With increasing sickness levels and the bleak rain/hail/snow conditions outside, it was a challenge to actually leave the hotel and explore Vienna...BUT we did it!
Our first venture across the river to the Old Town took us to the Hofburg and surrounding grand buildings and landscaped grounds. We weren't fully aware of its history, but luckily 'Sack's Guided Tours' was in operation! We then visited the Natural History Museum - and were possibly more awed by the building and its history than the exhibits...
Our second brave venture took us to Schönbrunn Palace (with every other tourist in Vienna) where we decided to do the tourist thing and take a guided tour of the palace apartments. While we wandered through the markets waiting for our tour to start, we were hit with a spontaneous snow storm - a recurring event that happened more than it was welcome during our stay! After a day of excessive walking and some average street vendor food, we were grateful for our hot chocolates laced with rum that constituted dinner.
The final outing took us back to the city centre in search of the famous 'Viennese coffee', elusive due to the unfamiliar naming conventions and abundance of varieties (some cafés had over 10 hot versions and 9 cold ones!). Eventually we settled on Café Central, possibly the grandest setting in which we have ever consumed a beverage. Settled in the palatial interior, where waiters wore waistcoats and a live pianist dulled the chatter on a grand piano, we sipped our coffee and ate the best apple strudel - all together an experience that surpassed our expectations (and the coffee itself!).