We wrap up the last week of the trip by visiting our friends Stephen and Charlotte in Vienna. The four of us drove downtown to the center of the city with its wide boulevards and beautiful architecture. Coffee shops abound and we are treated to a coffee shop in business from the 1800’s called Cafe Central where the coffee is exquisite and the desserts are works of art!. We enjoyed a long break from walking here as we sit and marvel at the interior of this old world delight!
On the metro again and off to Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs answer to Chateaux Versailles in France. We have seen enough incredible interiors to last us a while, so we walk in the magnificent park and have a snack in the far reaches of the gardens. You can see the palace and Vienna over our shoulders.
The next day a long bike ride along the Danube River sounds relaxing to us and we are eager to burn some energy. Great bike trails, excellent company, good stops along the way and our rented three speeds worked well. We stop for a half-way break and Joanne experiences ice coffee unlike anything we have ever had. The recipe is two shots of espresso, two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and then fill to the top with whipped cream…when you drink it make sure you get a little of each with every spoonful and be prepared for the buzz! [if you try it leave a COMMENT and let us know what you think.]
After the day’s activity we experience the picnic atmosphere and the incredible tastes afforded in the uniquely Viennese experience of the heuriger! What a great meal and visit as we eat outdoors at the edge of a vineyard with Austrians enjoying the end of the day with a spectacular meal.
We reluctantly leave our friends because we now have a plane to catch by next Monday in Paris, so we drive the autobahn to Colmar, France and experience a town with both French and German influence because of its location in Alsace Lorraine, the oft disputed region just west of the Rhine River.
The town is a joy to walk and we find a fascinating small museum called the Unterlinden that displays the Insringen Altarpiece. This work of art deserves an entire page to itself. We are unable to see it as it was meant to be seen because it is undergoing an entire “refreshing” and is overwhelmed by scaffolding and curators busily working on getting this masterpiece into condition.
On our way back to Paris we see the battlefield of Verdun Museum [WWI] and the Ossuary and Cemetery for 143,000 troops which were sobering reminders of the past.
We make a quick trip to Reims and the museum where the WWII surrender of the Axis to the Allies took place. We also visited the Cathedral where every king of France has been crowned. It contains much history and Marc Chagall stained glass windows!
Our wedding anniversary and a trip to the Palais Garnier theater where we see the Paris Ballet in full force presenting the historic ballet “La Sylphide”. This event was the perfect end to a trip that gave us experiences that were unimaginable when we began. It was nice to put an exclamation point on the end of our travels!
We hope you have enjoyed experiencing travels in France, Italy, and Austria with us!
This is our last post so…
Joanne Paul Steve