Vienna is a very clean, refined and safe city. The architecture is rich, but not as diverse as Prague's. It is also very compact, which makes it a good walking city for visitors.
Friday May 11th
I arrived in the early evening and headed for the Vienna Marriott. The airport shuttle to the city air terminal was cheap and dropped me off just across Stadtpark from the hotel. John and I had dinner at the Kervansaray und Hummer Bar, which was excellent. We went in search of music and ended up at Flex by the river canal. The music didn't look promising that night, so we had a beer and left. We walked through the city toward the hotel and got a few shots of St. Stephans at night (below - first two pictures).
We used the lookup capability of my GPS to find Loos American Bar for a martini. There is a significant architectural story behind this 1907 bar, designed by Adolf Loos, which is studied and emulated by architects all over the world. A full size replica of the bar was built in Trinity College, Dublin's Dining Hall. The door guard at the club next door took our picture in front of Loos (above - last picture), which was overcrowded and didn't live up to its reputation of having the best martinis in Europe.
Saturday May 12th
In what could best be described as a classic bad eating choice, John and I headed out from the hotel in the late morning for an Austrian lunch of Goulash and beer, which seemed to stay with us the rest of the day. We got a one-day MetroPass and took a train out to Schonbrunn Castle. Schonbrunn is a baroque castle which evolved from a hunting lodge in the middle ages to become the second largest castle (behind Versailles) in Europe. We took the VIP Pass self guided tour that allowed us to skip the lines and move through the apartments rapidly. The grounds were spectacular and the walk up the long hill to the Gloriette, which overlooks the castle, provided some good views of Vienna (below). The restaurant at the top provided us with our first SacherTorte of the trip.
From Schonbrunn we took the train back to Vienna and the Hofburg Palace. The Hofburg Palace is used today as the Austrian President's office, but dates back to the 13th century. The Imperial apartments and the grounds around the Palace allowed us some good shots (below).
We then took the Circle Tram around the inner city and captured a few shots of some impressive buildings. The first shot below is of the side of the Opera House. The second and third pictures below are government buildings on the ring. The fourth picture is a walk street scene along one of the shopping districts near the Opera. We grabbed a drink at the famous Hotel Sacher (last picture below) before moving on to an excellent Tafelspitz dinner ("The Emporer's dish" - seasoned beef stew) at Plachutta.