Many of the buildings were damaged
during the war, but have been rebuilt with
their original architecture. Even now,
buildings within the old city are only
allowed to be built to a certain height.
Imperial Winter Palace, the Hofburg, is the
focal point, and includes the treasury which
houses the Crown Jewels. The complex is
quite open and traffic is allowed through it.
If there are four of you, it is worth splashing
out on a 20-minute ride in an open horsedrawn
carriage which costs around £26.
This is also the area for discovering new
talent as there were several young people
of an incredibly high standard singing opera
or playing musical instruments. Near, too,
were several museums clustered together.
Waiting for our group outside the Leopold
Museum, I enjoyed a drink at one of the
city’s many open-air cafés. Unfortunately,
there was only limited time for our visit
to the Leopold Museum which houses an
extensive private collection of paintings,
of which we were only able to see a very
small part. Many of the streets, particularly
the shopping area around the palace are
pedestrianised, and this is the place for a bit
of retail therapy. Vienna is a sophisticated
town with all the top designer names as
well as many well-known chain stores.
Known as the city of music, one of
the highlights of the trip for me was the
musical evening staged at the 16th century
Auersperg Palace. Here, we were
entertained to an evening of Mozart and
Strauss with several ‘pas de deux’ and
operatic sequences thrown in to round
up the evening.
The Hungarian parliament building in Budapest, a city bisected by the Danube
Web site created by Mark Griffin