We arrived in Vienna on November 22, 2015 at 2:05pm.
From the airport, we took a train to the city center. The printed ticket for the train system was high tech, using technology typically only seen on currency. During our train ride, I saw walls of tasteful graffiti and actual stand alone homes (unlike my previous travels in Europe).
Next we took a taxi to our hotel, City Pension. Our room was small, but comfortable enough for our short stay. Tired from our travel, we decided to take our first day in Vienna slow. We hung around in our room, got cleaned up, watched the news, and cracked open a bottle of wine.
As the sun was beginning to set, we figured it was time to head out. Right next to our hotel was St. Stephen Cathedral. I remember looking up at it and feeling a rush of awe at the size and grandeur of it. This was the first church that I really took a liking to. Gothic is the way to go!
The tall arches inside, and stained glass windows were a sight to see. So much that I had to come back again to see it in the day time.
For dinner, we strolled down through some alley ways and found ourselves at Rib of Vienna. The restaurant is housed in a basement vault built in 1591. It may not be the best dinner spot if you’re claustrophobic, but if you’re not, it’s a great experience. Eating there makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Plus, the food is pretty good. Their most popular dish is the 1 meter of spareribs (bottom image), but I got the beefsteak served on a hot lava stone (top image).
After having been thoroughly stuffed, we went for an evening walk around the area. Vienna was the coldest city we had to visit on our itinerary. As far as cold goes for Californians, we weren’t prepared enough and it was a constant struggle for us to be outside. Having that said, I’m embarrassed to even mention the temperature since it could have been worse!
Everywhere we turned and went was so gorgeous in Vienna. Little pockets of holiday festivities, wonderful architecture, and so much history.
I couldn’t help but constantly feeling like I was on the set of a movie or in another time period. Vienna has that magic where it can really make you forget what year you’re living in.
The pedestrian walk light caught my eye as we crossed the street. What a cute light! But I must admit, I can’t help but wonder how it’s possible to make this not gender specific… I guess that’s the kind of thinking that you develop after living in the bay area — I mean common, we have gender-neutral bathrooms!
The rest of the night, we let our hearts wander to wherever they wanted to go. Eating churros in one place, drinking eggnog in the next, and smoking hookah at a lounge.
After our fair share of exploration into the night, we decided it was time to head back for bed.
The next morning we started off breakfast at Trzesniewski. It’s basically a spot where you can grab numerous toppings (all with egg) on top of toast.
We asked the woman serving, which ones she recommended.
One of the options she pointed at was, “Ei Mit Ei.”
We asked, “What’s that?”
And she replied, “Egg with egg,” and there was a pause, then we all laughed.
This ended up becoming our inside running joke in Vienna. But hey, now you’re part of it too.
After breakfast, we hopped onto the Wiener Linien, Austria’s public transit system. It wasn’t until I tried navigating their transit system that I realized how remarkably well designed it was. Each line had it’s own unique color that was so well coordinated throughout the station that it’s almost impossible to get lost. Because of this, we got to our destination in no time.
First on the list was Schonbrunn Palace. This 17th century picturesque palace was surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, and a labyrinth made of hedges (unfortunately closed during our visit).
But no worries, we enjoyed the rest of our visit walking towards the far end of the palace, past the fountain, and up top a hill for a grand citywide view.
There was something nice about sitting up top that hill. Not sure if it was the soothing water, bird watching, or just the feeling of calmness, but all signs pointed to the start of a good day.
By the time we walked back down towards the front of the palace, we noticed that the holiday festival booths had been set up. Of course, we couldn’t resist not getting anything. We landed on a loaded baked potato and some alcoholic punch.
We passed by some buildings that I really liked. So this is purely just architecture porn now, since I don’t know what these places are.
All white buildings are firreeee.
Our next stop was Naschmarkt, a local flea market. One end of the market consisted mostly of restaurants, while the other end sold fresh meats, dairy, and other prepared foods. I thought it was interesting, all of the outdoor seating for restaurants provided blankets on each chair so that you could stay warm if you decided to sit outside. But of course, we would never sit outside in that cold, lol!
For lunch we decided on Gasthaus, which apparently is the oldest restaurant at the flea market.
This was probably my favorite meal that we had while in Vienna. And no, it wasn’t because we had beer.
The soup was simple enough, but really hit the spot since it was so cold outside. The tender chunks of beef were to die for. As for the salad, I’ve never had salad with potatoes in it! Brilliant!
For entrees, I got the goulash and Erick got the schnitzel. Yum!
Finishing up lunch, we decided to do some shopping for warmer clothes. We found a Zara and each got some winter gear to help make our stay a little warmer.
On the way back to our hotel to drop off our shopping bags, we spent some time exploring the Omega Museum.
After resting a bit at our hotel and changing into warmer clothes for the rest of our day, we head back out to see the Austrian National Library. This library could easily be featured in any of the Harry Potter movies.
Not sure what this place is below, but we thought it was funny to have Erick pose on the right, similar to the statue on the left. He didn’t really get the pose right, but I guess that’s why he isn’t a model.
Ahead on our walk, we saw a ton of lights, and decided to follow.
This lead us to Rathaus, which apparently had it’s own winter festival going on. Inside the church, there were lots of activities for kids to participate, as well as candies the be tried and bought.
Outside was huge. There were so many booths that we could hardly find enough room to eat everything.
We noticed a lot of people eating these elephant ears, so decided to go with the flow and get one of our own. Not bad, not bad.
After we had our full share of food, we headed over to take a tram. Little did we know that we hopped onto a tram going in the wrong direction, but no matter. We ended up at Hundertwasser Haus, a uniquely designed apartment complex created by a painter.
It’s always nice when you get lost and accidentally stumble upon something you otherwise wouldn’t have planned to see.
For the last portion of the night, we wanted to check out Prater, a large public theme park.
There were all sorts of different rides that we could have gone on, but for some reason we decided to go on this scary one. What a horrible idea, as I realized I don’t like going into dark spaces to get scared.
We pretty much exhausted ourselves on our second trip out in one day, that we just wanted to sit down somewhere to eat. I looked up a place and we traveled over to it only to find out that it was closed down. Luckily we stumbled upon Natsu Sushi.
To top off the night, we did some window shopping in the luxury store section of the city. Who would have thought, we had fun.
Our last day of in Vienna, we had pretty much hit up everything we wanted to see. Everything that was left was local to our hotel.
For breakfast, we had some cheese sausage from a stand. Then we passed by the Opera House and over to the world famous Sacher Cafe.
Of course we got their Sacher Torte and some coffee to go along with it. If I’m ever back in Vienna, I would go back for sure.
Next we wandered over to Mozarts Home. To me, its quite fascinating to think about how so many of the world renown artists have lived in Vienna. There really must be something special and fascinating about the city that inspires all of them, besides any other obvious reason.
Near his home, we made our way back over to my favorite church, St. Stephens Cathedral. I told you I’d be back! This time we went up to the top of the church. The view from above was just marvelous, and being able to see the detailing of the church was outstanding.
As the rest of our day winded down before we had to set out on our next flight, we strolled around and visited Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts. Because I was so inspired by all of the music around Vienna, I wanted to go to the home of all the new talent (also because I watched the Japanese Drama, “Nodame Cantabile”). We wandered around through the buildings and followed our ears to rooms where music was coming out. Also, did some student watching.
Our trip in Vienna ended at 1516 Brewing Company. Erick just got a burger, while I got the bangers. You can’t go wrong with sausages in any German speaking country. A few beers in, we were ready to say good bye to Vienna and hello to our next destination, London!
Overall our trip in Vienna was pleasant and relaxing. I wouldn’t say it’s somewhere that you’d want to go if you’re “looking for something to do” or if you want to experience night life. At first glance, there really isn’t that much to do in Vienna. But if you open your eyes, and experience it from a local’s point of view. Vienna is full of hidden gems. It’s less about the sights, and more about the experience of being in such a historical place that continues to inspire generations of artists.
Anyways, thanks for reading if you made it this far. It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog now, and this trip is so old that now it feels like history to even myself. Stay tuned as I am planning on finishing up my posts from my EuroTrip. Take care!