On Sunday 2nd. April, 10 of us met at Dublin Airport, for the third Irish Austrian Society trip to Austria, led by Ulli, our Vice President, and the organiser of all the trips. The 2017 expedition was just as enjoyable, and well arranged as the previous two.
We stayed in the Hotel Royal, very comfortable, and very central, close to the Stephansdom and the Graben. The first evening we had an excellent dinner in the hotel, and then went to a wonderful concert in the “Industry Hall”. This a lovely baroque building, ideally suited to the programme of music by Mozart and Strauss, finishing up, of course, with the Radetsky March !!
The next day, Monday, we were out bright and early, on a lovely sunny morning. Walter Haag, the previous Austrian Ambassador to Dublin, took us on a walking tour round some of the lesser known and interesting buildings in the centre of Vienna, including the Franciscan Church. We finished up with beer and lunch, where Aglae Hagg joined us. The afternoon was free, for shopping, and in the evening we went to the Vienna State Opera to see “Werther” by Jules Massenet. Wonderful music, in such historic surroundings.
On Tuesday we went by bus to Bratislava – the capital of Slovakia – to inform people as ignorant as I was !! We were taken on a walking tour of the city, which is quite compact, and very much geared to tourists, a great many restaurants and cafes, and very few shops. The local inhabitants must have their own bit of city. Around the city there are some amusing bronze sculptures, one of them being of a workman struggling out of a manhole on the street. We came back to Vienna by boat on the Danube, which was most interesting, it took only 1 ½ hours.
The next day we set out by coach to Schloss Eckartsau , a castle whose origins date back to the12th century, it was once an imperial hunting lodge, set in lovely countryside. The Emperor Charles moved here with his family in 1918 after relinquishing the throne, Franz Ferdinand also lived here. The castle inside and out is in marvellous condition, and is fully furnished, a most enjoyable visit. We then moved on to Klosterneuburg, an Augustinian Monastery, with the distinction of having Austria’s oldest winery, which we visited, and tasted some of the produce. Sadly we were not able to visit the Abbey Church, as some filming was going on. Nonetheless it was an interesting visit.
That evening we had a Heuriger at Mayer am Pfarrplatz, - where we went two years ago and, as then, it was most enjoyable. Caroline nee Dubsky, who is involved with Austrian Irish Society, met us there, it was nice to see her again.
Thursday was our last day, the flight was at , but in the morning we had a most interesting tour of St Stephen’s Cathedral, so different going round with a guide. We had a good journey back, having had a wonderful five days in Vienna, thanks to Ulli and her excellent organisation.
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