Visiting Vienna for the weekend was quite an unexpected treat for me.  As mentioned in a previous post, on Tuesday Pete asked me if I wanted to spend the weekend with him in Vienna.  How could I say no?  He has been a couple of times for meetings so he was able to show me around his “stomping” grounds.  We spent the Saturday and Sunday exploring and visiting the sites.  Schonbrunn Palace, believe it or not, was first built as a summer “retreat”.  Ha, can you imagine heading off to your summer place with 1000 servants in tow?  Unbelievable!  We attended the “Apple Strudel Show” there where they did a live demonstration on “how-to” make apple strudel.  I will expand on this later when I actually attempt to make the strudel myself.  We also visited Belvedere Palace which was equally impressive.  The landscaping at both palaces is incredible, even my dad would be impressed with how the lawns were mowed.

I have to note that Vienna unlike any city I have visited to date.  Why?  The city closes at lunch time.  I asked the concierge where I could find a bank and he looked at me, at his watch and back at me with an “are you serious” face and said matter-of-factly “Nothing is open at this hour.”  This is also true for Sunday mornings.  I thought for sure (coming from London) that I would easily be able to find a Starbucks for coffee and breakfast on Sunday morning.  Thirty minutes of walking around later, I realized that there was no coffee or breakfast to be had. 

The smoking was not as bad as I had (Pete had made it to be) anticipated.  The restaurants we ate in were smoke-free – this must be sign that the city as a whole is making moves in this direction.  Hey, the first time I came to London you could still smoke in public places.  Thankfully that is not the case today otherwise I would have reconsidered this move.

Weird though, dogs are allowed in bars and restaurant.  I’m not a pet person but I have a hard time believing that anyone likes a dog sniffing around when you trying to enjoy your dinner – especially at a nice restaurant.

Overall, we had a great time!  Next time I go to Austria it will, hopefully, be to go snowboarding! 🙂

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