Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekend in Wien (Vienna), Austria!

Our third weekend in the program included an optional trip to Vienna, Austria. The majority of students attended the trip, and I am so glad I was able to go explore this beautiful city. We left on a Thursday morning and took a five-hour train ride to Vienna. Austrians speak German, so our limited and basic Czech was of no use in this city. However, I found that most people spoke English and were able to assist me and the other students.

We checked into our home for the next three nights at Hotel Academia, which was pretty close to the central hub of the city. The rooms were very small with only one outlet, but we hardly spent any time in there other than sleeping. The first day we took a walking tour of the city and saw the Parliament, museum buildings, the Coal Market (shopping district), and a variety of buildings associated with the Hapsburg Dynasty. That night we ate a delicious meal at local Viennese restaurant near our hotel. The best part about Vienna was the apple strudel, which as also delicious, and the white wine that is grown on the vineyards outside of the city!

Dinner on our first night in Vienna

The next day we took a tour of City Hall. The building looks similar to that of a cathedral. Also, we also took a tour of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the exterior of the Belvedere palace once owned by the Hapsburg Family. Saturday was a free day, so I took a tour of the summer palace of the Hapsburg’s, called Schönbrunn palace. The palace was absolutely gorgeous! I went inside and took an audio tour that showed the ornate rooms of Maria Teresa (Maria Antoinette’s mother) as well as the apartment rooms of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. Later that night, as a group we went to an orchestra concert that performed Mozart’s last written work, Requim.

Thus far, Vienna has been my favorite city. It was clean, had wonderful food, and the overall architecture and structure of the city is breathtaking. I hope I will be able to visit the city again for a longer period of time.

In front of the Parliament building

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