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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back from Vienna...

Well, we are back from our whirlwind trip to Vienna. It was 48 hours from leaving Prague to getting back. It's about a 4 hour drive each way. The point of the trip was to get a quick thumbnail view of the city to lay the groundwork for a longer trip later, and in that we were very successful.

The hotel was nice but not great. It was a "family" room that could accomodate three people, but in typical European fashion it was very small. Basically, there was room for a double bed and a single bed and not much else. Also on the negative side, the neighborhood didn't have much to recommend it. Not that it was a bad neighborhood, just kind of "blah". No cute shops or restaurants - just pretty much residential on the outskirts of the city. On the plus side, parking was free, breakfast was free, and it was right across the street from one of the many metro lines, so getting around the city was very easy.

We arrived at the hotel by around 9:00 PM on Friday evening after leaving Prague at 4:00. Traffic leaving Prague was horrendous, and not having a freeway around the city didn't help. We had downpours for the first two hours of the drive which didn't help our travel time. However, we got through the border to Austria quickly and without any problems. Surprisingly, both the Czech and Austrian border guards just glanced at our passports and gave them back to us - no stamps. We hoped for stamps.

We got up Saturday morning and had breakfast then went to the station and bought 24 hour passes that let us travel by train, subway, tram and bus. We hopped on the subway and went into the city.

There will be pictures from Vienna all week, but our first stop was Stephansdom, a church in the center of the city. The "Steffl" as the cathedral is called, was damaged by WWII bombers but was rebuilt and is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The foundations date to 1147.

The cathedral has an interesting mosaic tiled roof.

A mass was about to start so we had to stay in the back. It's truly a beautiful cathedral.

Kathy and Noah lit some candles at a side alter.

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