Schonbrunn palace reflected
First, I'm going to take a moment to praise the Lord since I'm now fully recovered from being sick and haven't shown any symptoms of it since.
Second, I want to apologize for this being late. It's taken a while to find time to write and longer to find a computer I could use to transfer pictures off my camera. Obviously, I have plenty of pictures but getting them from my camera to my Nexus 7, which I'm using to write these updates, is impossible without the aid of a computer. And since mine is currently in Texas, this has been a problem.
Vienna, as expected, was great. Far more polished (and expensive) than our previous spots. After arriving in the afternoon and dropping our stuff, we headed straight for Schonbrunn palace. This is the most beautiful thing we've seen on the trip so far. Schonbrunn was the Hapsburg family's summer palace. It was modeled on Versailles in Paris and is Versailles' closest competitor for most beautiful palace in Europe. Hopefully these pictures show that a little.
We finished the day with dinner in the city and a visit to the opera house at night. The Vienna opera house is pretty during the day but is downright stunning at night.
A good night's sleep later and we were off to explore. We visited St. Stephen's cathedral in the center. It's by far the tallest building in the center by Viennese law. It's half Gothic and half Baroque inside. This means it's dark with lots of sharp edges and vaulted ceilings. But it also has tons of statues of saints and other wall decorations. An interesting mix.
We also ate Sacher torte at the Sacher Hotel. This was essentially a light, fluffy chocolate cake with a chocolate fruit frosting. It was good in a very different way from American chocolate cake.
After that we walked around the Hofberg (the main city palace of the Hapsburgs) , went back to Schonbrunn to take the tour inside and explored several other interesting buildings and parks along the circle tram line. Needless to say, we slept well that night.
The next day we enjoyed a quiet breakfast before catching the 1pm bus to Prague. I was going home!
Random observation on Vienna. The Vienna public transportation network seems to rely almost entirely on the honor system for its income. There were no turnstiles, gates or ticket inspectors in sight during our entire visit. We could have taken every train and tram we rode there free of charge had we been so inclined. I find that to be an excellent comment on Austrian culture. How well do you think that system would work in, say, New York City? .... Exactly.