Danube Odyssey, Part 7

Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace and museums

 

 

1.Flights from Memphis to Budapest, Hungary

7. Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace and museums

2. Budapest Hilton

8.  Cruise on Danube River and Durnstein

3. Visit to Holloko Farming Village

9.  Mozart and Trapp family home of Salzburg

4. Budapest area attraction of Szentendre

10. Weltenburg Monastery near Kelheim

5. Visit to 13th Century Cathedral, Synagogue

11. Nuremberg and Nazi monuments

6. Dreary Bratislava and visit to painters' home

12. Flights from Nuremberg to Memphis

 

Index to Photos / Page Updated Jan. 19, 2008 - (More than 200 additional photos taken on the Nolans' two-week cruise through parts of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia are posted in several Lewis Nolan albums at www.ritzpix.com, a website that requires sign-in)

 

By LEWIS NOLAN

 

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Nov. 18, 2006, Sunday - In Vienna, Austria

 

The boat arrived in Vienna just after breakfast. Vienna is a modern, attractive city that made me think we were at last back in the real

Lewis and Betty outside Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace

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world. I enjoyed the usual bacon and eggs and carried out some pastries to Betty, who had decided to sleep a bit more in our stateroom. She enjoyed a chocolate croissant while we watched the boat dock in the fast-moving, brown waters of the Danube in the shadow of Vienna. I suppose I was duped for decades by listening to the sounds of "Blue Danube" music and was disappointed when the river we saw resembled "Old Muddy," as the mighty Mississippi River is known back home.

 

Fodor's authoritative guidebook says Vienna has been characterized as an "old dowager of a town," an Austro-Hungarian empress who was widowed in 1918 by the Great War. It does have an aristocratic and courtly atmosphere, with monumental doorways and facades of palaces at every turn. It also has in its population a large number of beautiful females of all ages, who on our two cold days in the city were swathed in luxurious furs and knee-high, shiny black leather boots.

 

Most of our time in Vienna was spent in what is called "the Ring," an inner circle that was once the course of city walls today bounded by a broad boulevard rimmed by broad, well-used  sidewalks. A light snow fell for hours and the daylight sky was slate-gray. One needs to walk to see the architectural beauty of Vienna, with the high buildings offering many beautiful and historic views for photographers. Much construction of new office buildings in the central area was underway during our visit.

 

The boat's tour bus stopped at the State Opera House, a classic building where we got off and walked around to see the sights. Nearby

River Explorer cruise ship docked near Vienna

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is the busy Sacher Hotel, which had been recommended to us by Joann Cardon Glass of Atlanta, who recently visited and marveled over its torte desserts. The Opera is considered to be one of the best and most expensive opera venues in Europe.

 

JoAnn, the charming and cultured mother of our daughter-in-law, also particularly enjoyed seeing painter George Klimt's famous work, "The Kiss," in Vienna's Belvedere Palace, which we also liked a lot as well as paintings by Delacroix, Manet and less familiar German-Austrian artists.

 

After an hour-and-a-half, we'd had enough of the palace art and rode a taxi back to the boat. The fare was 15 Euros, or about $22. Quite a few of our fellow passengers took advantage of an evening concert. We enjoyed a quiet evening on the boat following a very good dinner, where I had pan-friend tilapia fillets. Our new friends included John and Ursala Connors of Boston. We looked forward to another day in Vienna, when we would tour the fabulous Schonbrunn Palace.

 

 

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