Sorry for the lack of posts. It turns out that between walking around all day and hanging out with Gore people I just didn’t have the energy left to post. =)
This morning I went to the Belvedere Quarter. I started the day by getting a pastry at one of the dozens of bakeries by the U-Bahn stations. The Austrians obviously love their pastries and coffee! I went and saw the old Karlsplatz stations. The original pavilions are quite pretty, but were replaced when they built the new U-Bahn. While I was eating my pastry at the pavilion I picked up a stray child. He wasn’t really stray, his mother was sitting at a bench, but he was only about 2 and tried following me when I left. He was so cute!
After the pavilions I went to Karlskirche. It was built after one of the Emperors vowed to build a church to St. Charles if the plague ended. Like all the churches in Vienna, it was gorgeous! It was very large, about the size of a Cathedral here. (Most non-Catholics and/or Americans call any large Catholic church a Cathedral, but it is technically the church that is the seat of the bishop. That church comes later in the trip.) They were restoring the frescos on the ceiling, so the scaffolding blocked the full effect of the interior of the church. They had an elevator going up to the scaffolding so you could see the frescos up close. Once up in the scaffolding, you could walk up stairs into the smaller dome in the top of the larger dome. It was very cool to see out the windows onto the city from that height, but I’m terrified of heights so I didn’t spend very long up there.
After the church I went to find the palaces. There are a bunch of palaces here that were built after they defeated the Turks in 1683. The palaces are galleries now. I visited the gardens around the two Belvedere palaces, but I didn’t go inside. The gardens connecting the two Belvedere palaces are epic. They are very ornate and intricately designed. There are several beautiful fountains, and there are sections almost completely enclosed with hedges. I also walked around the Botanical gardens, mostly on accident. I was trying to find the way out of all the gardens to the nearest train station, and found the botanical gardens instead. It was a happy mistake because everything was blooming and they have some of the prettiest songbirds I have ever heard. I had lunch at Salm Bräu. I had a yummy spinach strudel and Märzen beer that they brew there. It was a very picturesque restaurant. It was in an old building with a garden and window boxes.
After lunch I tried to find another area, but got lost, so I went back to the hotel. I did pop into the Imperial Hotel for a peek, and they gave me a funny look since it is such a fancy hotel. Ben and I went to dinner at a restaurant near our hotel called Pfudl. It was good, traditional Austrian food. The trouble with Austrian and German food is that it is very similar to traditional American food, so I didn’t really feel like I was eating anything different. The major difference was that they still use real butter on everything. Yum! I had a whole fish for dinner. It was somewhat traumatizing, but I just tried not to look at the head.