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Day 3 — April 28, 2009

It was a new morning — what was the third day but for us it was like the first day.   Having missed Budapest we missed a day and a half on our itinerary.   Awake and peering out the window of our cabin the morning bought these simple sights.   But looking at these first scenes of the Danube, yes it is indeed a "Blue Danube".   Have no ideas about these little huts unless they are fishing huts.

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We were not the most well rested and ready to start out in the early morning for tours of Vienna.   The couple of days we spent in getting there with the worries that nothing was going to turn out right did not make for relaxed feelings.   Mieko and I stayed on-board for a short time before going out on our own to explore.   These first two snapshots are from the boat looking up the Danube and of modern Vienna.

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Very close to our boat was a large church, the Mexico Church.   It was a fairly easy walk and we found a side door open.   Nothing as magnificent as what we would see in the days ahead but it is a beautiful church both inside and outside.   We were the only ones there and it was nice to walk around looking at everything that was there.

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This church was located in the "Mexico Plaza", an area of leisure in front of the church and further out, small shops for shopping by the locals.   Nearby was a small park with a nice display of trees and flowers.   Our boat was just a short distance beyond the bridge.

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The afternoon was spent on a tour of the Maria Theresa's Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   The Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence in Vienna, Austria.   One of the most important cultural monuments in the country.   The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.   Maria Theresa was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg.   It was not known to me that Austria was once a huge empire.   The Habsburg dominions included Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, among others.

After departing the cool bus, we were stopped at the gate.   Our visit was being preempted by the President of Italy's visit.   What's up with that?!?   After standing around for what seemed like a long time, our guide suggested that we walk around the compound to enter at the rear of the Palace.   Okay, we started out walking along the length of what you can see in the second photograph below.   In the fourth photograph, we are approaching the rear of the Palace, it has been a long walk.

A top the hill and off in the distance, one could see the Gloriette.   There is sculpted garden between the palace and the Neptune Well is called the Great Parterre or “Great Ground Floor”.   The French garden, a big part of the area was created in 1695.   It contains, among others, a maze.   The garden axis points towards a 60 meters higher hill, which since 1775 is crowned as the Gloriette structure.   Maria Theresa decided Gloriette to be designed to glorify Habsburg's power and the Just War [a war that would be carried out of 'necessity' and lead to peace], and thereby ordered to recycle "otherwise useless stone" which was left from the almost-demolition of Schloss Neugebäude. Same material was also to be used for the Roman ruin.

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The sad part of the tour was that NO Photographing was allowed inside the Palace.   There were some very nice rooms that would have made splendid photographs.

For our evening of entertainment we went to a concert featuring compositions by Mozart and Strauss.   This performance was by a small but enthusiastic Viennese orchestra and singers and dancers performing in a professional manner.   It was long enough to have an intermission and there was a courtesy wine for all.

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Back at our boat, there was plenty of time to take some night photographs of that around us.   It was midnight before we left for an overnight trip to Melk.

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Later tonight we would sail to Melk.

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