27.12.2011 - 27.12.2011
It was a perfect day to visit the Schonbrunn, the Hapsburg's summer palace, with clear skies and a warm sun. First, we walked around the palace gardens, climbing the small hill up to the pavillion to get a good view of the palace, the gardens, and the city of Vienna itself. On the way we met Harvey, an exceptionally friendly, and very cute squirrel who was not at all camera shy. In fact, the park was teeming with big squirrels going about their daily business. Strolling back to the Palace, we stopped for lunch at a nearby cafe before beginning the Grand Tour - a complete tour of the various rooms in the Schonbrunn. The palace was an interesting mix of decor in the Rococo style, with rosewood panelling, white alcquer and paint a-plenty. Surprisingly, despite the obvious wealth, the rooms weren't as opulent as they could have been. Emperor Franz's quarters, for instance, were quite humble and discreet, befitting his reputation as a committed public servant and hard worker. The Hapsburg's fascination with Chinese art was also intersting, with a number of rooms decorated wood panel carvings. Having had enough of the Hapsburgs, we left the palace and returned to the city centre.
We decided to attend a classical concert at the Palais Auersperg, with music composed by Mozart and Strauss. In the rush to buy Kirstie appropriate shoes for the event and find a bathroom to get changed at, we left Kirstie's beloved black hat on the seat in McDonalds, the first casualty of travel. We made it to the theatre just in time. The orchestra was phenomenal, the lead violinist in particular was unbelievably talented, and the occasional bits of ballet and waltzing were fun to watch. After the show we made a beeline straight to Figmullers, Vienna's most famous schnitzel house and highly recommended by our Hungarian food guides Balazs and Sylvia. There was a 40 minute wait on the cold street before we cold get a table, but it was worth it! The schnitzels were bigger than the full size dinner plates they were served on!
They were delicious.
Needless to say, Tom ate all of his and half of Kirstie's, washed it down with a litre of beer, and ate most of the side dish of potato wedges. It was a great way to end our stay in Vienna.