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Day 5 (May22): Vienna

semi-overcast 65 °F

How many things can you do in Vienna in one day?

A whole lot, as it turned out. And even then you wouldn't have gotten to it all, not by a long shot. But let's see how much ground you can cover without rushing too much.

I suggest you start at very heart of the city, Stephansplatz, which is the site of the St. Stephen's cathedral.

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Step inside the cathedral

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and take it all in...

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Ride (for a fee) to the roof and get a breathtaking bird's eye view of Vienna.

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Back on the ground, it's just a couple of minutes walk from the sacred to the (enticingly) mundane--just saunter over to the Karntner Strasse, one of the many spokes that radiate out from the cathedral.

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Walk down Karntner, and test your resolve against the pull of the numerous shopping and eating establishments that line the street. One of the more interesting stores here carries merchandise themed on Gustav Klimt's paintings. (The movie, "Woman in Gold", is the story of how a woman fought the Austrian government to reclaim Klimt's painting of her aunt.)

Like the neighborhood of the Marienplatz in Munich, some of the most interesting sights in Vienna are within walking distance of Stephansplatz.
You can get a lot of bang for buck by simply doing a walking tour, admiring the various museums, libraries, and other impressive
historic and cultural edifices from the outside, as for instance, the historic library.

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Heading out a little farther from Stephansplatz, down Karntner Strasse all the way to Karntner ring, turn right onto Opern ring - you can't miss the opera house.

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As you walk on, Opern ring changes name to Burg ring, and puts you right into Museumsplatz, where you can easily spend a couple of hours.

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When you're done, you can cross the street to the Hofburg palace - more on that tomorrow!

Back on the street, you might return the way you came, pass Karntner ring which then changes to Schubert ring. This almost immediately gives way to
Park ring, which borders the lovely Stadt park, an oasis of green and peace that instantaneously shuts out the bustle and din of the surrounding streets.

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Amble about, and if you get tired, rest your feet at one of the benches by the lake and watch the swans glide around without a care in the world.

Eventually, early or late afternoon depending on how much time you spent on your walking tour, you can head out of the downtown area to the Schonbrunn palace. (It's about 20-25 minutes by car, depending on traffic.)

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This was the summer residence of the ruling Hapsburgs, and is a must see in Vienna. Do the audio tour of the palace. (If you can, make an advance reservation for a specific tour time.)

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The "Mirrors room" bears a special story. It is here that the 6 year old Mozart gave his first performance to the queen, Maria Theresa. According to Mozart's father, at the end of the performance, little Mozart jumped onto the queen's lap, hugged her, and planted a big kiss on her cheek.

Eventually, back in downtown Vienna as dinner time rolls in, finish your day with the eponymous classic, the Wiener Schnitzel.

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Posted by sesh 08:30 Archived in Austria Tagged landscapes churches buildings museums palaces

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