After much deliberation, I’ve settled on Vienna to be the companion city on the London trip. It has one of my favorite museums in the world, the Kunsthistoriche.
I adore the collection and the many velvet sofas, so welcoming for the weary traveler. The painting below (a sketch I did of a Rembrandt self-portrait, propped on a sofa alongside the grand staircase) came from my time there
Liechtenstein Garden Palace is another very happy memory, in particular, the library with its bronzes of Greek poets and philosophers, and the lavishly illustrated books, illuminated ledgers of the flora and fauna of the family estates.
The sole drawback to Vienna is my memory of the incessant smoke. It rained every day I was there, and every restaurant, cafe, and pastry shop had a thick, choking pall of smoke. I ate take-out food on the street, and breathed clean air in the museums and subway. I had begun diligently seeking out alternatives to holding my breath for two weeks but the universe had a better plan. The legislation to make public venues like restaurants and cafes smoke-free is back on track. Yay!
I’ve done a few days of preliminary research for my Theory of Everything document; listing the museums, churches, palaces, cafes, attractions, and pastry shops. Each venue is a line item with the name, address, days and hours open, ticket cost, and website URL. This is pure fun. While I’m on the websites I check the upcoming exhibitions since museums plan far in advance.
I’m researching two of my favorites activities from trips past – scooter tours and food tours. Got suggestions?
I’ve looked at dozens of places to stay and have it boiled down to six places for – three hotels, a B&B, and an apartment. Weighing space vs cost vs convenience. I’ve initiated the Vienna Google map; seeing where the lodgings are in relation to the venues I’m most interested in.
Round trip airfare from London runs $137-200, depending on time of day.
I’ll have my usual fun, making daily itineraries for rain or shine, and one with Robert in mind, in case he decides to join me. I live in hope. ;D
Research has changed. Fifteen years ago, I’d go the library and bookstore and check out multiple guide books. Ten years ago all the fresh information moved online. Five years ago I read blogs by individual travelers and expats, along with Rick Steves, Fodors, Eyewitness, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guide, and listened to podcasts. This time I’m finding the freshest boots-on-the-ground information on Youtube. Be aware while the quantity is enormous and the quality is erratic. I sift through dozens of them to find the gems.
It feels great to be in trip planning mode again.