Underwater Lakes + Door Decor // Day 13

I'm almost always most content and happy when I'm in nature. Clearly I've become invested in Vienna's city doors and architecture... but I was ready for a slight change of scene. My original plan was actually to visit Budapest - but our hotel concierge very quickly put a stop to that. Just because you can buy a ticket somewhere doesn't mean you should visit. Another hiccup due to the refugee crisis in Europe.

Morning Time
While I love Vienna in principle, I am not quite sure why the city is so seriously sleepy until after 8 am ... and maybe ever later than that. The market doesn't open until 8 am. Newspapers don't arrive until 9 am. There is nothing that makes you look like an American more than a Patagonia fleece, than wearing it while walking with a to-go cup of coffee. Don't care.

Vienna Woods
So the Vienna Woods is actually a really large place. Kind of akin to the Berkshires, the Adirondacks, or maybe the Poconos. While this was one of the only tourist trips available, I was looking forward to getting out of the city a bit and seeing some trees. Within just twenty minutes, you can leave the Museum district to the big hills outside the city. I feel like there is both a lot - and not a lot - more to see here. A lot being that it's huge. Not a lot being that ... there are only so many abbeys and tortured historical sites.

Mayerling - The history behind Mayerling is pretty tortured and gray. It was originally a hunting lodge for one of the royal families, then there was a tragic "incident" that resulted in the death of the only heir to the throne and his mistress. So his father immediately turned the accident scene from a bedroom / hunting lodge to a chapel / convent.

It bothered me that nobody was willing to speculate on what actually happened according to the tour guide. Turns out, he's just being polite and respectful of Austrian history. It can be relatively confirmed in letters from the mistress that they had a Romeo/Juliet pact. Thanks Internet.

Cistercian Abbey - Fun facts about this place? It was built in 1133 and is the oldest (continuously) active monastery in the world. Like many of the similar sites I've visited, they use part of the grounds as a school which really livens up the place. Now the monks are just responsible for teaching, but in the past they did ALL the construction, masonry, and painting onsite... which honestly just makes it more impressing. I mean the wood inlays and stained glass alone kills me. The black and white window is original and goes back to the early 1200s. Never mind the mossy covered fountain inside a colorful stained glass cupola... it's like a Disney princess movie.

Seegrotte - I can be relatively adventurous but tunnels, caves, and ... underground lakes kind of get to me. The history behind the mines / lake is far more interesting than our guide let on. He was super captivated by the fact Disney filmed parts of the Three Musketeers here. During WWII, the mines were used for making Nazi fighter jets 60 meters underground. The water level is pumped out daily to help keep it at a stable level for tourism (safe but kind of a bummer) which was also how they created enough space to make fighter jets.

Cafe Central Afternoon
The upside of the tour was that it was only a half day so I was back in time to enjoy the afternoon... and get lunch. After giving up on the line at Cafe Central the day before, I stuck it out this time in part because I had seen some amazing pictures of the ceiling. Despite the kind of warm day, I opted for the potato mushroom soup (with bacon) and it was slurp it up delicious. Not pretty, but delicious.
Vienna is a beautiful city at pretty much every time of day. I can't resist taking pictures of all the different door details - clearly. Having been in a few cities now, Vienna takes this stuff as seriously as my favorite Italian sites. Absolutely in love with them. After walking my mom to her classical music event, I enjoyed a leisurely walk back. Live classical music in the streets, lights on fountains? Perfect. 
Tomorrow? Flying back to Munich for one final day. I don't have much on my list so I spent the night completely relaxing. I picked up some champagne, a white chocolate snack, and watched Friends in the bathtub. I already regret not buying more of these Mikado snacks.

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