DAY 20 – Friday, July 12, 2019 – Vienna, Austria
In the morning, Anna told me she thought that last night’s death was due to natural causes.
We got ready and went into the city to look for a birthday present for her parents to give one of the friends who they’ll be celebrating with over the weekend.
After that, we went back to Anna’s apartment ,and Susanna waited for Stefan to pick her up for their weekend getaway.
After Susanna left, Anna and I went out again. We walked to the Manner store, next to the Manner factory. I bought a bunch of chocolate and wafers to bring home. We dropped the sweets off at her apartment and then got on the city train.
Somewhere along the line, I realized I’d have to be taking the train to the airport in the morning. I asked Anna about Uber. She agreed that would probably be a better idea with all of my luggage and having to change trains 2 or 3 times!
Before going back to Vienna’s city center, we went to Schonbrunn Schloss Park.
Schonbrunn is Vienna’s most popular tourist attraction, with about 4 million visitors each year. In 1569, Emporer Maximilian II purchased the property for recreational hunting. Eleonora Gonzaga loved hunting there and inherited the property upon the death of her husband, Ferdinand II. She ordered the construction of the palace in 1638. The 1,441-room Schonbrunn Palace was remodeled during the 1740-50s during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa who received the estate as a wedding gift. Emperor Franz Joseph I was born at Schonbrunn; he died there at age 86 on November 21, 1916. It is currently a museum owned by the Republic of Austria.
In the city center, we took a walk through the market and got some lunch. I had a cheesy sausage thing and some other meat. I was so stuffed. We also got some macaroons. We reached the end of the market. Instead of turning back and retracing our route, I suggested we walk down the next aisle (which was mainly food places). I’m so glad we did! I saw a Zwettler Bier coaster and snatched it off the table. I saw another and took that one, too. I think Anna was mortified. She would be shocked to know how many European beer coasters I have in my luggage. She noticed a waitress who saw me pick up the coasters. I think she was apologizing to the waitress . . . probably telling her that I’m a dumb American. I told the waitress that Zwettler is my name, and I asked if I could get a beer. The waitress was so happy to bring me a beer. She said “Yes” and insisted that we sit down. Anna ordered a wine spritzer. Everytime the waitress came back to check on us, she’d say “Mrs. Zwettler! Mrs. Zwettler! How are you Mrs. Zwettler?” It was so cute! I wish I would have taken a picture with her. My last day in Austria and I finally got a Zwettler Bier!
We walked by the Hotel Sacher (I overheard a tour guide; I thought he was telling his group that the hotel was in a movie).
Hotel Sacher is a 5-star hotel facing the Vienna State Opera House. It is famous for Sachertorte, the specialty chocolate cake with apricot filling dessert, created by confectioner, Franz Sacher, father of the hotel founder, Eduard Sacher. The hotel fell into bankruptcy in 1930 after poor management by Anna Sacher, Eduard’s widow. In 1934, the hotel was taken over by the Gurtler family. On August 4, 1947, two suitcase bombs went off in the basement of the hotel; a Palestinian Jewish terrorist group claimed responsibility. Several famous guests have stayed at Hotel Sacher including: Emporer Franz Joseph, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Ranier II of Monaco, Grace Kelly, JFK, Placido Domingo, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono. The hotel is featured in a handful of Austrian films and television series.
We walked to Albertinaplatz Museum that had a Monet and Picasso exhibit. We looked down on a giant green rabbit statue next to an enormous bottle of champagne. We wandered around the garden; I wish the butterfly exhibit would have been open.
We stopped at a grocery store. We bought some cheese and crackers and Zwettler Bier.
Back at Anna’s apartment, we sat on her terrace and chatted and laughed until we were ready for bed. Anna installed the Uber app on my phone. She said when I come back to Europe, I should go south to Budapest, Italy, and the Greek Islands.
What are your favorite things to do in Vienna? What did I miss? What do I have to do on my next trip to the city?