Today was a very long and productive day. We left our hotel at around 9.30 after a good breakfast. We wanted to check out as many places of interest as possible as yesterday we did not manage to see anything and tomorrow we only have half a day to explore this city. Yesterday I took a small guide book which was free at the airport. On it, there was a map of a walking tour. You can join a tour with a guide for free or you can do it at your own pace. I decided to do it my way and so I took my mum to all the places it suggests. By the end of the tour you will have seen 31 places of interest in Vienna. Between the map on the book and some help from google maps, we managed to do all of it by 13.00.
We started off by visiting Stephansdom, the main cathedral here in Vienna. As entrance is free, we decided to go in and we were not disappointed. Next stop suggested on the tour is a street right next to the cathedral where one can shop and see the monument dedicated to those who were lost during the plague. The tour continues to two other smaller but still beautiful churches, Peterskirche and Maria am Gestade. Along the way, also listed is a unique clock, Ankeruhr, which is quite unusual. The hour is shown by a knight’s figure which moves to show the minute by an arrow. It took a moment to figure out how to read it but it is extraordinary when you think about it. Next on the list is Judenplatz, a square for remembrance of the Holocaust. The tour then takes you through a number of small squares, each with its own unique characteristics. The University of Vienna is next o the list. A remarkable building built in Italian Renaissance style. A few steps away, one finds the Ruthaus, the neogothic town hall. Today we got to see a circus in front of it but these change from time to time according to the book. Exactly on the opposite side of the road one finds the Burgtheater, not much to look at on the outside but I really wish I had the time to watch something in there (even though I am quite sure I would understand nothing). A few meters away from the theater is a peaceful garden called Volksgarten. On a nice day (which was not today) it would be paradise on Earth. I really suggest that one takes a few minutes to relax here until you move on to the next part of the tour.
Up next were Heldenplatz and the Hofburg. The beautiful palace surrounding the square make anyone jealous of the president who resides here now-a-days. Back in the times of the Habsburg dynasty, this was home to the emperor and his household. Connected to this palace are the Kaiserliche Schatzkammer, the Kaiserappartements and the Spanischen Hofreitschule. These are all situated in the same square. Next we saw Michaelerplatz, the Austrian National Library and the Augustinerkirche, all remarkable buildings to see. For those who love art, especially modern art, the next stop is for you. The Albertina is a museum with modern art pieces from Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh among others. My art knowledge is similar to that of a five year old therefore beautiful pieces such as those found in the Albertina would be wasted on me. As time is limited and I have no idea how to really appreciate art (I do appreciate their beauty and the amount of work one piece would take but that is the depth I know how to get into), we decided to skip visiting the museum. At this point in the tour we were hungry and tired so we decided to skip the last few stops suggested by the book (only 3 stops were left and two of them were also art museums).
Number 27 on the tour is Cafe Sacher, part of the Sacher hotel, which my father had already suggested. It suggest that one tries their famous original Sacher-torte, and boy does it taste good. We managed to get a table just before the rush-hour during lunch. The ambiance of the place is gorgeous and posh but it is relatively not that expensive (talk about finally getting that champagne with beer pockets). They have a set menu where you can take a hot non-alcoholic beverage (I opted for their signature tea blend), a slice of their Sacher-torte with whipped cream and a bottle of water for 16.50 euro. It was to die for and worth every cent. And if you love it that much, you can buy some to take with you home.
With our bellies full (kind of) we walked towards the Musik Varien, the music hall where the famous New Year’s Day concert is done. Next we visited the Malteserkirche, a small church dedicated to the Knight’s Order of Malta. We couldn’t help not visiting something dedicated to our little island. Tired but still wanting to explore the city we decided to go to Riesenrad, part of the city where you feel like you are at a theme park. There are rides for everyone and the atmosphere is light and kind of child-like. You only have to pay for the rides as going around is free.
We decided that it was time to go eat and we wanted to try something Austrian. We found a restaurant called Krah Krah, a locals’ favourite. My mother took …. And I chose a …. Schnitzel. After dinner we walked from the restaurant to Stephansplatz to catch the underground back to our hotel. The streets were busy with people enjoying their Saturday evening but we were too tired to join them.
It was a great day where I got to explore most of this city’s places of interest. Now I rest so that tomorrow I can visit the places I did not manage to see today.
Until next time, good night.