17.06.2017 - 20.06.2017
Wow, this is the grandest city we have ever visited, the scale and number of magnificent buildings is breathtaking. We had an idea that this city would be more than a one day stroll round and thinking about which museum or royal palace or stables to visit would be a job on its own. Never mind the opera and so many performances of waltzes and ballet and Strauss.
We don't usually do the tourist bus and this time opted for the one day city transport ticket because the city is big and the Royal palaces are a long way from the centre. I think that if we return the tourist bus would be a better choice, also not going to see the UNO buildings be useful as they were just a bit boring.
On the way in by train we saw this Gaudiesque building that was shining in the morning sunlight with baubles and bangles and beads, well nearly! A lady on the train told us it is a rubbish burning power station with the exterior designed by an Austrian artist, I expect it's on the tourist bus route.
We jumped on a bus after the UNO and it went the wrong way, which we realised pretty quickly and got off and found not only a local's bar for the cheapest beer in Austria but a Wiener Schnitzel as well, two ticks in the box!
We got back on the U and took it to the palace, again a staggeringly massive edifice, not tall but spread out. Seat of the Habsburg power since the 19th century, a family ruling the Austro-Hungarian empire and too many assignation.
We had spent a long day in the city and hadn't decided on our destination for the next day, but given the proximity of Bratislava we decided on going there. We were woken not by trains at 06:30 but diggers refurbishing the station so we were off just after 8 for the 50 mile trip to Bratislava.
Where Wien is grand, Bratislava is modest with only one castle and cathedral; but we have never seen so many pavement cafés. Tourism is obviously a major earner for this Danubian city and the flat river cruise boats were lined up along the bank and cruisers were being guided around the cobbled streets.
We carried out our usual test, beer and ice cream. The Budvar game in 2 strengths, 10° & 12° which I will have to check out because I can't remember all the degrees proof. The city has an opera and philharmonic hall and I'd imagine quite good nightlife, so worth a weekend visit. We decided not to stay overnight in what was a scruffy car park near a tram bridge into the city and move into the countryside again, checking diesel prices as we went.
We passed over Austrian, Slovakian and Hungarian borders several times that day and the only one that was manned was the Austrian side of Austro-Hungarian one; soldiers, guns, trucks, it looked like a real border, until all the soldiers did stand watching everyone drive through.
We made a big round trip searching for a route passed the motorway and crossed the same railway line half a dozen times before we arrived at a quiet stellplatz for a couple of days.
Jacqui became a bird whistler trying to attract a bright yellow bird with a whilstle not unlike a wolf whistle, we also saw several swallows chasing off a kestrel by diving on it, very brave for a small bird but don't understand what they were protecting.
It was very warm here only dropping to 30 in the shade after we had washed up at 8, longest day tomorrow!