As we ‘waltzed’ into the City of Music, so called because of all the magnificent musicians and composers of our time, Vienna even its name conjurers up romance and elegance of a past era, the splendor of the city is a reminder of what draws of thousands of visitors per year from all over the world. The banks of the River Danube have attracted Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert are some of the ‘greats’ that have graced the shores and took up residency in this amazing city.
The Emerald Sky was docked just outside the city. The coach shuttle (all included) gave us a ‘taster’ of the city that was explained to us by our excellent English speaking guides. We were taken along the Ringstrasse past the world famous Opera House Burgtheatre, the Town Hall and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Then we were taken on a walking tour of this vibrant city a fusion of old and new.
One of the highlights of the tour was the world famous Spanish Riding School, the Lipizzaner horses training in the Court Riding School. The magnificent hall with it chandeliers and fabulous architecture, with classical music playing it set the scene for the horses to practice their moves and train. It cost 10 Euros entrance for seniors for the two hour session starting at 10am to 12 noon. Time did not allow us to have two hours but this does depend on your visit as there there is so much to do and see.
Vienna is a very cosmopolitan city with lots of fabulous cafes and restaurants. Try the world famous Demel’s cafe and cake shop and watch the staff at the back of the shop making these fascinating cakes and pastries. Visit the Sacher Hotel for lunch and people watch, it is well known to have many celebrities dropping in for lunch or dinner, you may have to queue as it is very popular. Try the Sachertorte or an Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce and whipped cream, or the Wiener Schnitzel, (breaded veal or pork cutlet) or the Tafelspitz ( tender boiled beef) – excellent.
A must on your tour is the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of St Stephen, a city landmark, it is a breath taking building and for more ‘breath taking’ climb up the north tower to see excellent view of the city. Vienna caters for all, its expensive, exclusive shops are interspersed by the tourist shops, it is a ‘easy’ walking city with pedestrian areas throughout the centre.
A day – oh dear not enough time to enjoy this beautiful city, but what an evening. An optional tour organised by Emerald Sky was a trip to the Kursalon Wein concert hall, to hear the sounds of Vienna. Our approach was fabulous, beautiful sparkling lights lit up this iconic building, the grand staircase lead us up to our seats and the orchestra began, ballet dancers, singers and fun – yes, it was classical and fun. The orchestra leader was a ‘mature’ leader with wicked sense of humor and a very good violin player. Of course the Blue Danube was played and it was the finale, and what a night to remember.
Vienna is a place to return to, it has a wealth of history, classic architecture, magnificent fountains and grand buildings. Our dance teacher would be proud of us as we ‘waltzed’ and sailed the night away!
Glynis Sullivan travelled with Emerald Waterways. Read more information
• Read Emerald Sky – Part 1: What’s On Board
• Read Emerald Sky – Part 2: Cologne
• Read Emerald Sky – Part 3: Salzburg
• Read Emerald Sky – Part 5: Budapest
• Read Emerald Sky – Part 6: The perfect Christmas River Cruise