Day 9: Vienna in Prague and the Danube Travel Log

Revised: 09/15/2022 11:18 p.m.

  • Aug. 17, 2022, midnight
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  • Public

Today is our third day in Vienna. We were going to sail out in the afternoon so it’s a short day. We went on an excursion to the Elmayer dance school for a waltz lesson and then to Mozart’s apartment. There was only one other couple that signed up for the excursion, so it was just a group of 4. Yet Viking hired a whole bus to transport us. It was slower going above ground than under - I think we spent maybe 20 minutes in traffic and our guide tried to entertain us with stories and facts.

The dance school was fun. The school has a lot of history (oldest dance school in Vienna, apparently), but class was aimed at tourists, so it was all beginners’ steps. Upon seeing how La Professerue and I did, though, the instructor told us just go and do full half turns so we can make the progressive steps. The problem is, it was hard to turn in sneakers! Plus we only knew American style Viennese waltz so I was struggling to remember which foot to put. So we ended up still not going progressive steps, just large circles. He did give me some advanced pointers to improve our steps, so that was nice. The sad part was that they were all the same advice our regular dance instructor gave when we learned a Viennese waltz routine two years ago, which means I didn’t internalize those tips.

After class, we had another horse-drawn carriage ride. It was in the morning this time so it was less hot and more pleasant, and each couple got our own carriage. So this was much nicer. I do feel bad for the cars that got stuck behind us - in New York we’d be the ones cursing the horses when we get stuck behind a carriage. The ride ended at St. Stephen’s but the guide wasn’t there (he didn’t ride with us). So I had to walk around the square to locate him. Luckily it wasn’t too hard to spot him. We went to Mozart’s apartment/museum afterwards. The guide rushed us through there for some reason, and picked out specific artifacts that he deems important. Most artifacts - other than the building itself - are not original; in the placards there is always an explanation of what it is, and then a sentence that says, “original is kept in such-and-such museum”.

The guide took us to the bus pick-up point via a few interesting courtyards - he has a fascination with them it seems, which I don’t get. The bus was parked at the end of Stadt park, but we wanted to stay in town to do some souvenir gathering. So we left the other couple to have the whole bus to travel back to the ship, while we walked back through Stadt park, visiting the same statues I did yesterday, but now it’s nicer because La Prof is with me, and ate lunch at the Biergarten there. Then I found out the state opera has guided tours, so we cut into Kartner street to search for souvenirs and do other business and before walking back up to the opera house just in time for the 2pm tour. The opera house tour was 40 minutes, a lot longer than I expected, but we got to see a lot of the interior. It’s smaller than the War Memorial, the Met, but about the same size as Opera Garnier I think. The auditorium is a lot less gaudy than the other places, but the original staircase is still extravagant.

It was close to 3pm by the time we were done, so we had to jump on the U bahn to get back to the ship so it could depart for Komarom hungary (the ship can’t dock in Budapest due to low water levels). We also got to pack.

The historical center of Vienna still felt like a maze to me, comparable to the “bermuda triangle” of the west village, but I left this time without feeling like I missed out on a lot of must-see and must-do sites.

We went that night for the first time on our cruise to the post-dinner entertainment. It was a game of Majority rule, and we had fun - we wished we had gone to more of those. I do think we spend less time in the common areas because we were in a suite.

Last updated September 15, 2022

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