We arrived in Vienna around 9 in the morning (by night train) and worked our way to our pension. I was so organized with everything we needed, except somehow I forgot the directions to the pension. Fortunately it wasn't hard to find! Since we arrived in the south train station, it took a bit to get there, but we found it. They even let us check in early - something most hotels don't do. Maybe because it wasn't very busy yet and our room was ready. So we went up to our room and rested a bit before heading out.
I was very excited to take Michele to the Natural History Museum, since I knew she would love it. Unfortunately, it is closed on Tuesday (today) and we didn't realize this until last night.
Sandstone pulpit in Stephansdom
So we came up with a new plan. We would see Stephansdom and then head out to Schonbrunn Palace. I also talked Michele into going to the zoo there instead of in Nurnberg (thanks to Martin_Austria's blog!). They had more baby animals there. Personally, I didn't care - animals look the same at any zoo. That night we would come back and meet Martin_Austria for dinner! I was really excited, even though this was set up at short notice.
First stop was the internet cafe about half a block away to check in with emails, then off to see Stephansdom. I couldn't go in it last time because I was there on a Sunday and it was closed for Mass. Today it was open and we walked through it and saw the beautiful sandstone pulpit and stained glass windows.
Roof of Stephansdom
Next stop was the climb up the tower. It was a gloomy day, but we did get nice views of the city. Back down we stopped for a quick lunch. I got a cheese filled hot dog that was pretty good. It still amazed me to see all the people out walking and shopping and who knows what else when it is so cold out. It wasn't super cold but it was snowing and windy. We just don't do that back home and I don't know why. Most people just stay indoors. But its nice to be out in the fresh air.
Next we went out to Schonbrunn Palace. We decided to take a guided tour for a little more, but had to wait 30 mintues until the tour began. So we went back outside where an Easter Market was taking place in the courtyard.
View from Stephansdom Tower
We walked through and looked at the booths and decided we would have to come back for some hot chocolate and the delicious smelling potatoes.
There were only 3 of us on our tour but we had a lively guide that told us interesting stories about the Hapsburgs. The audio self-guided tour probably would have been just as good, but we enjoyed our guided tour. In one room a caretaker was vacuuming the paintings and it was hard for anyone to hear anything. But our guide asked her to stop for us, so she did. I guess that's one bonus of a guided tour. The stories were interesting and I like learning about the history of things, I just forget all that information right away.
After our tour we wandered over to the zoo - the Tiergarten.
We decided to just see the animals in order as we wanted to see them. First stop was the baby panda - and there was a line to see it. We got in line and waited about 15 mintues only to find out the baby panda was sleeping out of sight. Oh well. Michele wanted to see the hippos so we stopped in that steamy building. We looked at the orangutans and monkeys and penguins. And then we saw the baby polar bears. They were sooooo cute! The little twins were playful - playing with a ball and eachother. There were a bunch of people lined up at the glass so we couldn't get very close. But they were super cute.
We watched the feeding of the penguins then walked through the rainforest - it was nice and warm in there.
We saw the baby giraffe, but it was a bit taller than previous photos I saw. Michele wanted to see the owls and I wanted to see the parrots but there weren't many. Again, there were tons of people out in the zoo, considering the weather. We left near closing time because we wanted to catch the Easter Market before they closed. We got hot chocolates from a chocolate fondu fountain - yummy! Then we got some herbed baby red potatoes with a yogurt creme sauce - so delicious! Yum!
We went back to our room for a short rest, then went to see the town by night, taking photos of some pretty buildings along the way. We met Martin (Martin_Austria) by the Stephandsom and he took us on a tour through the city.
Eating Schnitzel in Wien!
We saw the Graben memorial for victims of the plague, Hofburg Palace, Art Museum, Opera House and some other buildings. We went in one church that had a beautiful string quartet concert playing. I could have stayed there listening to the beautiful accoustics. Martin took us over to his favorite restaurant, the Orange One (see his review). It was a little local place that was mostly packed. We got a table and Martin helped us pick out meals we thought we would like. The food was very good. We started with pancake soup - just what it sounds like (crepes). It was delicious! I got a dish with noodles but I can't remember what it was, but it was really really good. Martin also suggested some delicious beers for us. Later his friend joined us. They both spoke excellent English and I felt bad that we couldn't really carry on a conversation in their native German. Since it was a work night (for him) and we were a little tired, we called it a night a little early. We had a wonderful time with him - he is super nice and took time out of his night to show us around. Thanks Martin!
Vienna Hotels & Accommodations review
Close to downtown
We stayed in the Dr. Geissler Pension and had a wonderful experience. The pension is located just one metro stop from the downtown and Stephansdom ca… read entire review