There are many things to really appreciate about on this cruise. One of those is that everyday we have a menu of included excursions. They cover a wide range of interests and there is something for everyone. For people that have never visited Vienna the most popular tour, and the most encouraged to participate in is the “city tour”. Now you would think that because we have never been to this part of the world that the city tour would be the choice we would make? Nope!! As per our usual choices we choose the road less traveled.
Our choice was the “Alte Donau Bike Tour”. It is a bike tour alongside the Danube River. Arriving early on Sunday morning gave us the opportunity to see Vienna as few tourists have the opportunity. The first thing we have to do is head straight up a bike ramp that will take us over the river but when we come down the other side we arrive in a public park.
We made many stops where our guide would explain what we are looking at. We stopped at these reflection ponds that were built in anticipation of a World Fair that was to be held in cooperation with Budapest. The fair was cancelled but many of the elements had already been built. The backdrop is the new side of Vienna.
The bridge that our guide intended to take us back to the ship was closed due to a triathlon being held so we had to do some serious peddling to get back to the ship in time for our afternoon excursion to the Schonbrunn Palace.
This was built as the summer residence of the Habsburg Emperors and consists of 1441 rooms and retains the original furnishings.
There are 400 acres of garden. Once we went through the palace as a group they headed to view the carriages and off we went to see what treasures await us in the gardens. From inside the palace we could see high atop a hill the favorite place of Empress Maria Theresa (who had 16 children and ran her country at the same time! Maybe it gave her some alone time. As alone as she would be with her many servants)
We meandered through parkland setting and found fountains like this ” Roman Ruin” erected in 1778 consists of a rectangle pool enclosed by a massive arch and walls giving the impression of the ancients crumbling into the ground.
Up to the top we climbed until we arrived at the “Gloriette”.
From the top we could look back down to the back of the palace and see the city of Vienna around it
We were able to walk around the backside of the fountain and see the grand scale, and fine details of the magnificent centerpiece sculpture.