On my last full day in Europe, I decided to visit Schonnbrunn Palace and then venture to Melk Abbey. Now why visit Melk Abbey when I could have spent another full day in Vienna? It’s simple…in the work I have done at Witte, I have seen the images of Melk Abbey quite often and always wanted to see it in person. Knowing I was a few train rides away, I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit this gem.
I again used public transportation to get around, from my hotel to Schonbrunn, from Schonbrunn to Melk, and from Melk back to my hotel. Along the way I logged a lot of miles walking, but it was so worth it.
Schonbrunn Palace is truly grand and I enjoyed my exterior and interior visit; however, the true “sleeper hit” for my time in Austria was yet to come…Melk Abbey. Once I left the train station, I walked to the city center and then walked up to the Abbey. In the winter you must pay for a guided tour and they only one tour on Saturdays. In hindsight I am so glad this was a requirement. While the Abbey is awe-inspiring, having the guides really made the history come to life. The cost was so worth the one hour tour. Once I left, I thought it might be fun to check out the shops in the city center. Unfortunately my tour ended at 3 pm and the shops had closed for the day. If I am ever in Vienna again, I will be making a side trip to Melk to visit the city center and the abbey.
Since I only had one full day in Vienna, I decided to start with an independent city tour using my map, landmarks, and public transportation to see as much as I possibly could. And yes, at some point even with the map I got turned around and lost, so once I found a U-Bahn stop, I went underground and got back on track. Seriously, the public transportation system in Austria is equally as user friendly as Germany’s.
Using the bus, I exited at Karlsplatz and immediately viewed the Opera House. Next, I walked by the Cafe Sacher Wien, which has the famous Sachertorte. I went in; however, the wait was long and I had limited time, in Vienna so I left and proceeded to Albertina Museum. Coats must be checked before you can begin your tour. I spent a very thoughtful few hours visiting each floor of art exhibits. I highly recommend this museum. Once back outside, I headed to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I tried my one attempt at a selfie and decided that is definitely not for me. Selfie fail aside, I went inside to visit the cathedral. Next, I headed to St Peter’s Church for another interior visit. It is truly amazing the art that you find in churches and cathedrals. I am often awestruck by the stain-glass windows alone. Once my visit was complete, I ventured to the Hofburg Palace and purchased a Sisi Ticket, which covered the Hofburg Imperial Apartments, the Schonbrunn Palace’s Grand Tour, and the Imperial Furniture College. I ended my independent city tour by visiting the Hofburg Imperial Apartments. It was quite interesting.
I ended my “day in Vienna” with an independent Ringstrasse tour, using the tram system to get around. Thanks to Rick Steve’s, I finally got to see “up close” the statue of Johann Strauss in Stadtpark, viewed the City Hall and Burhtheater as the tram rode by, and then alighted again from the tram so I could see the statue of Mozart. Both statues can’t be seen while on the tram. While I had a few other stops I wanted to get off of to visit, including City Hall, the time was getting late and the light was fading fast. All in all, I enjoyed my full day in Vienna and look forward to visiting this city again some day.