Imperial Retreats

More Vienna, this time with singing and music. And still plenty of palace action.

Strange House, Vienna, Austria
But first, one the stranger architectural decisions in Vienna. I'm not really sure what's going on here, but I must say that I like it.

Staatsoper Pit, Vienna, Austria
Our second night we had tickets to the Opera at the Staatsoper (State Opera House). We got all dressed up and listened to a big guy sing in Italian. (The seats did individual screens that displayed the words in English and German). The live orchestral accompaniment was nice.

State Opera Galleries, Vienna, Austria
The various galleries of the Opera House.

Baroque Burger King, Vienna, Austria
After the Opera, the only dinner place we found open was Vienna's finest Burger King. I mean, look at that classical architectural styling.

Schonbrunn Palace Front, Vienna, Austria
The next day we took the U-bahn just outside of town to Schonbrunn Palace, the summer retreat of the Hapsburgs. They've got a nice front yard.

Schonbrunn gardens, Vienna, Austria
The gardens out back ain't too shabby either.

Schonbrunn Palace Rear, Vienna, Austria
Of course, it was March, so not much was in bloom except for "Don't walk on the grass" signs.

Rhino Statue, Imperial Zoo, Vienna, Austria
We went into the Imperial Zoo attached to the gardens. It's the oldest operating zoo in the world.

Polar Bear (Eisbar), Imperial Zoo, Vienna, Austria
Checking out the Eisbars in their unnatural habitat.

Panda Bear, Imperial Zoo, Vienna, Austria
Pandas literally do nothing but sit and eat bamboo. This one did not disappoint.

Fine Art Museum, Vienna, Austria
Back in town, we hit the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts). In addition to the building being pretty nice, the art wasn't half bad either.

Musikverein at night, Vienna, Austria
That night we hit the Musikverein for a little more culture. The Musikverein is Vienna's famed acoustically perfect music hall.

Conductor in Musikverein, Vienna, Austria
We got seats up really close (they're cheaper that way) to see the Moscow Symphony Orchestra play two symphonies: one Mozart, one Tchaikovsky. It was really good.

Posters in Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria
In the Karlsplatz subway station. Vienna is probably the only town in the world where Handel gets equal billing with Springsteen.

But we were thoroughly out of time in Austria. Four hours on the train and we escaped to the tourist paradise that is Prague.

Recommended Reading for Vienna:

The Little Book by Selden Edwards. In the place where Back to the Future and classical Vienna meet, resides The Little Book. The narrative follows Wheeler Burden, an improbable combination of author, rock star, and baseball star, as he travels back in time to Vienna in 1897. The story unfolds across three generations of Burdens, but the real star is the city itself.

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