Ultimate Europe Trip 2016 Day 13: Where in the World Are Joel & Jenn

We woke up this morning with more energy then I expected. We got ready and headed downstairs a little after 8AM to check out and grab our Uber to the train station. This time luckily the entire pick-up and drop off sequence went flawlessly with Uber and we arrived at the Prague Station twenty minutes before our 8:50AM departure.

Unlike the last two legs of our journey, we were on a much nicer train for our four hour trip to Vienna. On the last two trains we did the highest class you could do, which is first class. However those were considered "regional trains" and therefore aren't as nice as the high-speed rail we are taking today. Today though we upgraded our seats to the new highest level business class and boy was it nice. 

There were only maybe six or seven business class seats in the car and each had the ability to recline like a lounger. Jenn and i had loungers facing each other and enjoyed the beautiful journey to Vienna. I spent most of the ride reading my book while Jenn spent most of it listening to music. It was so relaxing that when I saw Wien (Vienna) on the LCD saying next stop I actually got a little sad. As we pulled into the Vienna train station we made a quick exit, jumped into a taxi and were off to our hotel. We got the nicest taxi driver we've had the entire trip who gave us a tour of the city as we drove.

We arrived at the Guesthouse Vienna a little after 1PM. The hotel is gorgeous, so far one of the nicest we've stayed on this trip. It's not overly opulent or large, but everywhere you turn there's a nice touch that they've done to make sure you have a nice stay. The hotel manager took us to our room and showed us the free mini bar and truffles left for us. They brought up our bags and we recorded a room tour. The weather was still a little drizzly from the same rain we had in Prague so we decided to try out the infamous restaurant at the hotel. 

It was such a great choice. We started off with Champagne which came with our room. It was a nice dry champagne and hit the spot after our four-hour journey. Jenn went the breakfast route for lunch and had eggs and bacon. I on the other hand went with the weiner schnitzel which is veal instead of pork and is a big dish in Austria. My schnitzel was the best we've had on the trip, great breading, and very good veal. Even the potato salad it came with was good. Jenn also loved her very simple scrambled eggs and bacon. 

After lunch the rain had cleared and we went out to explore the city of Vienna. We didn't get far. We walked past the giant opera house and over to MuseumQuartier Wien which is a giant area of museums. We took some pictures and ended up walking back towards our hotel when Jenn found an amazing art museum called Albertina. It's one of Vienna's many art museums but it houses paintings from the likes of Monet and Picasso so it brings in quite the crowd.

We've gone to a lot of museums in our travels but I'm not sure I've gone to a nicer and better laid out art museum. We started on the first floor of the Albertina which before it was an art gallery was a palace so they left a floor of the building as it was when it was in use. To say that the former palace was stunning was an understatement. We walked through each of the staterooms before going to the art gallery.

After the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam I wasn't really sure what to expect from another art gallery but I have to say I was incredibly impressed. I really had a great time at the gallery. That was dwarfed however by how enraptured Jenn was the entire experience, especially Monet. We spent more time looking at Monet paintings then any other. We spent the majority of our time in the museum on the floor with paintings. We did make our way to two other exhibits but neither had the same awe factor as the amazing paintings. 

We spent a little over an hour and a half at museum and had it not been for our evening plans we might have spent more. After departing the museum we made the quick walk back to our hotel and finalized our dinner plans. We found a small highly reviewed Pho restaurant only a ten minute walk from our hotel. On a cold rainy day there's very few things better in this world then Pho. We got two bowls of some of the best beef Pho either of us have had. The broth had great flavor but best of all the beef was really tender. Our meal lasted a little under forty five minutes and we were back to our hotel.

Why the rush? One of the first things we decided on after nailing down that we were going to Vienna was to see an opera. Outside of one try nearly six years ago in Barcelona, we're still for all intensive purposes opera virgins. After we both got dressed in the best clothes we packed we walked across the street to the gorgeous Vienna Opera House. It's truly one stunning building. We chose to see the opera Carmen which after researching after the show I came to find is one of the most popular operas around. We walked over to the opera and could not stop taking pictures both inside and outside of the venue. Similar to the National Theater in Prague this was yet another stunning venue, but on an even grander scale. 

Our seats were two floors up in a private box towards the right center of the theater. The entire experience made us feel like royalty. Once you get in your box you have a place to put your coats and belongings, then as you enter the box there are seven seats. The first row with three seats (Jenn and I had two of those), the second with two seats, and the third row with one seat. Each seat has a screen that will give you the translation of the opera. For our case Carmen was sung in French so we had it translated on a screen in front of us in English.

The opera was sold out there were literally people standing to watch the entire opera both at the back of the opera house as well as at the very highest levels. We sat with a women from Spain and a great older German couple from Berlin who absolutely love the opera. It was nice to hear about their love for the opera and in particular the woman's love for this opera. After the three and half hour experience I can say that Jenn and I are in love with the opera. I don't know if it's opera in general or just Carmen but we loved every second of it. 

When we saw our first opera in Barcelona we got the cheapest seats possible and didn't have a way of translating the words which in that case were in Spanish. Unfortunately, we didn't have any idea what was going on. This time we really felt like we got to appreciate the beauty of the singing and the story with a crowd that to was enjoying it. Each of the two intermissions Jenn and I would be so excited to talk to each other about what transpired and how transfixed we were by the singing. During the second intermission we even grabbed a glass of champagne and some macaroons to give us that last bit of energy for the third act. 

We left the opera a little after 10:30PM and after a short walk back to our hotel we were in bed watching some TV and falling asleep to get as much energy as we can to enjoy our first full day in Vienna tomorrow.