Saturday 29 July 2017

Today is a free day according to the Rail Discoveries itinerary so our plan is to visit the Vienna Ringstrasse and get much better photographs than were possible yesterday.  Also we are celebrating 28 years of marriage and a special dinner is planned.

We walk down the hill to the local tobacconist and obtain some tickets to roam the public transport network for not very much money and then a little further down the hill to the inbound tram stop (some of the roads are one way so the return journey will be on a different line – more confusion).  This takes us to a little short of the Ringstrasse in the Museum Quarter.  We can walk out to the Ringstrasse and walk quite a distance as far as Shottentor.  It is flat and we are going at a gentle pace as it is turning pretty warm this morning!

Shottentor is a great interchange and after studying the map I find that we can take a tram service direct to one end of the park which then requires a (perhaps too long) walk to the famous Ferris wheel at Prater, as seen in the Third Man film.  The walk is level, but further than anticipated.  Indeed so well landscaped is the area that we simply cannot see the wheel until we pretty close to it, like the observation tower in Prague it is hiding behind a bank of trees!  Around the Ferris wheel is a fun fair including another wheel – but we only want the Ferris wheel.

Half of the original cabins on the wheel have been removed and some are now used for little historical displays of the history of Vienna in the waiting area, to occupy people if the place is busy.  Today however we are able to join a short queue and join the third cabin to come round.  It is a bright clear day and we have a good view across to the end of the Alps- they end here as they run into the Danube river.

Jackie enjoys the trip and we hopefully have some decent pictures.  At this end of the park it is a short walk to the metro/underground and we find our way onto the line in the right direction (signposting is not as clear as we might like) but when we reach Opera station we nearly come out of the wrong exit.  Once we have the right exit we are only a short walk, now in a very warm environment to Sacher hotel where at Café Sacher we join a very short queue for a table.

I choose some wieners for lunch and get two as I have to avoid the inevitable sugar in the torte!  Jackie has ice cream cake and not the torte as it looks slightly dry when served to others. The ice cream cake looked like this:

All goes down rather well so it makes for a nice light lunch.

We wander to the nearest fiacre stand but Jackie does not like the look of the ponies (or perhaps their drivers), so we have a longer walk in the heat back to the St Stephens Church and take a pair of greys for a little trip of 20 minutes.

Jackie and I get serenaded on as we travel around!  Both photos from Jackie’s collection!

We have walked a lot today and we end up quite a way from the Museum quarter to be able to take a return tram to our hotel – so have another lengthy walk which requires several stops in the heat.  Once back we can have a nap before going out again.

In the evening we have about a 30 minute downhill walk to Restaurant Mini as there is no easy direct transport.  And taking the metro would probably have taken about the same length of time.  On our walk we noted that high end stereo systems are obviously selling well as we see a well stocked shop with no visible prices (so more than we can afford) including valve amplifiers.  Some fellow travellers also saw similar places.  HiFi is alive and well in Austria!

As ever Jackie recorded our stunning meal so with her photos and descriptions here we go:

On the left: “Tempura prawns with an amazing orange dressed salad! Gorgeous!”.
On the right: “Tuna ummm with wasabi apple! Was fab!”  Her words – my starter!

For main course: “We both had duck with Beetroot and mushroom.  Risotto! Divine!”

At the end of the meal: “We both had chilli chocolate soufflé with sour cherries! I want to move in!”.

We then had a 30 minute stroll back to our hotel but it was a bright warm evening; just slightly uphill rather than downhill.