We slept like kings! We slept so well that the hassles of the previous night were temporarily forgotten, and we showered and took ourselves down to breakfast.
We went to reception to inquire about breakfast and the internet — not really having been in a fit state to do so the night before. Breakfast starts at a whopping 19 Euros for a continental breakfast and goes up to 28 Euros for the full Monty. Internet usage is 35 Euros a day. They could, however, offer us a daily package of 35 Euros per room to cover both. PHEW! We thought we had better check on car parking while we were talking EXPENSE — 25 Euros a day !
We could take our breakfast outside, which we chose to do. PANIC — where is my camera? I want to photograph this. Mr P goes to the car and I check the room — then we do it in reverse to make sure the other has not missed it . Still no camera! Mr P suggests it might have been left at reception after the debacle the previous night.
We asked, they checked, and bingo — there was my camera! I was able to give make and model, identify and name other objects in the camera case and, phew, I had it back.
Given the cost of breakfast we decided to make the most of it — Mr P took more advantage than I did — I just savored the opportunity to have a cigarette with my coffee and pastries and soak up the atmosphere. Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road and go and explore Vienna — back to reception again for advice. Once again they were most helpful and gave us various options of traveling around and sights to see and several leaflets, including a map.
It did not take long to decide what we were going to do — one of the smaller museums. The Albertina was holding an exhibition of an art collection I was very keen to see — The Batliner Collection – Monet to Picasso.
We worked out how to get there. First, a tram to the underground station, and then the underground, and a short walk. I love trams — old and new — these were modern, clean and efficient. Less than five euros and ten minutes later we were at the underground station.
Vienna has a very comprehensive transport system — buses, trams, railway, underground, cycleways and pedestrian walkways — as well as the beautiful horse and carriages that take tourists around the city. The city offers various time tickets where you pay a fixed price and can travel around the city by any means. The horse carriages are not included in this.
There are two types of card available — The Vienna Card — which offers travel and some discounts on museums and attractions and the simple Public Transport pass which does not offer discounts on the attractions.
We had decided that we would avail ourselves of the basic three day public transport ticket which can be bought in machines at most large termini.
Mr P gallantly takes my cash card with most of our spending money on it and works his way through the instructions and then places the card in the slot to pay — it is a bit reluctant to go in to he give it an extra shove — just as I realize he is putting the card in the slot for cash NOTES not CARDS, too late, it is swallowed up and eaten.
I was determined not to lose my cool so, biting my tongue, I suggest we inform security and see if we can get the card back. I guard the machine and Mr P goes to find the security office. He returns shortly with a very helpful young man who sympathies with our position and does everything he can to help us. He rings the company in charge of emptying the machines and establishes when they are due to be emptied, takes us to his office, offers us coffee and takes all our details.
Head office say the machines are due to be emptied that afternoon or the following day and that they will keep our card for us at the station for us to collect and will call us when it is ready to be collected. We take a deep breath — buy our passes with cash this time, and make our way on the underground into the center of Vienna and onto the museum. We were headed for Stephansplatz the center of the old district of Vienna.
We were totally unprepared for the view that would greet us as we emerged from the underground: St Stephen’s Cathedral, which is the mother ship/church for the Roman Catholic Church in Vienna.
Vienna is definitely a city where you need to look UP — ground level is good, the shops are varied and interesting, one for David here, but up is magnificent!
We took our time to walk around to the Albertina museum and soaked up the magnificence of the architecture and the atmosphere of the city.