by Don McCann

Viking River Cruises – Danube Waltz – onboard Viking Magni, November 19, 2013

The third port on our recent Danube cruise was Vienna.  This was to be our most activity-packed day and it all worked out perfectly!   The day before we arrived, we were given the option to change our included city motorcoach tour to an ‘upclose tour’ via subway.  As we’d planned to stay in town after the tour to visit the Christmas market and we prefer walking tours, this seemed perfect for us.  Our group of 14 was met at the gangway to the ship by our tour guide, Erika, then we walked a couple of easy blocks to the nearest subway station.  Once at our stop, we began our walk past the fascinating and classic architecture of the streets of Vienna.  The temperature was quite brisk, but not cold enough to create any problems, nor deter our enjoyment of this wonderful city!

The Opera, Hofburg Palace, the Lipizzaner stallions (who were in their stalls, on break at the time), St Stephan’s, and everything in between, seems we saw it ALL and in a very short time.  At the conclusion of the tour, we parted ways with our guide and made our way to the Christmas Market at Rathausplatz (which is City Hall).  Here we carefully went from stall to stall, careful to miss nothing.  Half way through our Market adventure, we stopped for lunch in the adjacent park.  The Markets usually have great selections of wonderful smelling treats (OK, maybe not too healthy, but delicious none the less!).  We shared a braut, some roasted sliced potatoes, a chocolate covered pretzel, and of course, some glühwein.  We had looked forward to the Christmas Markets on this trip for months and, I’d have to say, this one was excellent.  It was very well laid out, it was very clean and not cluttered, and was in a super setting with the historic hall as the backdrop.  Once we concluded our stay, we asked the information desk about the closest subway station, then we easily found it about a block away and made our way to the station.  Our routing required one change of trains, which we figured out and executed all on our own, arriving safely back at the ship before dinner.

Speaking of dinner, it was offered earlier on this day to accommodate those who had signed up for the evening Mozart & Strauss Concert, which included us.  After dinner, we boarded our motorcoach for about a 20 minute ride back through the streets of Vienna to the former Stock Exchange building.  Seems this building has great acoustics and it is used for concerts these days.  The performance was thoroughly enjoyable and the experience of a lifetime; I recommend it to anyone on a stop here.  Once it was over, we headed back to the ship in a very light rain and enjoyed the buildings lit up in their Christmas & holiday lights.  To summarize, I found Vienna to be a delight from beginning to end, from outside to inside, and all in between!


Vienna Opera House

The Vienna Opera House (note the ‘winterized’ fountain in the foreground)


Vienna Mozart statue

Mozart statue


Fall in Vienna – beautiful !!!

Vienna Lipizzaner stallions on break!

Lipizzaner stallions on break!

Vienna Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace


Vienna St. Stephan’s Cathedral

St. Stephan’s Cathedral


Vienna Christmas Market Rathausplatz

Christmas Market Rathausplatz (City Hall)

Vienna Christmas Market collage

Christmas Market close ups

Vienna Mozart and Strauss Concert

Us at the Mozart and Strauss Concert

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