Visiting Vienna

Last week I shared some details on our trip to Budapest. Well, we also visited Vienna, Austria! Here are some tidbits from that portion of the trip.

Karlsplatz Station -- Art Decor Exterior

Why Austria and Hungary?
People keep asking us why we chose to visit Vienna and Budapest. The honest answer is just that I saw awesome photos of Vienna and was completely drawn in. We love to travel and have a long list of future destinations, but I guess beautiful pictures clinch the deal. Since we were already going to be in Europe for Austria, we added on an extra stop of Budapest. Why not?

So many museums
If you like visiting museums, Vienna is the place for you. You could spend weeks going to see art, natural history, Austrian history, Jewish culture, military history, and so much more.

Lower Belvedere

Lower Belvedere

My favorite museum was the Albertina, which is right downtown, since they had an awesome exhibition of Modernism, with a lot of Impressionist works (my favorite!). This particular exhibit, “Monet to Picasso,” features hundreds of pieces recently donated to the museum by one particular family.

Failed trip to the Opera
One of things I really wanted to do during this trip was visit the Opera for a performance. Both Vienna and Budapest have amazingly gorgeous Opera houses, so I wasn’t picky. After looking at the schedules, it wasn’t as easy to accomplish as I thought. Either there weren’t shows on the particular dates, or the tickets were well picked over, with remaining seats costing over 100 Euro!

Vienna Opera House

I found a daytime performance at the Vienna Opera for Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t find any information about it, but it was extremely inexpensive, so I went for it. We showed up and took our seats, except it turns out that this wasn’t a performance at all! It was a talkback with the director and performers from a current Opera. The big problem was that the entire interview was in German, and I do not speak German at all. The audience laughed at key times, and I just sat there getting warm, sweaty, and super nervous. I whispered to George, asking what we should do, but he didn’t want to get up in the middle of the interview. Eventually there was a key break in the event and we snuck out. I joke that it was cheaper to get into the Opera with these tickets than it would be for a tour, so it wasn’t all bad, but it was nerve wracking at the time!

Café Culture
So I’m not 100% sure if this is just a tourist thing, or an actual Viennese thing, but coffee and desserts were huge in Austria. Almost every day we spent an hour or two in the afternoon with a fancy coffee, and multiple shared desserts. Of course we tried Apple Strudel, but I preferred some hazelnut concoctions and a crunchy shell stuffed with frosting that I don’t remember the name of. My favorite spot was Demel. Event though it’s super famous, I thought the pasties and cakes were the best of the trip.

Treats and sweets from Cafe Central in Vienna

Since they don’t really do drip coffee in this part of the world, we also were surprised with a couple of our coffee drinks. If you order an iced coffee, you get espresso poured over ice cream with whipped cream! Yum!

Talking a Polaroid picture on the PolaWalk in Vienna

Polaroid Walking Tour
One of my favorite activities of the trip was a Polaroid walking/photo tour, called PolaWalk. We had an awesome guide who took us all around downtown Vienna, pointed out landmarks, and helped us set up awesome photos. It’s crazy how different you feel about taking pictures when you only have 8 exposures.

Polaroids from the Vienna PolaWalk

It was a great way to slow down, orient ourselves in the city, and really appreciate all of the architecture, design, and beauty all around Vienna.

Here are a few more photos from the trip:

On the Schonbrunn Palace Grounds

At the Gloriette at Schonbrunn Palace

At the Gloriette at Schonbrunn Palace

Vienna Street: Wolfrum Sign

Information phone in Vienna

Karlskirche Church

Karlskirche Church

Walking around Vienna, Austria

George on a bench in Vienna

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