Ohhhhh Vienna

Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
Trip End Sep 16, 2011

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Where I stayed
Martin's Apartment

Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

After all the amazing and wonderful places we have seen, it comes as a little bit of a letdown that we are not taken with Vienna. We want to love it. The history and romance of the city encourage us with the belief that it will be endless dances along the Danube. And while all the beautiful and romantic buildings are there, they are so interspersed with modern creations that for us, they are a little lost. The other big shock was the discovery that Vienna is not set on the Danube, in fact the river runs along the outskirts of town and even the canal that runs through Vienna is not such much waltz's as woebegone. This is not to say we didn’t have a lovely time in the city, she just didn’t grab us like other cities we have been to.

We arrived early evening and after getting settled into our apartment, we take some dinner advice from our host Martin and head down to the Naschmarkt. A Viennese institution, the food markets by day turn into lively outdoor restaurants by night, with 3 or 4 blocks of seemingly endless choice. While we were tempted by the Malaysian we resisted thinking it would never be as good as home and went for traditional sausage dinner.

On our first full day we discover there is a summer outdoor film festival on and most of the parks and gardens have events. We find "Ray Charles Live at Montreal 1977" being played and head out into the sultry night to listen to one of the blues masters. Afterwards we, like everyone else, head into the nearby park for a late night snack and a drink at one of the park cafes. With hanging lights all over the park and Mozart playing through the trees, it was a beautiful night.

We also walk up to the Wiener Prater, one of the largest parks in the city to see the fair grounds, not to go on any rides, but to see the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel. The original Ferris wheel used in Orsen Wells film “The Third Man” still runs today and it looks as rickety now as it did in the 1949 classic – we decide to admire it from the ground!

We head to the highlight of any trip to Vienna and go to see the Schönbrunn Palace. This very impressive palace is said to be second in magnificence only to Versailles. We take a tour of the rooms and each one more lavish and rich than the one before. We were very impressed! Even more impressive were the palace gardens. Too big for us to go around after the Palace, we decide to come back the next day with a picnic to really explore them. We were glad we did and had a great time rambling through the parks and formal garden nooks.

Another 'must do’ in Vienna is to have Apple Strudel and a Viennese coffee. Our host Martin tells us about Café Sperl another Vienna stalwart, so after a long day of walking we reward ourselves with our entire daily calorie intake in one drink. Yummy but definitely a seldom treat.

Having ticked off Viennese coffee we felt we needed to have a Vienna schnitzel to fully round off our trip to Vienna, wanting to avoid the very expensive tourist venues Jim and I spent a pleasant afternoon wandering around the out of the way streets a few blocks from the main excitement. We hit gold and found the perfect local pub to come back to that night – only a block from our apartment. That night we walked into a scene from the OK Corral in which all the locals were silent and stared at us as we entered. Not sure if we were welcome we asked if they were still serving dinner. We were given two beers along with our menus – apparently this is what you will drink ! With the whole bar still watching us we raised our glasses to the crowd with a “Prost” This was obviously the right thing to do as the whole bar laughed and raised their glasses back at us. “Prost” everyone yelled to more laughter…phew. The rest of the night was very pleasant with two of the largest schnitzels we have ever seen – boy they were good too.

We did have a great time in Vienna and it seems a little churlish not to love it, but for us Vienna did not quite work her spell….perhaps next time!
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