Vienna 2016 – Day 2 – Schönbrunn and Prater

Day 2 was basically designated as our Schönbrunn Palace day.The Palace is widely regarded as the must see attraction in Vienna, and comprises of a huge palace which may have been home to a Johann Strauss,  an imperial horse carriage museum, a bunch of cafes, and palace grounds and gardens which must span around 2 square miles.

This palace grounds are actually walking distance from the airbnb flat we are staying in,  albeit a long walk –  so we headed over in the morning by foot while getting battered by rain and then had the joy of spending about 20 minutes or so queuing to get tickets…  Only to then find out that we would not be allowed into the palace for another hour and a half due to the way they stagger people’s entrance.

So while waiting I thought I’d grab tickets for a nearby apple strudel show, basically 10 euros lets you watch some chefs make traditional Viennese apple strudel –  the queue for this was again about 15 minutes or so,  but it was all so badly explained that when I arrived,  it turns out you can’t just buy some strudel there (despite it being a huge cafe with trays of apple strudel literally just sitting behind the last behind the counter) –  you have to watch the show to get the food, and apparently you can’t just buy tickets for later on, you have to pay and catch the next show,  which was in 40 minutes and would clash with roughly when we were due to go into the palace…  The woman was so incredibly rude that It just pissed me off and I ended up saying forget it and walking out,  this rudeness unfortunately seems to be pretty common in the country.

We’d spend an hour or so in the imperial carriage museum nearby, featuring the carriages used to ferry royals about the street, all rather impressively detailed and in gold trim. One of the funeral carriages in particular were really impressive,  there was also a bunch of garments on display.

Eventually, we headed to the palace to have our walk around, we skipped the audio guide because honestly I don’t think either of us cared that much for the proper history of the place. We had purchased the grand tour tickets, of which there is an imperial tour which has 22 rooms, and the grand tour which has 40 rooms.

The interior of the palace was a bit underwhelming, perhaps because I went to Nueschwanstein Castle last year which was basically the same thing but way more impressive, but the rooms were nice and royal but not particularly jaw dropping. There were a few rooms which were impressive of course, and I tried to sneak a picture even though you aren’t supposed to.

Outside the main palace was a huge pop up Christmas market, where we’d have a wander around the shops and get some food for lunch. Plenty of interesting things to eat,  we had goulash is bread bowl, a hash brown thing, and Cordelia bought some form of dumpling thing called a Germknodel which was interesting… It was filled with spiced plum filling or something. We also popped into a small cafe just to warm up and have a bit of a sit down, I regrettably ordered some Apple strudel there, which was a bit soggy and not really impressive at all. We’d spend a few hours walking around the palace grounds until we got tried, we’d keep stumbling upon these gigantic structures as we were walking around which would slow us down from getting back home, as we’d inevitably have to take photos.

Back to the flat after this, where I’d apparently pass out for an hour or so from exhaustion.  My legs were killing me from all of the walking and standing, as aside from in a cafe we stopped in, we had been on our feet walking or queuing all day. Evening quickly rolled by as we rested, and we were soon out and about again,  this time headed by train to Prater, which is like a fairground which is open all year around. We thought we’d better eat dinner first, and so stopped into a restaurant along the way,  where I had an unimpressive looking,  but good tasting Lamb Ragout with croquettes.

The parts of prater which were open were fairly small,  with half of the park turned off and in darkness, I couldn’t help but think of that ‘now this is a ghost town’  quote from call of duty as we looked around the off section. More towards the north side,  things were more alive, with shops selling snacks and mulled wine and punch, and some attractions (swings and wheel) being great fun to photograph.

We thought what the hell and went on the Ferris wheel,  despite it’s very steep price of almost 10 euros per person. It was a nice ride around but on the short side for sure,  it did however let us get some nice photos from above. Things were starting to close by the time we got off the wheel, as it was close to 10pm by then,  we played around with our cameras some more before starting the journey back home.