The last thing you want to do on a cold, windy day in VIenna is haul your heavy luggage half a mile to your ship. However, logistically, that is exactly how our morning began.
We were actually able to locate where Tauck Savor was docked using a Marine Finder app that shows the real-time location of every ship in the world. Sure enough, as we walked down the pier, Savor soon came into view and, as we dropped our luggage at the bottom of the gangway, we were greeted by a familiar face. Steve Marchant walked down the stairs to welcome us and we instantly recognized him as having been the Cruise Director on our April 2014 sailing on Tauck Inspire. We were one of the first to arrive this morning, as it is only a little after 10am, and embarkation does not officially begin until 4pm.
After we exchanged pleasantries, Steve said we were free to hang out in the lounge, or go into town to explore. He even arranged for a taxi to take us and another early-arriving couple into Vienna city center. We decided to take Steve up on his generous offer and join the other couple for the 15-minute taxi ride into town. We were dropped off in front of Mozart Cafe, near the famed Opera House.
With nothing more to guide us than a map of the city provided by Steve, we started walking towards the main pedestrian street in Vienna. Soon, we were in a sea of tourists and locals walking down Kaerntnerstrasse, toward St. Stephen's. The street is lined with shops and cafes, most of which are closed. We are on the hunt for a pharmacy, or Apotheke. I have acquired a bit of a head cold and am in need of some cold medication. Unfortunately, as it is Sunday, nearly everything is closed.
The Christmas decorations are everywhere you look. Vienna is perhaps the most decorated city in Europe at Christmas. Eventually, we make our way to the Rauthaus Christmas Market, the largest in the city.
We walked around the Christmas Market for the better part of an hour. Rickee found her souvenir Gühlwein mug, shaped like Santa's boot, that she had been wanting. The market is crowded, but we have seen it even more crowded on previous visits.
It felt as though in a little more than two hours we had walked all over Vienna. The architecture here is amazing. If it were not so cold, we would have spent the entire day just trying to get lost. We somehow stumbled back onto the Kaerntnerstrasse and managed to find our way back to Mozart Cafe. We decided Mozart Cafe was a good landmark from which to call an Uber. In about three minutes, our Uber driver showed up in a brand new Hyundai and we were on our way back to Tauck Savor. The Uber ride was about 8.65€ (about $10 US). When we get back on board Savor, they were still serving a light lunch in the lounge.
We are able to go to our stateroom and unpack before meeting the rest of the guests in the lounge for an early Happy Hour. Waiters/esses circulate with delicious hors d' oeuvres as we enjoy our favorite cocktail, which is complimentary on a Tauck river cruise. Soon, we were all welcomed by our Cruise Director, Steve, and introduced to the Captain and senior staff.
Tomorrow, Savor will still be docked in Vienna where guests will be treated to a visit of Schönbrunn Palace. It is good to be back on Tauck!