Well, the first tale I have to tell rather overshadowed a fairly nice day in Vienna–on the way back to the hotel, a (presumably drunk) older man slapped me on the tail in the subway station!  I mean, really!  Fortunately, he was moving pretty fast and apparently never skipped a beat, since he was halfway to the escalator when I whipped around.  Sorry to say, this kind of spoiled a perfectly good day spent at Schönbrunn Palace and Tiergarten.aug2010_017That aside, it was a nice day, warm and sunny (even a little too warm walking around, but better than freezing in the wintertime!)  We started out the day by hopping the U-Bahn to the Schönbrunn Tiergarten (the zoo).  It’s a pretty nice zoo–one of those where the animals are in enclosures, not little bitty cages.  We really liked the koalas and the compulsive polar bear–the polar bear kept pacing back and forth along its rock, flipping its foot out at the edge every time.  It kept this up for hours–we saw it a couple different times and it was doing the same thing.  I told Rebecca it was animatronic!  The only real disappointment was we couldn’t see any wolves (Rebecca’s favorite animal) in their enclosure, and (sadly) lunch at the Tirolergarten was less than memorable.

aug2010_028We walked through the Palm House and the Desert House and then made our way over to Schönbrunn Palace.  We elected to skip the climb up to the Gloriette and save that for tomorrow.  However, we did go to the Apfelstrudel show at the Café Residenz, which was worth seeing.  The show is in German and English–a professional chef shows how to make apfelstrudel.  The best part was when he showed how to stretch the crust to make it thin–so thin you can read through it.  The show also includes a small piece of apfelstrudel for tasting.  You can get a large warm piece at the café upstairs if you want (but be forewarned, you pay a premium at the palace!)

aug2010_024After a couple of (expensive) coffees and Rebecca’s apfelstrudel, we had just enough time to do the tour through the imperial rooms in the palace.  The history doesn’t interest Rebecca much, but I find it kind of interesting to tie together the historical threads.  Maria Theresa, the only female ruler of the Habsburg empire, resided in Schönbrunn.  She had 16 children (!), one of whom was Marie Antoinette.  Remember Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination precipitated World War I?  His uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph I, was born at Schönbrunn Palace.

To wind up the day, we decided to try Figlmueller’s again.  We were able to get in this time, and ended up sharing a table with a couple of other people (mother and son).  Of course, we got the famous Wienerschnitzel, and it was huge.  It was pretty good, but honestly, not anything all that special, we thought.  Also, oddly enough, Figlmueller’s doesn’t have beer, only wine.  Roy was kind of disappointed.  Still, the food was decent and it was an okay way to wind up the day.  (Until that “tail” incident!)

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