Days 19 – 21: Vienna!

Hello again, everyone—I’m just now getting back from an amazing weekend in Vienna!

We left first thing on Friday morning, and drove for a few hours before stopping in a village called Telč, which is in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. While in Telč, we toured a medieval castle and marketplace! After lunch, we got back in the bus and drove for a few more hours until we reached Vienna. The city itself is incredible! Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, meaning that it is filled with royal palaces and other imperial buildings! We did a short walking tour of the area where our hotel was located, and then went to a beer garden for traditional Austrian food. After dinner, we walked around some more and stopped in a few shops and bookstores!

Saturday morning, we had a longer walking tour of the city. It started to rain for part of our tour, but otherwise the weather held up pretty well during the day! We saw so many different places on our tour: the palace where Marie Antoinette (one of the sixteen children of Empress Maria Theresa) grew up, St. Augustine’s Church (which has a chapel containing the hearts of fifty four members of the Habsburg empire!), the Lobkowitz Palace music hall where both Beethoven and Mozart performed, the imperial palace of the Habsburg family, a beautiful imperial garden called Volksgarten, a church which housed several works of Leonardo da Vinci, the Austrian Parliament building, and finally St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where Mozart was married! After the tour, we went and got lunch from vendors in Naschmarkt, a huge outdoor market, and then went to the Leopold Museum, a contemporary art museum! Later in the afternoon we went and saw the royal treasury in the Habsburg palace, which was a beautiful collection of jewelry, clothing, gold, and other treasures of the royal families. Included in the collection were a two-thousand carat emerald (the largest one in the world!) and the crown of the Holy Roman Empire! In the evening, we went shopping and then got dinner and drinks at Café West End, one of Vienna’s most famous cafés.

Today, we woke up early and went to a service at St. Stephen’s Cathedral! After the service, we stopped by the Hundertwasserhaus, a really interesting apartment complex that itself is a work of art—the façade of the building is painted in many different colors, the floors and ceilings are slanted, and there are even trees growing out of the walls! We then spent the afternoon at Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty. We explored the enormous grounds of the palace (which included several enormous gardens and fountains, a maze, and a zoo!) and then took a tour of the palace itself. The interior was stunning, and included many beautiful sitting rooms, bedrooms, and even ballrooms! My favorite part of the palace was the room where Mozart played piano for the empress Maria Theresa when he was only six years old!

I absolutely loved Vienna, and wish I had more time to explore the city! I guess I will just have to come back and visit again!

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