Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last day in Vienna

After a good night's rest in Hotel Bock and a great breakfast, we headed out for a full day in Vienna. We drove around town to have our orientation tour. First stop was at the Belvedere Palace.

Next was to the garden with the much photograph monument of Johann Strauss, the waltz king of Vienna.

We then moved further out to the Schonbrunn Palace, another tourist favourite.

We joined a guided tour inside the palace and the interior is much more impressive than the exterior. From here we went to visit the Hundertwasserhaus, a fairy-tale looking house that is also a tourist attraction. On looking back, this looks a bit like something out of Gaudi of Barcelona.

While waiting for dinner, we had some free time and we spent walking and people watching along the main pedestrian shopping street of Vienna. It's the Karntner Street if I am not mistaken.

After a wonderful local Viennese dinner, we headed back to the Schonbrunn Palace for a little night Viennese music. For the tourists in summer, they usually have a light classical program either at the Schonbrunn Palace or at the Theatre an der Wien in town for similar ticket prices. For better acoustic, choose the theatre but for the atmosphere, choose the Palace. We had a mixture of operatic songs, music and dance and of course, the Blue Danube as the finale.
There was a make-shift stage with creaking wooden floor and it was also very warm that night. So the acoustic was poor but the atmosphere was great as you imagine yourself sharing the concert with the Emperor of Austria in the Grand Gallery of the palace.

Thus ended our visit to Vienna and holiday in Eastern Europe as on the next morning we headed for the airport and Home Sweet Home.

Ronald Kwok

Friday, September 17, 2010

Free afternoon in Vienna

Once we arrived in Vienna, we had the afternoon free and we were left to wander around the park near the Parliament area, viewing all the historical buildings nearby.

After that we had our dinner before we checked into our Hotel. This was again the Hotel Austria Bock where we stayed when we first landed in Vienna. We had a room with a nice view overlooking the lake. The surrounding is very relaxing but it is out of town so it is difficult to do your own outing to town. Well, you cannot have everything.

Ronald Kwok.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Melk and Kems wine tasting

My apologies to those following this Blog for the interruptions because of my holidays in Germany so I better finish off my travel in Eastern Europe first.

After the excitement of the salt mine and the tranquility of the lake view, we made our way to Vienna the next day. On the way, we stopped at Melk. This is by the bank of the river Danube and the town is most famous for the Baroque Benedictine abbey with beautiful interiors and ceiling paintings.

The garden outside the main gate

Exterior views of the Melk abbey

Some views of the interior.

We had lunch in the restaurant in the garden of the abbey. The food was good and from here we proceeded towards Vienna. On the way we pass through the vine growing area of Austria where the main town was Krems. We then stopped at a winery near Krems (can't remember the name of this winery) for a tour. This winery is pretty new and we enjoyed a state of the art presentation on their wine production in their modern theatre. In addition to the audio and visual element, it had an olfactory part where you can smell the fruits associated with the wine.

A winery visit is not complete without the customary wine tasting. In fact we had two sessions, one outdoor and another one indoor so everyone one us was a bit high after the visit.

From here, we continued our journey to Vienna.
Ronald Kwok.