Vienna!

Last nights sunset was justified, although this morning began with thick fog, by 10.30 the sun came out and it is a beautiful day. The boat dock is a bus ride away from the city centre. All I really knew of Vienna was gleaned from the Third Man and numerous spy films. All war torn grey ruins and a cynical and evil Harry Lime hiding in the sewers.( if you were born after  1950 you can google it).

Quite a surprise, the ferris wheel is still there but the main part of the city is gleaming white sandstone. All very baroque and really beautiful.

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Lovely wide avenues, a magnificent Opera House and numerous museums. 80% of the GNP comes from tourism and that is easy to understand. There is so much to see here, one day is not nearly enough.

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The centre of the city is all modern buildings. Its a pedestrian area and the shops are all the most expensive international names. Wonderful shoes and handbags in the windows. Also expensive looking furs and lingerie.

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We ended the morning at the main Christmas Market which is in front of the Rathaus or Town Hall. Great fun, lots of xmas tree ornaments and lots and lots of food, pastries, chocolate, sausages etc. Vienna is famous for its cakes and pastries.

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The cupcakes even grow on trees here, but only in  the Christmas Market!

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A quick return to the ship and just time for lunch before going out again to visit the Schonbrunn Palace which was the summer Palace of the Hapsburgs. Very lavish to the point of being quite vulgar. Not like our own dear Queen’s palace! Unfortunately no photos allowed!

An early dinner was served to those of us who were going to the Mozart and Strauss concert in the evening. The concert was held in a house, palace rather next to the Ephrissi one that is described in The Hare With Amber Eyes. The Ephrussi family must have sat in just such a room being entertained by the musicians of the day. Their house was decorated with great art from the most talented artists of the time, they were patrons of

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