Like several people around the ring, I haven't posted for a while. I'm back from a rather quick trip to Vienna, Austria, with my husband where he attended a meeting and I did the "accompanying member" thing of sightseeing, smiling at conference affairs, washing out travel clothes, etc. Vienna is an absolutely wonderful city to visit. There's as much art and splendor as Paris, and in some ways it's more pleasant since there's much more English spoken and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The fact that I don't know any German was actually a plus, since I felt no pressure that I should know what was going on and just addressed everyone in English. There's an excellent public transportation system and the city is clean and apparently quite safe, although tourists need to be careful anywhere, I think. And mustn't forget the food--delicious although heavy.
The downside for us was that Austria was in the middle of the worst heat wave in its recorded history. It was in the upper 90's for the entire time we were there, and one day it was 102! We had an air-conditioned hotel, but many hotels are not air-conditioned, the meeting venue was not, and neither are restaurants, shops, trolleys, and buses. The heat really hurts the sightseeing, since I didn't have the energy to go many places that I might have otherwise visited, (like some of the famous Vienna art nouveau buildings which are a bit off the beaten track), and the food and famous coffee didn't even appeal (although beer is good in the heat--). I saw air conditioned museums in the afternoon, and did the walking around part before noon.
Most of my pictures are still on my husband's computer, but here are a few.
Part of the Hofburg, the winter palace for the Hapsburg emperors until 1918, and now home of many Austrian government bureaus and the president of Austria.
Part of the imperial china and silver on view. This is the imperial napkin fold, only used at state dinners, originally when the emperor was present and now when there is head of state. Supposedly how to make this fold is a closely held secret, known to only two people even now. Isn't that a stitch? I bet some of you out there could figure it out...
The interior of a famous coffee house/ pastry baker. As I said, not as appealing in the heat as it looks in this picture.
This is the Cafe Central, a perfectly splendid cafe with painted ceilings, gilt, live piano music, delicious schnitzel, and best of all: air-conditioning! (If you see a few brave souls outside, it's because I took this picture early in the morning.)
Believe me, I haven't even scraped the surface of the beautiful things in this city!