Munching about Vienna

A trip to Vienna wouldn't be quite right without trying some of its cuisine....

No better way to spend some time wandering around Michaelerplatz, then to have a fresh pretzel in your hand...
Next stop is Cafe Central.  While described as a "tourist trap" in all the guidebooks, I was expecting a cheesy cafe with nonsensical decorations but instead I entered an immaculate coffeehouse.

Now comes the tough part, which cake do I wish to try...

After a delightful sugar-laden piece of cake and hot cocoa, it was off to the Schatzkammer (Treasury) to check out Austria's collection of medieval royal objects. The entrance of the museum are replica vault doors, an obvious yet fitting way to greet visitors.
Besides the crown displayed in all the brochures, there were several other interesting artifacts like the royal crib, but in all honesty, I was a bit disappointed in the exhibits, as I went around each corner expecting to finally hit the "Wow" collection but that never happened.

So while it was an interesting sight, I would recommend skipping over the Treasury if you are rushing through Vienna as there are more worthwhile things to see in town.  That being said, if you have the time and have a museum pass that includes admission to the Schatzkammer, by all means take a few minutes to walk through the small museum and check it out for yourself.  Perhaps, you'll find it more interesting than I did.

In addition to the Treasury, the Hofburg Imperial Palace houses a number of attractions, including the Prunksaal that houses the Austrian National Library.  Typically, a national library wouldn't be interesting, but the Austrians, well to put it lightly, do things with class, and this library is no exception.

Interestingly enough, I was allowed to take as many photos as I wanted as long as I didn't photograph the display cases.  I mention this because the displays were exhibiting some boring historical literature that in my opinion wasn't even worth photographing, so there I was taking full advantage of the non-hectic surroundings to lie on the ground, and play around with Joby and my camera to take almost floor-level photos of the spectacular art work found throughout the building.
Joby had already received curious looks throughout the streets of Vienna, and the Library's security guards were definitely keeping a close eye on me so it was no surprise that they were eager to inform me that the library was closing for the evening so I obliged and left the Library.  Once you leave the Library, there's a bit of walk to actually exit the Palace and one would expect that you could take your time to hang out in the lobby but no such luck.  In Vienna, when Security says they close at 6, they mean they close the last door at 6 o'clock sharp!

After being escorted out of the Palace, it was off to the Vienna Opera House to get a standing room ticket.  Tickets for standing room are available only from the evening box office that opens 80 minutes before the performance starts.  Now you're probably wondering, why would Mike ever want to go see the Opera, let alone one in German.  But when you consider Opera tours are more expensive than a standing room ticket, you see my rational behind my curiosity at attending the Mayerling Ballet instead of just going on a lame guided tour.  Now, one would expect cheap standing room to be in the nosebleeds but to my surprise, the standing room was dead center at the back of the lower level.
So I arrived at the standing room area, and thought I had a wide selection of spots to choose from but I was quickly informed that most of the spots were already taken.  Apparently, if you come early, you can simply tie a handkerchief or some other sort of placeholder to mark your spot, and then proceed to linger in the lobby.  Nevertheless, I found a free spot and soon enough, the ballet started.  Evidently, ballet and Mike don't mix as I was bored out of my mind and I eventually could not stand watching it any more so after 15 minutes, I slipped outside and took in the Viennese night sky.

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