Tales from the River – Vienna, Austria, Oct 11, 2011

Oh, my, Vienna!!! What a wonderful city!

We had a music lecture at 8:30 in the morning and an early tour to the National Library at 9. This was NOT your normal library! There are thousands of books but the part that we saw was more museum than library. Art, including paintings and statues, and history, including ancient drawings and maps, and old books were all part of the display. There was never a candle here so the windows were very important before electricity was installed. For many years, the library was only open during the daylight hours.

The library was only a small part of the imperial palace and we got to walk around the grounds. Part of the palace houses the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner horses but we didn’t get to see them. There was some special event being set up so we were limited in where we could go. I was so hoping we could walk by and see the horses hanging their heads out of their stalls but it was not to be on this trip. Next time!

Instead of coming back to the ship for lunch, we stayed in Vienna and wandered around. We walked from the imperial palace to St. Stephan’s Cathedral and back to catch the bus. It is a beautiful city and we thoroughly enjoyed having coffee at a few places and lunch by the cathedral. Ok, tuna fish sandwiches don’t sound too Austrian but it was either that or spaghetti at the local coffee house. I don’t eat spaghetti in public and we didn’t know what the other menu items were. No clue!

We rested a little bit and then for dinner, some of us were bussed to a Hieurigan (?) at a local vineyard. There were bread and spreads, pickled vegetables, soup, meat, cake and ice cream, and a sample of 4 different wines. Yes it was a feast, all to display their new wines for the season. There was also an accordion player and a singer to entertain us. They even got some of the passengers involved in their antics! No, not Ed and me! We watched and only got up once to do a line dance with everyone else. I like it when I don’t get picked on … I mean picked … for special attention!

I don’t think many of the other passengers drink much because, after 4 glasses of wine over 3 hours, all they did was sing on the bus back to the ship. How many times can you sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Roll Out The Barrels” on a 20 minute ride??? Once we got back to the ship, they continued in the bar. I had already set it up with our pianist Robbie to practice some of my songs at night so I got my CD before heading to the bar.

Robbie was kind enough to wait until most everyone had left before putting on my music. “Cry Me a River” was the first one and then Robbie asked me to sing another. “Birth of the Blues” was my final one but both of them made a big hit with the people remaining in the bar, especially Ed. He had been waiting the entire trip to hear me sing with a microphone again and he wasn’t disappointed.

This was a marvelous experience for me. I don’t think I’ll be singing on Broadway or Hollywood but, by gosh, I sang in Vienna on the Danube! And I received high ratings from both passengers and crew and that was great. What a wonderful way to end the first day in Vienna.

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