On the first day in Vienna, we found a crowded coffee shop for breakfast. While we were sipping on our cappuccinos, the shop’s retractable awnings slid out with the threat of rain. At one point, I mentioned that it had gotten cold, and within a minute, the electric heaters came on and set us back at a comfortable temperature.
We decided to tour the Belvedere first as it was in the same district as our AirBnB flat. We walked through the grounds and then toured the Upper Belvedere, which included the well-done Klimt exhibit (includes The Kiss). Even though it was raining, we took the tram to Inner Ring of Vienna for lunch at Hollman Salon, similar to a gastro pub in the States. From there, we walked around the Hopsburg and saw that they were setting up for a sports event. Unfortunately, it didn’t include a run, so we moved on. After a coffee stop to warm and fuel up, we did a walking tour around the area. In the middle of the walk, I noticed a bakery smell in a courtyard. When we turned the corner, there was a line for the bakery. We walked on, but the smell followed us. Of course, we turned around and had an amazingly fluffy and flaky chocolate croissant.
We returned in the evening to tour the Lower Belvedere. My legs were aching from all the walking and my feet were unhappy with my choice of shoes (Chuck Taylor's) for the day.
|Gardens at the Belvedere|
On the second day, we took an early Ubanh (subway) to Schloß Schonbrunn, the summer palace of the House of Hapsburg. Good thing we went early – it got more crowded as the day went on. I guess most folks don’t wake up early on vacation.
We spent about 6 hours touring the grounds and imperial rooms of Schloß Schonbrunn. The rooms were well done, and we learned quite a bit about the House of Hapsburg. While walking through the gardens, we saw how they trimmed the hedges (something we wondered about even at the Belvedere). We completed the maze (more difficult than it looks) and went through the labyrinth. While we didn’t find Minotaur, we did find a climbing pole. When we arrived, we saw two guys. One had already made it to the top of the pole, and the other was taking his picture. The picture taking one seemed to waffle on whether or not he wanted to climb the pole, so I went ahead and climbed it. After I rung the bell at the top, I think I heard something akin to: “Now you have to do it.” So, of course, the picture taking friend also climbed the pole.
After the labyrinth, we made our way to an apple strudel demo and had a nice lunch at the café. I’ve noticed that museum/attraction cafés in Vienna are quite good in terms of food quality and presentation. We ended the day at Schloß Schonbrunn with a tour of the carriage museum which had an impressive collection of daily, sport, coronation and mourning carriages.
|Windy & cold day at Schloß Schonbrunn|
|What it takes to trim the hedges|
|Apple strudel demo|
|Goat cheese salad with pumpkin chutney at Schloß Schonbrunn|
Before the trip, we decided to go hear a symphony while in Vienna. The town seems obsessed with Mozart, but I prefer Beethoven. Our choices were easily narrowed down to a Beethoven (and Mozart) Symphony at Karlskirche (St. Charles' Church). We took the tram to a quick Greek dinner and then another to the church. The walk there gave us a good view of the dramatically lit church in the evening. While the acoustics could have been better, I still enjoyed the symphony and the surroundings. The first chair was quite animated the whole evening. I haven’t attended many symphonies, so I’m not sure if this is common. I also liked her short sleeve dress accessorized by long gloves with the fingers cut out.
On the third day, we started off at the Wien (Vienna) Museum, which is a hoarder’s dream. I saw lot of cool armor, sandstones and door signs. Until recent history, most people were illiterate, so the door signs had to be distinct: the locksmith needed a key on his sign or a tavern needed its symbol (I saw an example for the green lizard tavern).
The eclectic mix of items there came from a pattern of donation throughout the years. There was a 16th century item donated to the museum in 1899. Many statues on churches and public buildings were damaged by industrialization and weather. During their restoration, the originals were donated, and the copies are displayed outside in the elements.
|Stained glass windows from Stephansdom|
For lunch, we headed over to Naschmarkt. It had endless stalls of restaurants and stands for vegetables & fruit (I evens saw jackfruit and dragon fruit), spices, dried fruit, sweets, meats, seafood, olives, cheeses and charcuterie. There were even a few stalls for wine. We stopped at the crowded Naschmarkt Deli, and I loved my chicken corn-flake covered schnitzel.
We capped off the sight-seeing with modern art at Belvedere 21. Personally, I don’t like very modern art. The pieces that lack craftsmanship/skill simply don’t interest me.