It was the first day of the Vienna trip 2018. Excitement was in the air and before we knew it we were at the airport. Everything was running smoothly until disaster struck. A two hour delay. A tragedy. But we were not phased, and one long meal at Wagamamas later, we boarded. Having battled the sleepiness we made it to our final destination, the youth hostel “Wombats” at a reasonable 1 o’clock in the morning.
The next day consisted of a tour of the grand Schloss Schönbrunn. Here we saw the most prominent figures of Austrian history, such as Maria Theresia, the only female ruler of the Habsburg Empire, and Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria from 1848-1916. Though the family line of the Habsburg dynasty was sustained by incest (you only have to look at the dominant lips and chins) it was rather interesting to see the founding members of such a powerful monarchy.
We had the opportunity to learn more about Franz Joseph’s 16 year old wife, Elisabeth, famously referred to as “Sisi”, at the Sisi Museum, where we gained an insight into her astonishing lifestyle and her very elaborate fitness regime! After the long but exhilarating trek through the museum, our stomachs were ready for some edible goods. Luckily our next destination involved eating, as we went to watch a baker make a traditional Austrian delicacy- Apfelstrudel!
We concluded our historic sightseeing with a quick stopover in the beautifully ornate Austrian National Library. Having been saturated by the wealth of the Habsburg history, we decided to go there ourselves in ‘Time Travel Vienna’. This blast from the past involved all the highlights of Viennese history, such as rats, war and the bubonic plague. We also met many members of the Habsburg royalty, including Emperor Franz Joseph and Princess Sisi herself.
We returned to the hostel for respite in preparation for the evening’s activities. Our first port of call was a traditional Austrian restaurant, where a substantial number of Schnitzels was consumed. Signor Fanelli’s achievements are of particular note here, as he devoured not one, not two, but three whole Schnitzels. Our final destination for the day was the ‘Burg Kino’, where we viewed the classic film ‘The Third Man’ upon Mr Page’s recommendation. The quotes: “Sie kommen zu spät” and “Papa Papa, der war’s!” will stay in our hearts forever. With high spirits, full stomachs, but heavy eyes, we returned to the hostel to rest.
We were up bright and early on Saturday morning with an exciting day ahead. First, we headed off on a short walk to the ‘Naschmarkt’, where we enjoyed a look around the Austrian food stands and were spoilt for choice regarding breakfast! We then moved on to the center of Vienna, and visited the famous ‘Stephansdom’ Cathedral. Mr Padfield prepared a great fact sheet and information guide which helped us navigate our way to points of interest within the cathedral. The cathedral’s roof, having been rebuilt after the Second World War, was especially impressive.
After we went souvenir shopping along the high street we went for coffee and cake in the famous Café Mozart, where we enjoyed Sachertorte, Apfelstrudel and Mozarttorte. Afterwards, we strolled to the park, where we visited the Johann Strauss statue, before going on an extremely interesting guided tour of the old town (although our feet were protesting). Although we were tired we powered through and went to the “Haus der Musik” where we lost ourselves in the soliloquy of stellar staccatos and perfect pianissimos. To end the evening we went to Mozart’s Restaurant where we feasted on traditional Viennese cuisine or, in Mr Neubauer’s case, three or four traditional Viennese Cuisines were not only enjoyed but devoured. As it was Beth’s birthday we enjoyed a game of pool or two back in the hostel before collapsing into bed.
After two days dedicated to the Austrian culture and history, we could not have missed the Viennese amusement park, the Prater, including the very famous Riesenrad (Ferris wheel), from which we could admire a fantastic view of the whole city. The time for having fun, screaming and laughing on the rollercoasters had come. After some Bratwurst and Käsekreiner we made our way back to the airport.
After three exhausting, but fantastic days in Vienna, the time had come to return to Rochester for the last two weeks of school before half-term.
Frau Waizenegger & The Upper Sixth German Class