Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting Familiar with Vienna, Day 3

05/26, Saturday
Karin starts our day with juice, bread, and coffee. She has another itinerary for our day in Vienna. She has alerted us to a senior rate tram/U-Bahn ticket, half-price. After buying a supply for several days, we walk through the lower (winter) portion of the Belvedere...several fountains and lots of green space.

That brings us to the Salzberger Platz and, from there, a few blocks west on the Ring Strasse to the Opera. We are approached by one of many hawkers selling tickets to the various concerts and operas. We negotiate what we feel is a pretty good price for a small concert of Mozart and Strauss tonight at 8:00.

We have lunch and all the Vienna specialties at a place that Karin told us about. We sit outside. The people watching is great. The weather is perfect today, and it is the start of a long 4-day weekend.

Trying to find the Mozart concert hall, we end up in the Hofburg Palace grounds. Among many enormous buildings is the Spanish Riding School, where the Lippanzaner horses train and perform. We get tickets for a tour of the stables tomorrow at 2:00pm.

Now it's time for a famous Viennese dessert, the Sacher Torte. The Sacher Hotel and Cafe are located behind the Opera. The Sacher family name is a big brand here since 1879 and the torte is a favorite of tourists and locals...dark chocolate cake that requires 32 steps to properly complete, a secret recipe, of course.

We rest back at Lukas and Karin's for 1-1/2 hours and then return for the concert at 8:00. The tram system is typical European...clean and on-time. It's only a 15 minute ride and, as senior citizens, we ride at 1/2 price, €1.25 each.

The concert is in a small hall, grandly called the Palais Palffy. There are 6 string players, a pianist, a soprano, and two ballet dancers...performing on a small stage. Mozart is the first half with all performers dressed in period costumes. For the second half of Strauss, the players are in traditional current attire...all black.

Most of the tunes sound familiar to us, but the most popular is The Blue Danube. The performers are professional and very competent, but not up to symphony standards. We were entertained, but not wildly impressed. It's strange how good talent and training do not always add up to high quality.

Returning to catch the tram, we pass by the Opera. Outside on the side of the building, those who can't afford tickets or aren't great opera fans can watch and hear the live performance free on a jumbo screen. We take about 15 minutes to listen. Of course, it's sung in Italian, but they provide German.

On our return to K&L's, we have a relaxing conversation over a good Australian Shiraz Cabernet. They are taking a two day holiday starting Sunday, so they are leaving us in charge. Karin has done a lot of research and planning for the remainder of our time in Austria which includes 4 days in Salzburg and 2 days in Innsbruch.

Stairway in
Karin and Lukas'
apartment building

One of the Ponds
in the
Belvedere Gardens

In Front of the
Summer Palace
of the Belvedere

Front of the
Opera from the
Ring Strasse

Dancer and Violinist
from the
Mozart-Strauss Concert

Add caption
Typical Street and Buildings
in Downtown Vienna

No comments:

Post a Comment