After arriving, we were in awe at the size of Schonnbrun. We started by taking a few pictures and then heading in for our guided walking tour with audio. The audio "phones" were pretty neat! You typed in the number and the information for each room plays over the phone. I was in total awe of the rooms we saw, the artwork, the history, etc. I could go on and on! After our hour walking tour, students were free to spend the rest of Sunday exploring the city, going to museums, etc. I wish I would've spent more time to walk about the outdoor gardens at Schonnbrun. If we have time tomorrow, I plan to go back and visit the gardens.
As we took another one of our group pictures at Schonnbrun Palace, an older couple walked by and said "Go Bearcats!". We talked to them for a bit and they were from Omaha. While talking we found out their great-granddaughter will be a freshman at Northwest in August. I plan to look up Chloe Staley (spelling?) and make sure to introduce myself to let her know we met her great-grandparents in Vienna! What can you say...BEARCATS ARE EVERYWHERE!
Out in the gardens of Schonnbrun is an entrance to the Vienna zoo. The zoo markets itself as the oldest zoo in the world. A group of 12 students wanted to go since the zoo has panda bears. Currently only 3 United States zoos have panda bears and none of the zoo's close to the Midwest have pandas. With the group rate for students, it cost only 7 euros per student to get into the zoo. Teri and I paid 14.5 euros but it was still a bit cheaper than the San Diego zoo where I last saw the pandas.
We walked around the zoo for a couple of hours and then headed out. Most of the students went back to rest before our dinner, but a few of us went to see the Danube in Vienna. It was very hot here today and putting our feet in the GREEN, not blue, Danube was fun. The water was very, very clear here in Vienna but much murkier in Budapest.
While talking with other students, some spent more time at Schonnbrun, a few walked to St. Stephen's Cathedral and walked the 365+ stairs to the top, and some just explored the city. During the evening down time before dinner, we even had a group work out by running through the city and finishing with sprints up the hills near our hotel.
We got back to the hotel around 6 and had just enough time to refresh quickly before heading to a group dinner that I set up for those interested. Our group all wanted to attend so we called it the EuroCat family dinner. The restaurant served Viennese dishes in addition to pizza's, sandwiches, etc. I think a good time was had by all!
After a weekend full of free time, we are headed to a local bank on Monday morning! Check in to read about our last night in Vienna on Monday! It's hard to believe the trip is half over!