It is always great when you can start your touring day with a great breakfast and our Ibis Red didn’t let us down. The Viennese make a great cup of coffee to boot. So with batteries charged we set off, with money changing first on our list. Once everyone had changed over the last of the lingering currency from other countries we were ready. Martina gave the students a scavenger hunt, we told them to start with St. Stephen’s, our meeting point, then gather what they could. We also encouraged them to try and finish off any shopping that they had. After visiting the cathedral they set off, I’m not exactly sure what they actually got done from the hunt, lol, but many came back with bags of varying sizes and colors.
One more visit to the Naschmarkt was in order. Everyone was tasked with buying their lunch and bringing it back to the bus. Our plan was to have a picnic in the gardens of Schonbrunn Palace. The lunch selections stretched from humus and cucumbers, to more doners and falafel. Loaded down with plenty of food we found a nice spot under the trees and had a splendid picnic. Everyone shared food and laughs before heading to see some of the garden and meeting our guide Marta for our afternoon tours.
Marta gave us headsets so we could hear her and she wouldn’t have to shout. We set off through the palace, despite the prohibition on picture taking we managed to sneak a few. The palace is beautiful, smaller than Versailles it feels more personal, more lived in. Marta was able to give the travelers a fairly detailed historical and artistic background as we moved through the palace. Combined with its gardens, I can’t lie Schonbrunn is truly one of my favorites. Rooms ranged from beautiful painted ceilings, to Rosewood panels and rooms with hand painted Japanese and Chinese paneling. One room was even shipped from China and assembled in the palace. Another room had paneling so valuable they took it down before WWII to protect it from damage. With the heat of the palace and lots of walking everyone was ready for the bus part of the day’s touring.
Not surprisingly, they all fell asleep during most of the bus tour. Batteries were beginning to run out on our final day. We woke them up after a good 20-25 minutes to visit the Hundertwasserhaus apartments and plaza. Friedensreich Hundertwasserhaus was an artist who designed and had built a set of apartments based on his philosophy and theories. Probably the 2 most interesting aspects were his rejection of straight lines and the fact that tenants were allowed to paint anything outside their windows that they could reach. They are quite colorful with interesting designs. An ice cream/restroom seemed in order. Of course this lead to the usual grumbling that the WC (water closet/ bathroom) cost money to get into, in this case .80€.
Our final treat was an amazing dinner near the city square. We were treated to an amazing stroganof accompanied by delightful potatoes and some vegetables. It was incredible, and following a desert with a sponge-like cake covered in amazing vanilla we waddled out and spent one last evening in the area around St. Stephen’s. I pointed out one of the prettiest churches I’ve ever seen and without pushing the students went in. Mass was going on and it was fantastic that Nick, Gianna & Maddie were able to take communion. All said it was so powerful to be able to do that while traveling and in such a pretty church.
Well believe it or not while many of us went for one more Viennese coffee, some of the travelers still had room for some ice cream. Everyone took in the beautiful evening, our weather all afternoon had been perfect with a nice breeze on a cool day. With many hugs for Martina, we headed back to our bus to head back to the hotel to pack and get ready for our flight home.