Vienna is an absolutely amazing and gorgeous city. There are so many beautiful buildings that I could just stare at them all day. Today was the day I got a sore throat, so it did put a hamper on my mood but I was mostly still able to enjoy everything.
After breakfast we took a tour of the lovely city. We passed by an art museum where with painted steps up to the building. That was cool not only because it looked great but because the tour guide told us that local art students get to paint the stairs. They paint a famous piece of art based on what exhibit is being shown at that time.
We also stopped at the Spanish Riding School where a special breed of horses, the Lipizzan, are trained and raised. These horses are thought to be white but most of them are actually grey. They have a darker color when they are young and as they age their color lightens. We got to see some of the horses in their stables which was neat. The tour guide took us around many beautiful buildings and churches but I’m afraid I don’t remember the names or purposes of any of them. I just know I liked looking up and around. Some of the buildings are being renovated but they cover those parts with huge posters of what it will look like, so it doesn’t detract much from the attractiveness of the city.
When the tour was over we headed to a Catholic church for a Christmas concert. We listened to an orchestra play a few songs before heading back out. It was nice to be in a warm place and to have a moment to pause on Christmas Day and hear beautiful music. It was odd to me, however, when priests came by with their incense and smoke. It smelled absolutely horrible and it amazed me that some Catholics have to breathe that in every week.
We walked around Vienna some more, taking in the sights, until we paused at a little museum cafe. I shared an apple pastry with Gene while the others mostly got coffee. Then we went into the Hofburg Wien: Kaiserappartements museum. This was the residence of the Habsburgs and was most famously known to be the place that Franz Joseph and Elisabeth (Sisi) lived. The museum has two parts. The first part is made up of rooms and rooms of dishes. Every kind of dish and utensil you can probably imagine can be found there. Sets and sets of dishes, all used by the royal family. It is absolutely mind blowing. They had a gold set for when other royalty was there. They had sets they received as gifts and sets they had commissioned. These dishes were hand painted too, which makes it even more fascinating. And the center pieces. Oh my goodness, they stretched for meters. Huge, gaudy pieces that took up most of the table. I’m not sure how these people ate with so much going on!
The second part of the museum was where Franz and Sisi lived. We were able to see their bedrooms and their offices and multiple drawing rooms. These people had way more rooms than they needed. It was so interesting to get to see how the royal family lived in the 1800s.
After the museum we walked around a Christmas market. This one had some cool things but I didn’t buy anything here either. I had a hard time justifying buying anything that I thought I could probably find in the U.S. I did enjoy browsing though. I wish we had markets like this in the U.S. I know Denver has one but it’s only open for a week I think and I missed it so I’ll have to try to go next year and see how it compares. There’s something about being outdoors that I liked, seeing people eating warm food and drinking warm drinks, it was very inviting.
We took the subway back to our ship, had some dinner, and went to bed early. I was so tired and was feeling pretty crappy by that time that I was asleep before 9:30pm. It was the best idea though because after all the rest I got I felt so much better the next day. And that was good because we got to go to Durnstein and Melk that day!
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