You’ve missed me, haven’t you?! It has been hard to find internet time for a couple of days. Pictures will return soon – our hotel in Vienna doesn’t provide free Internet so they will return (hopefully after our arrival in Salzburg on Thursday) – in the meantime, here is our week so far….
Monday, June 20
From St Moritz we made our way towards Innsbruck along the Inn River. Often we would see centuries old castles and churches, many perched on high rock formations, some of them were old toll collecting stations. Innsbruck has a beautiful old section of town with shops and restaurants and we were able to wander around and do some exploring.
Later in the afternoon we traveled up one of the Olympic mountainsides to a small town of Rinn. Along the way we could see the trails cut through the forest for the ski trails. The ride up was delightful as was the afternoon. Our group was taken through town on horse drawn wagons having the opportunity to see the charming farm houses and also travel through the forest. We stopped at one of the old buildings that has a very old painting on the door of a baby that was murdered centuries ago and the town continues to pay tribute to her. There were also cherry trees loaded with fruit for tasting. After another stop at a local restaurant we headed back to town.
After dinner at the hotel we were off to a local hall for an authentic Tyrolean folk show complete with yodeling, authentic costumes, and singing. We only took about 10 pictures so you can decide for yourself why we thought about his experience.
Tomorrow we make our way to Vienna….
Tuesday, June 21
After rising early and enjoying breakfast the bus was loaded and we headed to Vienna. I’ll have to check the distance because this was a very long day of bus riding. We stopped at a very nice town called Berchtesgaden to stretch our legs and look around, then another stop later for lunch.
Close to Vienna we were able to get off the highway and drive along the Danube in the Wachau Valley, this was a nice respite from the highway and we were able to view many old abbeys, castles, and beautiful, little wine towns.
After finally arriving in Vienna and a short rest we headed out for dinner and a classical concert at the palace. This was very nice, and the musicians were entertaining as well as very good.
Wednesday, June 22
Schonbrunn Palace was on the agenda first thing this morning, we arrived shortly after 8:00 well ahead of the day’s crowds. Our guide showed us through the public areas of the summer palace of the Hapsburg’s, yet we could only barely touch the surface of what it offered. This palace has 1200 some-odd rooms compared to their winter palace in the city of Vienna with over 3000 rooms. Of course, there were also large, ostentatious gardens to explore as well.
After leaving the palace we had a bus tour of the city. Vienna is really pretty with many older, beautiful buildings. One place we enjoyed was the pedestrian walking area of town with the many shops, restaurants, bakeries, and the old St Stephan’s church. One unusual experience we had was a tour of the crypts of the Hapsburgs. Their crypts are in the old town and quite interesting. Many are very ornate – there are 145 crypts, 144 of them are from the Hapsburg family, the last one is the best friend of one of the Hapsburg rulers – she said that they had always been together and would remain together in death. The most recent family burial in the crypt was just 3 years ago although the family has not ruled over Austria since 1918. Another interesting fact from this visit is that the hearts and intestines were removed from each of the bodies and buried in other churches in Vienna. Hmmm….