Before Feb. 24, I had not been to Vienna in 50 years. The first trip was in 1967, between my junior and senior years in college.
My father generously paid for me to participate in a two- or three-week tour of Europe. It was a bus tour, with a sprightly, handsome tour guide named “Jella” (silent “J”).
Our group consisted of 44 girls and four boys, and I think Jella got to know one or two of the girls pretty well. As for me, I drank a lot of beer; fell hard for a tour participant from Buffalo; and really didn’t pay enough attention to learn much about Europe. (Once back home in Kentucky, the relationship with the girl from Buffalo soon faltered.)
About all I remembered of Vienna was the splendor of the Schonbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence of the Hapsburgs, who ruled various parts of Europe from the 13th century to the early 20th century.
This trip was different. Patty and I, along with another couple, toured Vienna as it should be toured, going from one part of that great city to another on public transportation, visiting museums and palaces, attending the opera and enjoying local dishes like Wiener Schnitzel, bratwurst and “apfelstrudel.”
Our trip, which ended Saturday, also included stints in Salzburg, Budapest and Prague. The most gratifying part of the trip was spending time with our son Charlie, who is in the midst of a one-year internship with a U.N. agency in Vienna — one of the U.N.’s four headquarters cities, along with New York, Geneva and Nairobi.
In seven months, Charlie has learned a lot about the European lifestyle and, among other things, has visited Berlin and Budapest and gone skiing in the Alps.
Naturally, I took a lot of photos and managed to not drop or break my trusty little Lumix. So, this week, I’ve got two sets of photos for you. The first set is from Salzburg and Vienna. The second will be from Budapest and Prague.
Now, as Jackie Gleason used to say…And awaaay we go!
Added at the request of Jayson Seymour (see comment below), “apfelstrudel” from Salzburg…
Also adding this photo of a cafe in Salzburg. Unlike at the coffee houses in the U.S., most people are not checking their email or held hostage by their cellphones in European cafes. The cafe is a place where people read actual newspapers or books, relax and talk quietly. Most cafes have a rack newspapers affixed to wooden rods.