Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 10-Vienna

We had a free morning this morning, so the students saw some of the city on our own. We visited the Hofburg palace, where Hitler once spoke to a crowd of Austrians over 75,000 strong! Today, it is mainly museums. Then we went back to the Schonbrunn palace to tour the palace gardens. In the afernoon we met up with the Professors and two local students for a tour of some of Vienna's parks and museums.

We had a free morning today, so we went to the Hofburg palace, the winter home of the Hapsburgs. This grand estate currently houses many museums relating to the history of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Some of the museums visited were the Royal Crypt, the Crown Jewel museum, the Parliament building, the beautiful flower gardens surrounding the museum, and Saint Augustine's church. We then went back to the Schonnbrunn palace and walked the palatial grounds. In a little under two hour's time, we were able to see maybe 15 to 20 percent of the grounds open to the public. We ran out of time to visit the zoo, the oldest in Europe. After leaving the palace we met a couple of students from the University for another walking tour of some of the parks, Saint Peter's church, and the Parliament building before stopping for refreshments at the beautiful Café Landtmann. The weather was nice enough we were able to sit on the patio during our stay. Following this, we visited yet another Hapsburg palace, the Belvedere. Considering they already had summer and winter estates this must be where they had to spend the rest of their time. There is another large garden area with a two beautiful pool areas, many places for sitting, and great views of the mountains to the west of the city. After leaving the palace, we had dinner at a brew house not even a block away from the palace. Their specialties included schnitzels, stews with various meats, and dishes served with spaetzle, a kind of dumpling popular in Germany and Austria. Following dinner, some of the students visited the Bermuda triangle district of the city. The triangular section just off the historical section of the city is very popular with students and has various cafes, restaurants, and bars.