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November 3, 2005 — Vienna

Enjoyed a full day in the captivating Baroque elegance of the romantic City of Waltzes.

We started off touring by bus then had a walking tour while we waited to view the famous Lipizzan horses on their way to being exercised. When many of the group went their separate ways we followed the guide to look at the protected inner courtyard homes that had developed over the years for added protection., Then it ws off for a quick tour of St. Stephen's Cathedral. and further exploration on our own before returning by bus to the ship.

It is hard to believe that in 1945 the situation of the city was far from encouraging. More than 20 percent of the housing stock was partly or completely destroyed, almost 87,000 flats had become uninhabitable. In the urban area, more than 3,000 bomb craters were counted, many bridges were in shambles, sewers, gas and water pipes had suffered severe damage.

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In the afternoon we visited Schonbrunn. It was supposed to have been the Versailles of the Austrian Empire; but the Hapsburgs were very different from the Kings of France and never wanted to present themselves to their subjects as gods.  Therefore Schronbrunnn was built as both a palace and a summer residence for the numerous families of the rulers.  The golden age of Schonbrunn began with Maria Teresa of Austria ( 1717-1780) and was only to end with the decline of the Hapsburg empire. Do come back but for more information check out the Hapsburg timeline.

It was getting dark when we returned to the ship to get ready for the Captain's farewell dinner as some of our fellow travellers would be leaving us the next day,

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