Yesterday, we watched out of our train window as the snowy Munich countryside turned into beautiful blue skies in Vienna. We arrived a little after noon and, after grabbing some lunch, took a nice walk through the city to find our hostel. And then, the adventure began.
Our hostel was located a mere two blocks from the area in Vienna known as "Museum Quarter". So, after arming ourselves with a map of the city, we decided to just head out and see what interesting things we could find. The buildings in Vienna are beautiful. We walked around state buildings, museums and parts of the old Imperial Palace. Half of the time, we didn't actually know which buildings we were taking pictures of.
We then went to the Imperial Apartments and spent a few hours looking around at the three museums held in the one building. First, we saw rooms full of the dishes, cutlery and centerpieces used by the Emperor and Empress. There were plates decorated with birds, some with stories from Greek mythology and some with intricate flowery patterns. We were amazed at the large, gold centerpieces used for holding flowers and candles. There were even giant trunks holding travel sets of the beautiful dining-ware. Next, we visited the Sisi Museum -- a museum for Empress Elisabeth. There were replicas of the amazing gowns she wore and items she used on her many travels as Empress. We were a little creeped out, however, when we came to the display of the file used to assasinate her. Finally, we came to the actual Imperial Apartments. The rooms were huge! The Emperor and the Empress each had two lounges, a bedroom and a waiting room. The Empress even had a room used for exercising. We decided we definitely want to be Empresses when we grow up.
Our Austrian adventure didn't end there. After grabbing a Döner for dinner, we headed to an aquatic zoo that stayed open until 9 at night. The building was nine levels of aquariums and displays of other reptiles and amphibians. In one level there was even a rainforest-like room filled with birds, turtles and bats. Yes, bats. Sarah almost made it inside until one of them flew a little too close to her head. We took lots of pictures and even managed to capture the snakes' dinner time! (We would show you, but we can't load pictures at our hotel.) The top level of the zoo opened to a rooftop view of the city of Vienna. We could see all the fancy buildings we had visited earlier that day.
We decided to head back to the hostel then, since we were finally worn out, and met a few of the students also staying there that night. Three were from Turkey (two were cousins, and the other one found out he had grown up a few streets away from them) and the other was French Canadian. All of them spoke smooth English, so we enjoyed sharing stories of our travels with eachother.
This morning, we decided to skip Salzburg and come back to Munich. We were a little sad to be leaving such a beautiful city, but we were excited to see the rest of the group again!
Only a few more days until we come home! We're enjoying our time, but are definitely ready to live out of our closets instead of our suitcases.
Sarah and Anna