Carrying on with our brief mid-Europe tour (and dodging flooded roads!) after our time in České Budějovice (see previous post) we crossed the 'border' into Austria. Of course, within the European Union, the formal border demarcations are now a thing of the past, although a few of the original 'checkpoint' buildings remain as a memorial to times gone by. So we simply drove, unhindered, into a different country with a different language and a different currency.
As I said earlier, this was just a brief visit and our destination was Vienna, but our route took us via Melk Abbey - rising majestically above the town:
It's just as well it is so high up, as the Danube had burst it's banks and flooded part of the town below. The Abbey itself was truly beautiful to see, photographs don't really do it justice, but here's a few pictures:
The Danube, making its presence felt - not very blue, is it?
There will be a lot of clearing up to do, so many homes and businesses affected. This is the open-air auditorium - no concerts here for a while, I think:
It was 8.30pm as we strolled though the magnificent grounds surrounding the palace - although we had to be aware of the joggers making their late-evening circuits - they stop for no-one!
There are far too many pictures to post up here and comment about - so here's just a few of the Hofberg Palace, the famous Lipizzaner 'White' stallions of the Spanish riding school, and the Swiss Gate.
Empress Maria-Theresia had her own detachment of Swiss guards at the palace,hence the name 'Swiss Gate'.
A bit smaller than the Budweiser brewery!
Caught in the act! (the picture angle's deceptive, honest, the glass wasn't that big!)
Don't think I've ever eaten straight from the pan before!
Beef and mushroom stew with dumplings (the green stuff) and sour cream - mmmmm!
(I wasn't the only one drinking.....!)
We enjoyed the food, the beer and the ambience......we did it all over again the next day!
More piccies in and around the city:
Love the horses' ear-caps!
The Rathaus (Town Hall)
The entrance to the subway - very Art Nouveau!
Interesting 'bus' tour!
The New Year's Day concerts from the Musikverein are broadcast around the world.
....and how would you fancy having your dinner suspended from a crane!
(I had to borrow this image from the internet as my pictures didn't come out)
As I mentioned previously, the devastating floods in central Europe had taken their toll of the countryside and part of our itinerary had to be changed. Hubby and I had already planned to visit the Kursalon and attend one of their Strauss concerts, but our tour company came up trumps by giving us all free tickets (by way of consolation for the parts of the tour that had to be cancelled) - and free champagne on the terrace, to boot!
(again, 'borrowed' images, but too good not to share!)
Leaving Vienna to return to the Czech Republic, we stopped off at Schönbrunn Castle, summer residence of the Hapsburg Royal family:
(Having re-watched the James Bond film "The Living Daylights" after our visit, we've discovered continuity blips in the scenes shot in Vienna - one second 007 and his lady are in the middle of Vienna in a horse drawn carriage, the next they're pulling up at the steps of this palace - er, I think you'd need more than a couple of horses to manage that so fast!)
No internal photography means I can't show you the magnificence inside but you'll get an idea here
..... and so we headed north, back across the border - but you'll have to wait for the next instalment!