posted on September 19, 2013 23:48
Eleven Rotarians ventured on the "European Away Weekend" to Vienna, the fourth such trip undertaken by club members.
The difficult part of the trip had to be confronted right at the beginning - a 4.15am start on the Saturday morning! As a result, the minibus trip to Birmingham Airport was a rather subdued affair and cold and dreary weather did not help.
After a beer "pick-me-up" at Frankfurt Airport our spirits were further lifted on arrival in Vienna where we were greeted by warm sunshine and a Mercedes executive minibus which took a myriad of back-doubles including what appeared to be a building site before dropping us off at Rainers Hotel which would be our "home" for the next three nights.
The weather was brilliant throughout the weekend making several outdoor beverage "pitstops", whether we were on a city bike tour or on foot, that much more pleasurable. Vienna is blessed with dozens of tourist attractions catering for all tastes so some hard choices had to be made. Perhaps reflecting the fact that we are no longer in our first flush of youth the various museums to be found in the city were popular choices: some enhanced their knowledge of military history, others technology whilst another went out on a limb visiting the Albertina Art Gallery where works by Klimt and Durer are on display. The Armoury and Musical Instrument Museum at the Hofburg Palace also proved popular.
We did not forget that one of the aims of such a trip is to get an insight into how Rotary works in another country and so a visit to the Rotary Club of Vienna Oper had been arranged. The club, which has about 75 members, meets in the upmarket Hotel Bristol which is directly opposite the Opera House a venue which could be considered the polar opposite of the more homely, Malvern Hills Hotel. Our President, David Watson, managed some words in more than passable German in his address which was appreciated by our hosts. Unfortunately the meeting itself, which took the form of a vocational talk by a prospective member was,not unsurprisingly, conducted entirely in German. Mercifully, it did not last too long. As we found on a previous trip to Berlin, inner city Rotary on the continent is an entirely different affair from our more homespun version.
A visit to the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace was arranged for the last day of our trip and we were surprised to learn that, despite it's opulence and size, it merely served as the summer residence of the Habsburg family. After a guided tour of the principle rooms we rounded things off with an excellent al fresco lunch in warm sunshine enjoying excellent cuisine and unfamiliar Austrian wine which quickly won our approval.
We arrived back in Malvern in the early evening reflecting on a great trip, brilliantly organised once again by Simon T, most of us no doubt thinking "roll on Krakow 2015".