We woke up early for a travel day. I haven’t gotten a good night of sleep yet- just with the time change and being nervous about getting up in time, etc. so it’s made my days a little rough.
We rolled out around 8am. Nadia explained that the traffic (and pollution) in Prague is horrible as it was not made to accommodate the * people. She said if we left any later we would be stuck for hours! We had a two and a half hour ride until we reached Krumlov, a mideival castle that is now a UNESCO heritage sight for preservation. It was a beautiful location.
We had a tour of the castle with a woman who had clearly said the same thing hundreds of times. The tour before us was in Russian and the one after was a different language. It was pretty clear this was a rotating door. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside but we could on the grounds surrounding the castle.
Inside, we learned about Hapsburgs and castle life. It was apparently inhabited by heirs until as recently as the 1900s! Pictures from the outside of the castle looking up at it. are hard to do it justice, but from the inside looking out, it really was stunning.
After a quick lunch and a very brief but dramatic downpour, we were back on the bus to continue another two and a half hour bus ride to arrive in Vienna.
(This is who I’ve been hanging out with.) Nadia was cute to point out, “Who before has had lunch in one country and dinner in another!?”
It rained almost the whole way and I’m not sure how to explain this…. but bus rides are exhausting. Nadia explained some interesting differences that were helpful for me, since I know I have such a muddied view of Central European counties. Czech Republic is mostly aethiest, with the next largest group being the 25% Catholics. Crossing the border into Austria she explained they were very Catholic and even had to rearrange some of our activities for the next day since it would be a Sunday.
Sunday we had another palace tour but this time it was Schronbrunn, a palace that was modeled after Versailles! It was stunning. Our local guide had joined the wrong group at first, so we missed out on time in the gardens, which was really unfortunate since they looked massive and beautiful. The guide told us about how the entire footage of the gardens and palace together was the same acreage of all of Monacro!
I really wish I had better pictures. It’s so hard to capture the grandness and the opulence!
We had another crowded and rushed tour (with no photos allowed again). We are here during June, so it’s peak tourist season so that’s to be expected. Afterwards we had 45 minutes for lunch near the St Stevens Cathedral square
The boat cruise was lovely but not very informative or full of any sights. I’m not sure if it was because it was a Sunday that the tour had us do it, but it felt lovely to be on the water and just experience something different. Following the boat cruise we were whisked away for an early dinner before what might be my second favorite activity so far (after the Astonimical Clock), a concert in a Viennese concert hall!
It was kind of like a classical variety show- the first half was highlights of works by Mozart and the second half was works by Strauss. They had a famous (?) violinist playing a violin that was made in the 1700s and there were only 8 in the world, so apparently the concert was being televised! I signed no releases, tho! 😉 There were singers who joined the musicans on stage for some arias or duets and also dancers who performed to some of the famous waltzses. It was fun, light, entertaining and we were given champagne at intermission. So, a definitel highlight for me.
On the way back to the hotel every night, Nadia passes around the itinerary for tomorrow: up next, another early day and a lot of bus time.
The salt mines should be cool and I’m looking forward to three days in Salzburg. We had such little time to explore Vienna that I feel I really didn’t get a sense of the city or country yet. The pace is definitely fast on this trip. I’m sorry the blog is so “and then I… And then I…” I hoped for more commentary or stories and maybe they will still come!