On Monday, my last day in Vienna, I had some morning conference sessions, and then I had the rest of the day to spend as I pleased. I met up with a colleague at Schmetterling Haus, the Imperial Butterfly House, which is part of Hoffburg Palace. I must say, when you walk through a door and are instantly greeted by numerous butterflies dancing in the air around you, it’s hard not to smile. In fact, my colleague and I both cried out in delight as we entered. Not surprisingly, it was hot and humid inside the butterfly house, so my camera kept fogging up until I had been in there a while. I eventually managed to get some nice pictures, though.
Once I finished ooohing, aaahing, and snapping pictures (and, frankly, needed to cool off), I walked around Burggarten for a while and enjoyed some of the few bits of sunshine I saw on the trip.
From there, I hopped on a train and headed out to Schönbrunn Palace. All around me on the grounds, staff were in the midst of preparations for spring. I imagine the garden are spectacular when everything is in bloom. Alas, there was not much growing in early March, but it was still well worth my time. Some day, perhaps I’ll go back and see the garden maze when it’s open and green.
I climbed the big hill on the palace grounds (earning the beer and cake I would later consume), up to the Gloriette. What a beautiful view of the city from the hilltop!
On my way back to the palace, I stopped by Stephansplatz again and finally got a picture of St. Stephen’s in the sun before it (the sun, that is, not the cathedral) ducked behind some clouds again.
On several occasions while I had been in Vienna, I had passed an adorable ceramics shop, but each time, the store was closed. At long last, I went to the shop when it was open. As most people who have been to my house will tell you, buying ceramics should not be high on my list of things to do, since I take ceramics classes and have most of the horizontal space in my house taken up by my creations. I told myself I was visiting the shop merely for ideas. Of course, I couldn’t manage to leave without a couple small, easily packable trinkets, but mainly I got some ideas for and pictures of stuff I will probably never be able to recreate with the same skill. Ah, but a girl can dream, right?
For our final dinner together in Vienna, my colleagues and I went to Salm Bräu, the grounds of which have a long and storied history, having once been the site of a vineyard/wine cellar of the mayor of Vienna and a stable for the Empress’s coach horses. Plus, there was good food, friendly service, and great beer.
My flight the next morning left ridiculously early, meaning that I had to get up before I even went to bed (okay, not really, but I did get up at 3:30), only to find that the cold I had been fighting off all week had hit me with it’s full force. The state of my sinuses made flight rather unpleasant, but on the upside, I got to once again say hello to the moose at the Stockholm airport (no illicit photography this time). When I finally arrived home, I discovered that my checked bag apparently had such fun that it decided to stay in Europe a bit longer. Ah well, at least it happened on the way back instead of on the way there.
All in all, it was a good trip, but as they say, there’s no place like home.