Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day in Vienna

Albert-Schultz Eishalle
Yesterday, my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) and I spent the day in Vienna, Austria.  We had a wonderful tour guide, Neuberg Highlanders' trainer Axel Riegler, to escort us around the city.  First, we drove to the Albert-Schultz Eishalle, which is an ice hockey rink in Vienna and the home of the hockey association, the Vienna Capitals.

From there, we hopped on the subway which took us straight into downtown Vienna.  We walked to Schloß Schönbrunn, which is considered the most important cultural monument in Austria according to www.schoenbrunn.atSchloß Schönbrunn consists of the palace, the park, and the oldest zoo in the world.  After much walking, we needed to rest and refuel our bodies.  We stopped at a restaurant located at the front entrance of the palace.   As the waitress gave Courtney, Jessica, and I the menu, our eyes lit up at the surprising English menu we were handed.  This was the first English menu we had come across during our time here in Austria, besides the menus at McDonald's and Burger King which do not count.

Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral)
Once we finished lunch, we jumped back onto the subway and traveled to Stephansdom, or St. Stephen's Cathedral.  This Romanesque and gothic cathedral stands in the very heart of Vienna.   Since I take an interest in architecture, I found this building to be the most moving of our trip.  After marveling over the cathedral's exterior architectural details and discovering its important cultural significance, we moved on to the next thing on our agenda and one of the highlights of the!  We seemed to be overwhelmed by how many stores surrounded us, and ultimately, we only shopped in a couple stores; however, we seemed very satisfied with our purchases.

After shopping, we made our way down the street and arrived outside Wiener Staatsoper, or the State Opera.  The Viennese architect, August Sicard von Sicardsburg, planned the structure of the opera house while interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll designed the inside.  After enjoying the exterior design of the opera house, we walked to the Burggarten, or the castle garden.  In the castle garden, we visited Mozartdenkmal, the Mozart monument, and Das Schmetterlingshaus, The Butterfly House.   Afterward, we thought it would be a good time for a cocktail.  We returned to the center of town and took an elevator up to the seventh floor of a building.  We arrived at a sky bar and relaxed with a drink.

Riesenrad (Giant Ferris Wheel)
After a moment of a rest, we took the subway to our final attraction of the day, the Riesenrad (Giant Ferris Wheel), which was built in 1897 and is located at the entrance of the Prater Amusement Park.  The park is now considered one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions.  Unfortunately, we did not ride the ferris wheel, but we did try something a little more thrilling.  I forced Jessica and Axel to ride a roller coaster with me even though they quivered with terror.  The roller coaster did not seem as thrilling for some as it was for me.  I smiled and laughed as we left the ride, but Jessica and Axel had blank stares on their faces.  When asked to go on the ride again, they both answered simultaneously with a simple, "No."  The exciting, but scary (for some), roller coaster ride marked the end of our trip and we traveled home.  We took the subway to Axel's car, and the children (Courtney and Jessica) slept in the backseat for the one-hour car ride to Mürzzuschlag.

We had a fun-filled Saturday off from ice hockey practice, or "training" as they call it in Austria.  We return to the ice today at 4:15 p.m. for an hour and a half practice.  Tschüss!

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