Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Europe Trip - Part 13

Tuesday September 2

Waking up we could hear the rain. Sigh!!!
On the way to breakfast. Our hotel is very old. The reception gentleman said something about 1700s and that they have to be careful what they do to it.

That explains the lift on the outside of the building in the courtyard. We are on the third floor. I would not want to drag my suitcase up especially those steps.

Cosy breakfast rooms. How they got half-teapots and half-teacups up on the wall is beyond me.

Honey. James loves this with the comb.

Boiled eggs on hot sand to keep them warm.

Outside our room in the hallway.

Front of the hotel.

Right around the corner the "Graben" (name of the street).

I always liked that you find drinking fountains quite often in Amerika in tourist areas, but this beats it. And even in English!

First thing we decided to visit the St. Stephen's Cathedral. Somehow it was a bit of a let-down and I don't know why. James and I love to visit churches, sit down for a minute, say a prayer. Here you could go around and look at the side altars but there was a high wrought iron fence and you had to pay to go into the middle.

Since it was raining and we were still near the hotel we decided to take advantage of the offer of umbrellas. When we got going again this just came past the front door.

We thought since it was raining it would be good to do indoor things. We walked to the Wiener Staatsoper to take a tour. Well, too bad. Tours only at 2 and 3 pm. O.k. We will came back. Albertina Museum first. It is not far. This is the fountain in front of it.

James observes: mermaids have one fishtail, mermen have two?

In the Albertina we have to give up our raincoats and umbrellas. What a contraption for the umbrellas! It must rain often here.

We bought our tickets and right after I saw a sign saying that the royal rooms were closed. The young girl didn't understand why I didn't want to pay all that money just to see the Miró exhibition but another lady immediately told us we could give the tickets back which we did.
James unlocking the umbrellas.

There was still plenty of time before the Staatsoper tour so we continued to the Hofburg. It's a huge complex and we didn't know where to go exactly but popped in here and there. I don't what this church is called but I liked it.

The pews where massive.

Everywhere are "Mozart-like dressed" young men trying to sell you concert tickets. Since we are already have tickets for Wednesday evening in the Golden Hall" we were not so interested. Since it was raining though we thought it might be nice after all. The Hofburg Orchester was playing this night at 20:30 in the Hofburg-Redoutensaal with international vocal soloists. Making fun we asked whether they had a senior discount and when he said we would get them 10€ cheaper each we said o.k.

Still time so we decide to do the tour of the Hofburg Kaiserappartements, Sisi Museum and Silberkammer.

First we saw the silver, the porcelain and the gold table settings. It is just overwhelmimg. Didn't know what to take photos of. In the royal rooms I was not allowed to take any photos. In the Sisi Museum (Empress Elizabeth) I was really ticked about that because there was one particular dress with lace I would have loved to take a picture of. But eyes and cameras everywhere.
Otherwise I really enjoyed it. We got free audio guides with our tickets which made it very nice going at your own speed.

And when we were done with this we saw that we would be just in time for the Staatsoper tour at 3pm if we hurried a little. But look at those lines! We had been told when we had inquired earlier at this spot that they open 10 minutes prior and everybody would get in.

Oh yes, everybody did get in but it took a little while.

Masses of people. Once you had your ticket you went to the sign with the language of your choice. We looked whether German or English was longer. Didn't want Russian or French. Settled on English. A lady guide halved the group and we went with the second. She was excellent.

Several different rooms for intermission. This one is modern because a lot had been destroyed in the II. WW and had to be rebuild. Of course some had been rebuilt in the original way too.
We were told that it had been Gustav Mahler who had introduced intermission. Before that there was none and people came and went, ate and drank whenever they wanted to and he couldn't stand it. That must have been around 1900.

The royal tea room.

We even got to sit in THE seats for a moment.

We also were taken to the back and actually on stage. Next day was opening night for the new season. The curtain wasn't open and it was a bit difficult to imagine how it actually would be and didn't feel like a picture would show anything.

Back to the hotel to relax a moment and then on to have dinner. We asked for a recommendation at the front desk and he suggested Kern Beisl in Kleeblattgasse Ecke Tuchlauben.
Yup, thirsty!

One of the rolls in the basket.

"Gösser Ofenbratel vom Premiumschwein I'm Biersaftel mit Serviettenknödel und Sauerkraut" for James!

"Opas Rindgulasch mit Erdäpfeln vom östereichischen Weiderind Wadschunken" for me. It didn't come with any veggies or so, so I asked whether I could have a mixed salad. The honest answer was: "Lady, for money we get you anything".

The Hofburg-Redoutensaal was not far from the hotel und since we didn't have assigned seats we went in good time. Actually, we were just a tad wondering whether this whole thing was on the up and up. No worries! We could sit in the first row ... of the cheap seats ha-ha. It was excellent though. We tremendously enjoyed it. Before it started we had a good chat with the older couple in the next seats from Brazil.

I was very reluctant to take a photo during and even videos but they had not told us in the beginning that we shouldn't and everybody did it ... so I did too.
First Video without picture.
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5

We went back to the hotel very happy.


  1. I love the breakfast buffet. Did the hot sand work? Paying to go in a church? I find that very odd. We found that the Roman Catholic churches were much more money minded than the Anglican churches in Europe. When I finally blog about Paris, you’ll see my surprise and dismay at what I called ‘slot machines’ (actually miraculous medal machines) IN the sanctuary.

    1. I should say here that I know that many, many Anglican churches charge an entry fee (even the Nat'l Cathedral has started doing it), but a lot are just suggested donations and they have the money collections outside the church. I guess the idea of a big guarded fence keeping folks out just bothered me a little!