Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 8- Bratislava to Vienna

Today we travelled from Bratislava to Vienna. We first stopped at the Schonbrunn Palace. After checking into our hotel, we were given a short walking tour of the historical part of the city.

Because of the close proximity of Bratislava and Vienna, we took a bus to this history rich city from Bratislava. We made an initial stop at Schonnbrunn palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs. We took the grand tour, which allows visitors to see 40 of the rooms of the palace. We also walked a quick circuit of the immense palace grounds.
After checking into our hotel, we met our local guide who started our walking tour by showing us the national opera house. We were allowed to see a considerably large portion of the place, including the area where the emperor would take tea and entertain guests during intermission. The room is now available for rent at the bargain price of 500 euro for 20 minutes! The opera house has primarily baroque but also some renaissance elements to its design.
Our next stop was the basilica of Saint Stephen, which is Gothic in design. The exterior of the church is made of sandstone, which requires more frequent upkeep. There is a ceramic mosaic, and the interior of the church has elements of gothic, baroque, and renaissance elements. After leaving the church we walked along the Ringstrasse, the area where the city walls were located historically.
We were shown a few other areas of the town, including the location of the Mozart Haus, a historical museum of the composer's life, and the location of a house still maintained by the Teutonic Order. Following the tour, we went to Vienna's nasch-market quarter for dinner. The market stretches over 1.5 km, and is Vienna's most popular market. The restaurant where we ate featured fairly classic Viennese cuisine with schnitzels and sauerkraut being most prevalent. After dinner, we walked along the market as the fishmongers, vinegar makers, and small wine shops were closing for the night.