Sunday, September 5, 2010

Austerlitz and Vienna

Our last day was always going to be a busy one. The timetable included a visit to Spilberk Castle, drive back to Vienna and visit the military museum before catching our late afternoon flight back to London. It was not helped by the fact that we had a very late night visiting a local wine cellar.

Spilberk Castle has a long history as a castle, barracks and most of all a prison. The guided tour pays particular attention to the dank cells with their large assortment of tools of torture. Most of it was wasted in our group who were suffering from the after effects of too much food and much too much wine.

As it was a relatively clear and sunny day Alan Rooney offered us a quick visit to Zurlan Hill after the Castle and before the drive back to Vienna. We had seen little during our first visit in the heavy rain, so we were happy to exchange an hour in Vienna for a second visit to Zurlan.

The photographs which follow were all taken from the memorial on the Zuran Hill and show the battlefield looking from right to left.

Above is looking right from Zurlan. Puntowitz is on the right and Girzikowlitz on the left. The hill in the centre distance is the Pratzen. St Hilaire led the right hand column of the French attack on the Pratzen over this ground

Looking slightly left of the previous photo this shows Pratzen Heights on the right, with Girzikowitz in the centre and Vinobradi behind. Vandalle led the left hand column over this area.

Looking slightly left again we find Vinobradi (centre right) just behind the village of Girzikowitz. Further left in the distance is Blaziowitz. This was the area of the cavalry battle.

Looking left from Zuran we see The Santon (wooded hill just behind the motorway and Wimpy service station) and the mountains of Moravia behind. This was the area of the French reserves and the Imperial Guard. It was also the extreme left of the French battle line.

With our sore heads and upset tummy’s it was a long two hour drive to Vienna in the less than comfortable mini van. We had last visited the impressive military museum about ten years earlier, and it had not changed much since then. Still the huge saloons and wide staircases. The Napoleon section is well worth a visit, though it was starting to look a little old fashioned.

The flight to London was delayed by one hour and we were very pleased to reach Salisbury at the end of a very enjoyable, if tiring, long weekend. It is hard to believe that it is possible to fit so much into such a short time. We had to rush parts, but we had seen enough to convince us that we would return for a much longer visit.

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