31. October 2018
24 hours in Austria with Amadeus
On 31st October 2018, I was lucky enough to board Amadeus Queen in Passau, ready to sail the first four nights of the Danube Rhapsody itinerary. While we flew into Germany and disembarked in Budapest, this blog is focused on the 24 hours that were spent in Vienna.
After very peaceful afternoon spent in the Amadeus Club, reading a book and taking in the scenic sailing in the Wachau Valley, we arrived into Vienna in the early evening. After a wonderful four-course dinner of local cuisine, I was invited to the ‘Sound of Vienna’, my first classical concert.
Located in the music hall in the centre of Vienna, ‘Kursalon Hübner’ has a great rooftop veranda to spend the intermission. The concert included music from Mozart and Strauss, opera singers, dancers and some comedy thrown in. It really was a spectacular evening and was rounded off with a small sightseeing tour of Vienna by night, before returning to the ship for a midnight snack of Goulash and bread rolls. Looking forward to a full day of sightseeing in Vienna the next day, I headed back to my stateroom.
After an early breakfast (eggs, bacon, cereal, omelettes, toast, fresh fruit, continental, anything you can imagine, all buffet style... one of the best bits of the day), we were ready for our first excursion of the day, a ‘City Tour of Vienna’. We left the ship and all boarded the coach for the first part which was a view of Vienna from the road along the famous Ringstrasse, passing trams and horse and carts, as well as buildings like the stunning opera house where we watched our concert the previous night.
We were then dropped in the city centre and continued the tour on foot, stopping by the Hofburg Imperial Palace which was being set up for the Christmas market. We continued sightseeing until we reached the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. We then enjoyed some free time to wonder the shops, find a souvenir or a cup of coffee, or take a walk further into the cathedral. Meeting up with our tour guide once more, we walked back to the bus and were driven back to the ship ready for a fabulous lunch.
The afternoon excursion departed at 2pm and we drove a little way out of the city to the Schönbrunn Palace, the imperial summer residence. Spectacular fountains and lawns laid before a grand building with four floors that looked as though it had been put together like a child’s toy set. It was so symmetrical with no difference in the colouring of the windows and walls.
We were escorted around the building by our tour guide, whose knowledge had no limits. The Palace was home to the famous Habsburgs, Maria Theresa, who married Franz Stephan and gave birth to 16 children during her life time, being the most prominent name mentioned. There was no doubt that she wore the trousers in the relationship. Our guide pointed out that, in a painting hanging in the palace that shows her husband and eleven of her children, her husband and eldest son are pointing in her direction, suggesting “she’s the boss”.
This was followed with free time to explore the gardens and, if time had permitted, the oldest zoo in the world, which is located in the grounds. With the sun setting over the lawns and gardens, I can’t imagine a better way to have ended our time in Vienna.
I loved Vienna. Our time there was short but so much was packed in that I feel like we left no stone unturned. And after a long day of shore excursions, the ship felt like home. Although, I don’t get five- course dinners at home very often!
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