Molly, Doug and I went to Vienna this past weekend. It was wonderful! It snowed on us all weekend which made it very cold but very pretty. Vienna is much more modernized than Budapest...not that Budapest isn't modern but Vienna is just more commercialized and geared towards tourists. The people were also extremely friendly...eager to talk to us everywhere we went which is also different than here. I think the big differences between the two cities is because Vienna was not under communism like Budapest was until 1989. Budapest is just now learning how to be a tourist city and have customer service it seems. I love it though.
We crammed alot into our Vienna weekend. We saw many churches (Stephansdome, Peterskirche, Karlskirche), Parliament, Belevedere Palace, Schonbrunn Palace, the State Opera House, Stephansplatz and Grabenstrasse (big shopping areas), Neus Rauthaus (City Hall) and Bergtheater. In a random restaurant one night we ran into a guy who graduated from TCU in 2000. He lives in Chicago now and was skiing with friends in Austria. He had actually studied abroad in Budapest when he went to TCU too. Such a small world! Here are a few pictures from Vienna.
Stephansdome (St. Stephans Cathedral) -- Gorgeous church and it is randomly right in the middle of the huge shopping streets. Those pretty blue skies are very deceiving in this picture.
The State Opera House and Molly and I inside it. We went and saw the opera, Tristan and Isolde. We got extremely cheap standing room tickets. The opera was 5 and 1/2 hours long though so we only made it through the first half since we were standing!
(Left) Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church) and (Right) Neus Rauthaus -- The city hall has a winter festival out in front of it with an ice skating rink. It was a very fun place.
(Above) Molly and I outside our hostel...get excited.
(Right) The Belevedere Palace and its beautiful gardens, which we quickly realized are much prettier when they are not covered by snow.
Schonbrunn Palace. We took a tour of it...it was built by the Hapsburgs to show off their wealth so the rooms and the entire area are very lavishly done. Molly and I wanted to have a snowball fight but Doug would not play.
We had to be American and go to Starbucks. Vienna has the closest starbucks to Budapest and I miss my big cups of coffee.
We are going to Prague this weekend...so more pictures soon!