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Our big holiday gang drove to Vienna, Austria, yesterday. We left Budapest around 7 a.m. The Austrian border guards gave us a bag of Wiener Vanillekipferl (Viennese Vanilla Crescent cookies). We arrived in Vienna before noon. It was an overcast day. The city's architecture resembles Budapest, but Vienna is securely in the western world. It's expensive and there are plenty of Starbucks.

We started our day with a tour through the Schonbrunn Palace. We waited in line for an hour. We bought our tickets for the "Imperial Tour" and were told we'd have to wait another hour to get into the palace. We decided to stroll through the palace gardens and eat lunch. We saw a yak at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn, the world's oldest zoo. We crossed Kennedy Bridge (as in JFK). We found a dilapidated restaurant. There were a few elderly customers reading newspapers. We ordered wienerschnitzel and bratwurst.

The palace was interesting and dark. The audio guide talked about the royalty's children being married off at age 13, to their cousins. Photographs weren't allowed, but I snapped a few, including Empress Elisabeth's dressing room scale.

We walked around central Vienna for most of the afternoon to see the sights, including the Hofburg Imperial Palace and St. Stephen's Cathedral. We had a drink at the State Opera Cafe. We walked through the shopping district on Kohlmarkt, Graben and Karntner Strasse. We saw some mummified bodies at St. Peter's Church and Giff wrote "James is dumb" in the church's guest book.

We left Vienna after dark, but not before Michael used the Opera Toilet, a bathroom in the Opera subway station that features an opera house motif and plays opera music.

Schonbrunn Palace

Palace gardens




Empress Elisabeth's dressing room scale

Plastic bag art, and Tara


Holfburg Imperial Palace



I give Giff and Katy bunny ears on Kohlmarkt and the woman on the right laughs

"James is dumb"

"God? Is that you?"

Opera Toilet

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