The first afternoon we just wandered around our area as we were feeling very tired. Even if you haven’t been to a city before it is always good to just wander around the first day to orientate yourself.
The next day we visited Melk which is about an hour and 20 minutes by train from Vienna. A huge abbey dominates the town. The abbey is considered a masterpiece of baroque art. It is now a museum but for over 900 years was a Benedictine monastery. It served over the course of its history as an educational institution and carried out religious duties to the parish.
It is easy to spend most of the day in the abbey and gardens.
Spurred on by our trip to Melk we decided to venture to Rust which is situated by Neusiedler Lake. We had to take a bus there and the bus station was in disarray as there was a huge amount road works in progress around it. We found where the buses left and knew the number, 566, on seeing a bus with that number, even though it had ‘Eisenstadt’ as its destination, and was earlier than the time we were given, decided to check with the driver. ‘It’s Ok; you can change at Eisenstadt and catch bus 765 to Rust.’ I thought this would be a good option as we could probably arrive at Rust a bit earlier than expected. However being school holidays some of the scheduled buses were not running, so instead of a five minute wait we had a 30 minute wait and arrived at Rust 15 minutes later than the direct bus. The town has some interesting buildings; the Town Hall (Rathaus) was built in 1673. The town was fortified twice and there are still remnants of the old town gate and wall left. A trip on the lake was an enjoyable way to spend an
On our last day in Vienna we visited the Secession Building an unusual building designed by Joseph Maia Olbrich for the Secessionist movement artists. We had seen some advertisements for the Gemälde Galerie which wasn’t far from the Secession Building; it is the paintings gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts. It has a small collection but excellent cross-section of the history of European painting. The collection was donated to the Academy in 1822 by Graf Lamberg-Sprinzenstein. Another delightful aspect of the gallery was the very interesting discussion we had with the ticket seller.
From there we went to the Hundertwasser Haus is an apartment block designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The colours and irregularity of the walls is very much a reminder of Gaudi architectural style.
Our last activity for our last day was a ‘Third Man’ walking tour, which was not a sewer tour (as it turns out none of the sewer scenes in the movie were actually shot in Vienna’s sewers). It was very interesting from both a cinematic and historical point of view. Well worth doing but it’s better if you have actually seen the film and I will certainly watch it again with a completely different eye.
Early the next morning we left Vienna for Slovenia