Our first stop in Austria was in the capital of Vienna. Vienna is broken down into districts, much like Paris. The old town being in District 1, Innere Stadt, which was not where our boat was docked so we did have to bus in for our morning walking tour. As part of our tour we saw the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Roman Catholic churches like St. Stephen's Cathedral and Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church).
What we learned about Vienna is that they are passionate about their coffee. There are specialty coffee and pastry shops everywhere. When we were done with our walking tour we visited the coffee shop that our tour guide recommended, Aida. One thing we noticed in all shops in Europe is that they are in love with their heaters, as in they're not happy unless it's at least 80 degrees inside. Aida was no different. Even though it was only 55 degrees outside, it was like a sauna inside. As such I ordered my new favorite, Eiskaffee (iced coffee). Their iced coffee is not like ours, to them it means ice cream in black coffee topped with whipped cream. Ahhh-mazing.
After our walking tour we took the bus back to the ship, had lunch, and then decided to head back out on foot to explore. On our drive earlier we passed an amusement park that had the world's oldest, still operating, ferris wheel which, after walking a dozen blocks or so, we found.
The ferris wheel ride was about 15 minutes long during which we had some pretty amazing views of the city. They were enclosed wooden box cars with windows all around. We had a nice gentleman from somewhere else in Austria in the car with us who, like most Austrians, spoke perfect English.
So, impressions of Vienna - I thought it would be more historic and grandiose looking. But really, unless you were in the Innere Stadt, it just looked like you were in a big city and you wouldn't even necessarily know you were in Europe. Even the graffiti (chock-full of curse words) was in English! Yes, the old town was beautiful, but it wasn't my favorite stop of the trip....that wouldn't be until two days later.