room to get out of the street.  The tram driver was not amused.

We ended up not spending much time at the Belvedere because we saw other interesting stuff on the way out there and we wanted to go look.  This is the Soviet War Memorial.  At the end of WWII Stalin sent soldiers to liberate Austria from the Germans.   Stalin's actual goal was to occupy Austria and add it to his collection of countries that would end up behind the Iron Curtain.  The memorial was built in 1945 during a brutal occupation of the country.  The Austrians don't like it, and there was discussion of tearing it down.  When Putin visited in 2007, he thanked the citizens for leaving it standing.

After the memorial, we got back on the D tram to go to St. Stephan's Cathedral.  However, first there was much retail to navigate.  The street going towards the cathedral has been closed to cars.  There were people everywhere.  There also a lot of high dollar stores there.

This is the cathedral.  It's one of those places that's too big to get a picture of from the street.  I need a drone.  It's hard to see, but the roof is tiled.  Some form of a religious building has been on that site since the early 1100s.  Isn't that amazing?

There's a fence inside to keep people out of most of the church.  One must pay for a tour to see the front section.  There was a significant line waiting to go in so we didn't do it.

It's an old part of Vienna.  Look at the architecture of all of those old buildings.

Why, then, was this ugly hotel allowed to be built looking like this?  Talk about an eyesore and not fitting in with the neighbors.

After this, it was back on the D tram.  My feet were starting to die from walking. We took the tram for one stop and then got off to see what we would see.

We saw this!  It's a conservatory that's attached to someone else's set of palaces.  It's full of  palm trees and butterflies.  We were going to pay money and go in, but it was about 90 degrees and humid, so we bailed.

We had to cut the sight seeing short today.  I was starting to limp on both feet so we headed back to the ranch.  We need to spend some time reorganizing our luggage.  The bike tour starts in the morning, so bike stuff needs to be moved from the bottom of the luggage to the top. 


  1. Love the history in Europe! Good thing you're biking tomorrow, give those feet a chance to (sort of) rest!

  2. I just started reading your last 21, count 'em, blog posts...I am seriously behind due to our own travels. Your building photos are glorious! Agree totally about that hotel -- does not fit in at all.