The overnight train from Venice was the nicest I've been on so far, but the ride seemed a little rougher than the previous ones. I decided to go with my own personal cabin again since I could use the rest. Besides, I'm meeting so many people as it is I don't need to be couped up in a small cabin for that. This was the first train where I was served breakfast in my cabin, a nice touch.
The train arrived in Vienna at about 8:30am. I immediately checked out a couple big North American style hotels near the train station. They had rooms at a reasonable rate but I couldn't check in until after 12:00, so I headed into the center of the city for a look around there. I decided to do the Rick Steves' quick tour of Vienna by tram, before checking out any hotels near the city center. While waiting for the tram to arrive I met a young fellow from Indiana, who was also travelling on his own. He's been at it for about three and half weeks and has about another week and a half to go. He is using some of Rick Steves' books as well for his travels and was about to do the Vienna tram tour like me. Unlike me, he's been mostly staying in hostels.
After the tram ride I checked out a few hotels in the city center, none of them were available for the full duration of my stay so I went back out to the first one I looked at near the train station. The public transit system here is great, so it only takes a few minutes to get from city center to the train station by sub way. I bought a 3 day pass so I can just get on an off the sub way or tram whenever I want.
After I checked into my hotel it was time for a bit of laundry and some down time. Shortly after 5 I headed back to the city center to visit a few sites and grab some dinner. After the huge 2 hour Hungarian dinner I was ready to call it a night.
Here's a photos from today.
I didn't take any photos from the train, but the view from my hotel room shown below should give you some idea of the country side around Vienna.
When I first arrived in the center of Vienna from the train station this was the first thing I saw as I exited the sub way station. It's the massive Gothic style St. Stephan's Cathedral located right in the center of Vienna. Apparently this is the third church to stand on this spot. It survived the bombs of WWII but in the last days of the war fires from street fighting destroyed the original timber style Gothic roof. The roof was rebuilt in 1952 as a result of an outpouring of financial support by the locals. The ceramic tiles, which are hard to make out in these photos, are decorative and each local who donated money for the reconstruction owns one of the tiles.
The tram tour I took was on a tram just like this one. The tram circles the old city center on a wide street like that shown here. The large boulevard originally contained a medieval wall that was torn down in the 1860s. From the tram you get a good idea of the city layout, thanks to the Rick Steves' tour information. I didn't take any photos because I was too busy taking in the sites and reading ahead about what was coming up. Besides, it was raining a bit so the pictures wouldn't have turned out that good anyway. I'll be back to photograph some of the more interesting sites in the next couple days.
Before dinner I visited a few of the sites in the city center. The first of which was the Monument Against War and Fascism shown below. It's a four-part statue remembering victims of the Nazis.
2006 is the Year of Mozart and both Vienna and Salzburg are celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday with a busy schedule of concerts, so needless to say there are signs of Mozart everywhere. Here's is Opera house in Vienna.
Next to that is just one of many signs of Mozart.
It is no surprise to me that there are skater boarders here. I've seen them everywhere else I've been. These guys appear to be filming a video.
Like several of the other places I visited, Vienna has some huge pedestrian only areas in the city center, the difference here though is that the streets are huge.
Just a few interesting buildings in the city center.
When I got back to my hotel I discovered that my view looked to the west and I just caught the end of a nice sunset after a day of light rain on and off.
So far Vienna is looking like a nice place, quite clean, plenty of things to see, more relaxed, and quieter than elsewhere.