Emerald Waterways Danube Delights Day Five
Vienna! Capital city of Austria, city of music, city of dreams, one of the world’s most liveable cities, and also one of the most prosperous. Day five of our Danube River cruise was spent exploring the city.
Emerald Waterways Danube Delights day five began with a bus tour around the Ringstrasse, the road circling Vienna’s core lined with monuments, parks, and grand buildings.
After the bus tour we went on a walking tour throughout the pedestrian areas of Vienna. We passed the famed Spanish Riding School where the Lippizaner horses perform but we only saw one horse (in the stable opposite) as most of them were on vacation.
We learned about the plague column or Pestsäule (literally, pest column) that was erected in 1693 in gratitude to the Holy Trinity for surviving the plague.
We finished up at the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral where we were given a choice of a shuttle back to the ship or stay in the city and explore. Explore, duh.
We made a beeline to Café Central, a traditional Viennese café a 10 to 15 minute walk from St. Stephen’s. Established in 1876, the high-ceilinged café is located in the Palais Ferstel, a mansion inspired by Venetian architecture. It was a centre for poets, philosophers, the odd revolutionary, and storytellers to gather over coffee and cake (perhaps not all at the same time). The in-house patisserie serves amazing, sweet, treats which we had to try. We ordered Viennese Coffees and shared a sweet cheese strudel with vanilla sauce.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
We spent another hour wandering aimlessly and although we tried to go to a museum, it was closed as it was a Monday. We were winding our way back towards St. Stephen’s when it began to rain. We ducked into the cathedral (started in 1147 and completed in 1511) and admired the high vaulted ceilings, arches, and statuary.
We saw that due to the rain there was no line-up for the elevator up to the viewing area 60 metres (almost 200 feet) up the south tower. The cashier tried to dissuade us as it had started to rain really hard but we figured what was the worst thing that could happen? We would get wet? Worth it to not have to share the platform with many others.
The crowning glory of St. Stephen’s is the patterned, colourful, steep-sided, roof made up of 230,000 glazed tiles. We got pretty wet but it was worth it.
The rain seemed to slack off a bit as we left the cathedral, but as we started searching for a place for a (very) late lunch the heavens opened up. We ducked into a restaurant called Krah Krah, and we were so glad we did. I had a pork cutlet stuffed with ham and cheese with french fries and the cutlet took up almost all the space on my plate. I actually finished the whole thing. Mike had sausages and bread with mustard. After lunch the sun came out and we walked to where the shuttle buses were to pick us up to head back to the ship.
After a buffet dinner on the ship, those who were going trooped out to the buses for the private concert at the Palais Lobkowitz. This was the only paid excursion we went on and we were really glad we did. There were eight musicians playing exclusively for about 100 people. A soprano and a tenor also made appearances. The music was sublime and sounded wonderful in the hall we were in. The only distraction was the heat in the room; it was very, very warm. You can see in the photo that the men in the group took off their formal jackets (after asking permission from the audience). The concert was also surprisingly funny, and we could tell the musicians were having a good time too.
The concert was only an hour and it flew by. Once back to the ship it was time for a nightcap and an evening snack of delicious Goulash Soup served in the Horizon Lounge. Even though the ship was docked in Vienna until almost 3am and we could have stayed in town we opted to come back and get a good night’s sleep in order to be rested for Bratislava the next day.
Did you miss Day Four in Melk and Dürnstein?
Stay tuned for Day Six! Bratislava, Slovakia.