Tag Archives: vienna

Back in Czech

Quiet day on Saturday. When we were at the Gasometer Buildings, Greg bought a piece of apfelkuchen apple cake from a supermarket and has been searching for it since. He tried a couple of places on Saturday morning without success. In the afternoon we walked to, and around, Schonnbrunn Palace. It’s across the road from the apartment we stayed at … sort of. There’s actually a street, tramline, river, metro line and a couple of fences between the apartment and the palace grounds, but we could see it from the apartment, and the huge grounds were a lovely buffer in a city of over 1.5million people. The Viennese equivalent of Central Park.

We walked to the gate closest to the apartment, which had a Lindt chocolate shop conveniently located at the entrance. Bought a couple of blocks from the huge selection – whole product lines that we had never seen before. Then walked through the park to the palace. All 1400+ rooms of it. Part of it is open as a childrens’ museum, a gallery and it is possible to do tours of palace and concerts are held there. Outside, it’s a fantastic public space, free to wander around the huge grounds, which also has a zoo, a swimming pool, a maze and other things that you can pay to see. The cafe in the palace does a Strudel making class which I was going to do until I realised it would all be in German.

We walked up the hill to the Gloriette which offers a superb view over the city, and we think we found the street we stayed in, just past the trees in the palace grounds. Then we walked back to the apartment via the main entrance, with its enormous open space in front of the palace. Hot day, we didn’t take enough water and were very thirsty by the time we got ‘home’.

Yesterday, Sunday, we drove out of Vienna to Czech. We didn’t buy a vignette in Austria so had to use secondary roads, which was fine, through little villages and along a tiny sealed road on the side of the motorway. Probably just for the local farmers, and we did meet a tractor coming in the opposite direction, but a few local cars and a motorbike also used it. Nothing is open in Austria on a Sunday, but as soon as we crossed over into Czech … BAM! Outlet shopping centre just across the border, casinos, 24-hour nightclubs. If anyone can explain how they work, we’d love to know – I thought the point of a nightclub was that it was, well, night-time.¬† Our new favourite supermarket, Albert, was open in Znojmo so we went and bought a couple of things we’d run out of and some bread rolls for lunch. Gosh, the Czechs are good bakers!

Our second-last night of camping last night, and tonight is our last. Then we’re staying in an apartment in Prague for 4 nights and heading back to Munich on Saturday, flying home on Sunday. We’ve been on the road for 5 weeks, but it seems like a much longer period of time, because we’ve been to so many places and seen and done so much.

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The Kings waiting room at the railway station near the Palace (never used)
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A small selection of the chocolates at the Lindt shop
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Schonnbrunn Palace Gardens
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Schonnbrunn Palace Gardens
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Schonnbrunn Palace Gardens Rose Arbor
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Schonnbrunn Palace Gardens Rose Arbor
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Schonnbrunn Palace Gardens a small separate garden
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Schonnbrunn Palace and Gardens
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Looking over Vienna
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Glorietta
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Self Serve Bakery at Albert row 1
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Self Serve Bakery at Albert row 2
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Camped back in Czech at “Camping Country” an almost empty camping park

Out & about in Vienna

We had a few vague ideas about what we’d like to see and do in Vienna, but no firm plans, so when our lovely Dutch friend Mickey asked if we were planning on visiting Zentralfriedhof, the Central Cemetery, we thought that was a great suggestion! We like cemeteries – we visited the Pere Lachaise cemetery when we were in Paris a few years ago and paid our respects to Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas and Jim Morrison and others I’ve forgotten now, and Arlington in Washington DC, then when we were in St Petersburg we visited the incredible¬†Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery.¬†

Some of Mickey’s family members have a grave at Zentralfriedhof, and quite a few famous composers are also buried there, conveniently all located in the same section quite close to one of the main entrances. The cemetery is on the outskirts of the city and it’s huge! It occupies over 600 acres of land and its dead population is nearly double Vienna’s current living population. We drove there as it’s a bit of a long haul on public transport; parked outside and we must really have acquired the mindset that we have to pay for parking everywhere, because we were very careful to check with the local Wurst stand seller that we could park there for free.

The composers’ graves are all in a very well-tended section, with nicely mown lawns, flowers and a plan to show who is where. We visited Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, the senior and junior Strausses, and a cenotaph honouring Mozart, who is buried in another cemetery. We followed Mickey’s excellent directions and found her family’s grave. We took a yellow flowering succulent in a pot and placed it on the headstone, took a few photos and walked back to the entrance along a different path so we could see a bit more of the cemetery. It’s feeling like early autumn here, although the weather is still warm, lots of leaves starting to change colour and starting to fall.

Then we drove to see the Danube River just outside the city limits and to visit another, smaller cemetery, Friedhof der Namenlosen, Cemetery of the Nameless, for people who drowned in the river. And then to the Gasometers, 4 huge cylindrical gas storage tanks which have now been ‘repurposed’ into shops, residential & commercial use and entertainment venues. The buildings themselves are interesting enough, but to then see what they have become is really something!

Today we caught the metro into the city centre, walked along the mall, visited St Stephen’s Cathedral, ate strudel & cake at Gerstner Cafe (established 1847) and strolled around the fascinating Naschmarkt. Bought a couple of things – corn on the cob for dinner, an interesting-looking Turkish cheese, zopfkase, which looks like a bundle of string tied into a ball. I’ve just tried it and it’s very salty – I’ll soak it in water for a while.

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Mickeys family grave
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Guess who…?
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Strauss and Brahms
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a small part of Zentralfriedhof
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Friedhof der Namenlosen
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a barge working its way up the Danube
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One of the Gasometers
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The two middle Gasometers
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Central Vienna
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St Stephens cathedral
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inside St Stephens cathedral
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Naschmarkt
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Naschmarkt rope cheese
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Naschmarkt
Paid bike storage at the local U-bahn station - like you would never get in Adelaide
Paid bike storage at the local U-bahn station – like you would never get in Adelaide
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View of the street outside the Apartment. Its free parking on weekends, so we got a park at 6pm Friday night but by 8pm there were no parks left. A few spaces Saturday morning
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Panorama outside the apartment window. Another sunny day in Vienna