Day 4- Monday September 24, 2001

Imperial Hotel, Vienna, Room 305

Because we went to bed early, we were also up early. The shower in this hotel really sucked. The showerhead sprayed very fine needles of water and was almost painful to be directly in the stream. There was another hand-held unit mounted lower in the tub, about knee-level, that was only a bit better but it sprayed water everywhere and was cumbersome to use.

Breakfast was a buffet in the hotel café with the usual goodies. After eating we bought all-day trolley tickets at the front desk and were off to explore the city. The hotel suggested starting out on the 'Ringstrasse' (Ring Street) that circled the main area of the city.

Unfortunately we weren't familiar with any of the trolley routes, so instead of getting on one that went around the ring, we got on one that went into the city, through residential areas, past the hospital (Krankenhaus) and university. It eventually reached the end of the line and we had to get off and re-board going back. Same trolley, we just had to get off and re-board after it went around the circle to head back the other way.

Although it was not a "5 Star" Michelin tour, we did get to see a part of the city that we otherwise would not have gotten to see. We eventually got back to where we started and very carefully looked for the trolley that went "around the ring."

We found it and several stops later got off at a park next to a public building. We walked around looking at the buildings and the statues and soon decided that we needed to find a bathroom (WC). It was a public pay toilet in a corner of the park/garden and cost 7 Schillings each (about $.50) to get in. This was well worth the cost as it was very clean.

We continued to walk around the area and came upon the 'Spanish Riding School' (Hofreitschule) which is world-famous for the Lipizzaner Stallions. Unfortunately they were closed on Mondays so there was no performance or practice. We did manage to find the Spanish Riding School museum where we got to view the history of the institution and saw a couple of the horses in their stalls.

After finishing up here, we boarded the trolley and ventured farther around 'the Ring.' We stopped at another station to get out to walk over to an ancient church that was being restored. We then walked back to an outdoor café to have lunch. I had ham with scrambled eggs on toast (with a beer, of course), and Barb had the Frankfurters which were disappointingly similar to our hot dogs. We haven't found much in the way of sandwiches for lunch. Mine was very good and I especially enjoyed the ham. We paid for lunch and started out on foot around the ring. We eventually got back on the trolley. After a few minutes on the trolley, we detected a horrible stench. We figured out that it was coming from the fellow behind us. He appeared to be very drunk, sitting with his head in his lap, and smelled as if he had vomited on himself. We quickly changed seats, moving as far away from him as we could. We noticed that several of the other people that subsequently sat near him, like we did, wrinkled their noses and quickly moved on.

We spotted a McDonald's and got off to use the bathroom and to leave 'Stinky' behind for good. We finished up the 'Ring' on foot. We saw BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, and Maserati car dealers on the way. No shortage of money in this town. Maybe next time I'll stop in and do some shopping.

We decided to walk to Karlsplatz, behind the hotel, which we had seen on our trolley tour. It is a park-like area with a magnificent old church. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a market to pick up some soda, beer, and smoked sausages (Landjaegers).

Dinner this evening was at the hotel café as we didn't really want another big meal like we had the night before. We had a shrimp cocktail and the 'Imperial Burger' which tasted like veal with spices added. It was served with French Fries and a sauce that resembled 1000 Island dressing. I enjoyed it very much but Barb had trouble with it later during the night.

Our schedule called for us to leave for Salzburg at 11:25 the next morning but we really wanted to see the Lipizzaner stallions practice which was from 10:00 until noon. We bought tickets at the front desk. We knew that trains to Salzburg leave almost every hour until late in the afternoon, so that wouldn't be a problem. It would actually work out better because we would get there closer to check-in time.

We went for a walk and on the way back we wanted to stop by the market to pick up some soda and beer. The market was closed so we walked over the trolley kiosk and got them. They sell beer, liquor, and cigarettes everywhere. Back at the hotel we stopped at the business center to write a few e-mails and catch up on our journals.

Vienna Street
Flower Garden and Fountain
Park area in town
Streetcars in Vienna
Back to Vienna, Day 1 Forward to Vienna, Day 3