Later, I visited Vienna a few times to attend classes when I was still in a doctorate program. Three years ago, Kristin and I visited Vienna as part of Expat Explore tour from London to Rome. So Vienna is a city with fond memories for me. But, who would not like this fascinatingly charming city?
Austria once was a power house in Europe when it had a constitutional union with the Kingdom of Hungary. It started the World War I when its Archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo, but ended up with a defeat. Austria also joined Germany under the Nazi rule, in the World War II, which also ended with a defeat and tremendous destruction. Ever since, Austria has maintained a neutral position on the world stage, a lesson learned from Switzerland, I suppose.
Vienna is the capital of Austria, filled with fine arts, music, architecture, history, beautiful gardens and cultures. Budapest tries to compete against Vienna, but Vienna is more beautiful than Budapest or any other city in Europe. Austria shares the fabulous beauty of the Alps, another attraction. Of course, Austria has Saltzburg and Innsburg both of which are adorable to all visitors. Ah...! Arnold Schwarzenegger is from Austria.
Austria has a population of approximately 8.5 million and 1.7 million live in Vienna. It is a pretty big city.
The local tour guide was the same as before: Walter. The proud Austrian tour guide with California accent led us to several key places of interest until we were scattered for free time. The citizens of Vienna were quite excited about Austria's football game for the Europe Cup on the day we visited. But football or soccer is not really Austria's strength.
We visited Schoss Schonbrun or Schonbrun Castle that has a gigantic and beautiful garden full of flowers, sculptures and water fountains. We had a picnic for lunch, but one hour was far too short for a visit and picnic.
We also visited Belvedere Garden, State Opera House, City Hall, Parliament, Presidential Palace, Rose Garden, Pedestrian District, Trinity Statue and magnificent St. Stevens Cathedral.