Well, the concert hall was anyway.
Our day in Vienna was an interesting one. Our hostel was just outside the city, but being a Sunday unfortunately all the shops were closed (including supermarkets!) All that was open around us were food stalls and restaurants. We were headed for the main city anyway, so it didn’t matter too much.
We went by bus into the city, and walked into the centre of the city. The day was then ours to fill. We started at a coffee shop in the middle of a mall (a lot of the city was foot traffic only, something that has been quite common from Venice onwards…) After a Viennese coffee and a slice of sacher tort (a traditional chocolate cake) we headed for tourist info to book tickets to a symphony orchestra performance.
After that a few of us headed to the catacombs at St Peter’s Church while some others went to a museum. The Church was beautiful inside, and while we were there the organs were playing, then the choir sung a hymn as well! It was amazing! Unfortunately some of the lights in the catacombs weren’t working so we only had half a tour, but what we saw was pretty creepy. I had expected coffins and tombs, but there were piles of human bones in open rooms! In the first part were stone rooms with memorials and tombs, but further in it opened up into a carved tunnel and rooms about 4 square metres filled with piles of bones. One of them, we were told, was a mass grave from bubonic plague victims. The guide told us it was safe…so let’s hope so! The Hapsburgs (an ancient Austrian family) were burried in there, but they were in the part that had no power so we didn’t get to see them. It was an interesting experience, but seeing all the human bones was a bit scary, and definitely creepy.
We had Viennese sausage for lunch (which, to my surprise, I enjoyed) then headed back to the bus to go to the Schnaps museum. There we were taken through the shop and part of the factory, in which the furnishings and layout haven’t been changed for about 100 years (the cash register was huge, with heaps of buttons and an old fashioned ‘cha-ching’ sound). The guide (whose great-great grandfather started the business) explained about the different types of Schnaps (he only spells it with one ‘p’) then gave us some samples. They had lots of different types, but one of the more interesting ones had 22 carat gold flakes in it! What a waste! We also tried creamy strawberry, raspberry and absynth (some other flavours included banana, chilli – which was apparently hot and spicy – butterscotch and a few others).
Headed back to the hostel after that for a quick Maccas dinner (sad but true…) then went to the symphony orchestra. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go at first, but quite a lot of people were going, and it seemed like a ‘traditional’ sort of thing to do. It went for about 2 hours, and was really enjoyable. The concert hall was smallish, but a lovely old building. They played Mozart and a few others, and there were balet dancers as well. All in all a pleasant evening. We caught the metro back to the hostel, which wasn’t too difficult (I think we’ve sampled public transport in almost every city so far…)