Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wien (Vienna)

Our final day in Austria - as well as our last full day in Europe - we had an amazing breakfast on the 18th floor of the Sofitel - with a commanding view over the Danube Canal towards the city - with sights such as Stephansdom, the Hofburg and the Staatsoper all within sight.

After breakfast, we headed for the United Nations headquarters in Vienna - the principal home to five different UN Organisations - the largest among them the IAEA - the International Atomic Energy Agency. This was where all the fall out associated with Fukushima was - and where if anyone does a nuclear missile test anywhere in the world - the monitoring instruments in the labs here will pick it up.

The building is architecturally impressive - an Austrian design - and is leased to the UN at a yearly lease of 1 shilling (if it was given free - then after 99 years it would pass into ownership of the UN - which neither organisation wants).

There are represented in the main plaza the 193 flags of nations represented at the UN - the newest being South Sudan.

The tour was excellent - and I'd strongly recommend anyone who is in New York, Geneva, Vienna or Nairobi to visit the UN and do a tour. The guides are passionate about the organisation - and the tours and information provided excellent and of a consistently high standard.

After our little trip to the UN, and lunch in the apartment (which was actually a really nice sandwich from a bakery near the hotel), before walking to the apartment of Sigmund Frued - the psychoanalyst - which now houses a museum dedicated to his life.

We then caught a taxi driven by a Serb who was determined to convince us that we should go to Serbia on our next holiday - offering us travel tips and advice on where to stay. None of us had the heart to tell him we weren't really interested in Serbia as a travel destination. He drove us to the Hofburg - the winter and city residence of the Hapsburgs - and home to the Imperial Apartments and the Sissi Museum.

We then continued on down Kohlmarkt to Demel - a Viennese institution - and enjoyed a Saacher Torte (I believe I've already explained the story - if I haven't - do get me to tell it in person).

We then walked through the streets of Vienna - and past Stephansdom once more, before heading back to the hotel.

We then enjoyed an amazing dinner up at Le Loft (on the 18th floor of the Sofitel), and I personally enjoyed the Viennese Snails, a Wild Duck, and a souffle - as well as the local Austrian Beer (which wasn't very nice). We discussed amongst ourselves how much we had all enjoyed the holiday - but also how much we were looking forward to coming home!!

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