A beautiful night ended and the sun rose to welcome a new day. Pop Pop and I left Budapest after another great breakfast around 9:30 in the morning to make sure we made it in plenty of time to Vienna. Besides the fact that our rental car’s navigation system stopped working and we were relying on an unreliable GPS, the drive went smoothly and lasted just over two hours. We arrived at Hotel SPIESS SPIESS and parked the car in the parking garage, which luckily went smoothly. Our room was situated in the second building of the hotel, so we had to pass through a small yard to reach it, and I think it was a great touch. We dropped off our luggage and left to catch a taxi to our first plan in Vienna: a bike tour with Explore Vienna.
The bike group consisted of 18 people of all ages and coming from America, Indonesia and Australia. We saw many points of interest on this tour, but we only stopped by them for a brief summary of the place. In fact, some places the guide spoke about we only saw from a distance. So although the tour was not as close up and personal as I am used to, it was a nice, short transition to our new destination. Some of the things we saw and learned include:
- Hunderwasser House- This is a quirky apartment building by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and architect Joseph Krawina.
- Prater- A large public park with and Wurstelprater amusement park, which houses the famous Ferris wheel. Most large European cities had these Ferris wheels, but only a couple survived the World Wars.
- Universitat Wien (Vienna University)- Founded in 1365. A college education in Austria is free, so there are over 100,00 foreign students studying in the country.
- Statdpark- The Wienfluss river runs through this park and next to the hotel where president George W. Bush stayed multiple times.
- Strauss Monument- Known as the “Waltz King,” is a famous and celebrated Austrian composer from the 19th century.
- Opera House
After the tour, Pop Pop and I ate a great Viennese dinner at the famous Café Central, which had many famous regulars, including Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky. I had a beef sandwich, a blackberry, apple and lime juice medley and a delicious apple strudel.
For the first time in the history of our trip, Pop Pop did not have any plans for the night. We easily figured out the u-bahn, which dropped us off right at our hotel. We had a relaxing night as we prepared to have our last full day together.