Oh, Vienna

This is the fifth in a series on a Europe trip that myself and my husband Nick took in April–May 2019. If you’re new here, catch up on Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin and Prague! You might also like to know that last year I started to limit photography to 50 images per travel post, as many blog posts out there can be overrun with a little too many photos for your 4G connection, and perhaps too many of the same thing 😉

An outdoor shopping mall with shopfronts to the sides, and people walking and browsing. Ahead, centre of frame, is an old building with a green dome top

So after my kind of unintentional break, it’s been months since I last posted about our Europe trip and I’m determined to finish telling that story. 😎 So it might be a little late, but today I’m sharing about Vienna! 💕 This is going to be a boring post in terms of how it’s split – just in Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. 😜

Vienna was one of Nick’s and my favourite cities on our Europe trip, and for reasons we didn’t quite expect either. We were expecting Vienna to be a very pretty city – which it certainly was! – but it was so much more interesting because the food was great, the transport was excellent (it was so easy to get around!), and it had quirks of modernity that we really liked. Overall it was a very pleasant city, and possibly the only place a fast fashion store like H&M could look classy as shit. I kid, I kid – but the beautiful architecture really made every store look divine.

Day 1

Upon arriving in Vienna, we caught the bus to our apartment. Our apartment was located in a really hip part of town called Neubau, and the apartment was extremely spacious and very big, with a massive living room and a big kitchen with a large seating area. It was comfortable enough, but it wasn’t very welcoming and didn’t really feel like home, so it lost points there. We unpacked a few things before we headed across the road (literally) to a cafe, where the friendly and humorous waiter welcomed us, and the warm setting and lovely food made us come back several times during our stay.

The entrance of a building with the sign “Wien Hauptbanhof” above the glass doors. An analog clock on the building face reads that it is almost 3:00pm
Vienna station
A cup of coffee in a cup on a saucer
A coffee to welcome us to the city

The cafe was called The Melangerie – and it pretty much ticked all the boxes for what I want out of a cafe. Lovely coffee, great non-coffee beverages, terrific breakfast options, nice snacks, substantial meal options, and open for breakfast and closed at 9:00pm. I mean, 9:00pm is a big ask, but it’s extremely difficult to find a cafe in Sydney that opens any time past 3:00pm. since my dear Caffe Tiamo – a Korean joint that served all-day breakfast, beautiful desserts, and was open late – permanently closed a couple of years ago. 😞

The pedestrian lights on a street corner, lit up green, with the image showing two figures walking and holding hands. In the background is a vintage clothing store.
On the way to the vintage store was where we first spotted the pedestrian lights showing a couple holding hands
A view of a street in Vienna, in the late afternoon, showing an intersection that is going slightly uphill
The hip area of Neubau
A pedestrian light, lit up in green, showing two female figures holding hands with a heart
A slight variation on the pedestrian light (I am not sure if them being female is a deliberate statement about supporting same-sex relationships)
An open path with a large statue up ahead. Many people are walking down the path, and there are old buildings to the sides
Starting to walk downtown

So that first afternoon in Vienna, we went exploring! We admired the beauty of the city, which felt so modern because of its transportation and cleanliness, but every building had its own history. It was kind of quirky and enchanting, and I think that impression stayed with us long after the trip ended.

An old building with arched windows, the centre having a tall dome. There are hedges in the garden grounds
One of the museums in the Museum Quarter (we didn’t go inside)
A palace with an outdoor stage being set up.
They were setting up for something when we were going to check out the Hofburg Palace.
An old building with arched windows and a green dome marking the centre of the building. There is a road that goes through an arch through the building. There is a horse-drawn carriage in the foreground and some people walking around.
Hofburg Imperial Palace. You can see this green dome from many a spot
A shopping area in Vienna, with old buildings showing character
The streets downtown and all its shops had this wonderful old charm
A woman wearing a blue long sleeved top and a long black skirt. She has her hands in her pockets. She’s standing in a pedestrianised open street mall and in the background is an old building with a green dome-shaped top
I should’ve brought a jumper, it was cold haha
An outdoor shopping area in Vienna, in the late afternoon. People are walking through the mall
Spot the H&M? It’s somewhere there in the distance…
A building in Stephansplatz, Vienna, seen from a low angle.
Too bad the side of it had scaffolding and construction and had a Samsung advertisement on it
Two plates on a table, one with potato salad and the other with schnitzel and a lemon on top
It was really cold and I didn’t bring a jacket, but this food was good and there was heating and blankets.
Folded pancakes on a plate drizzled with icing sugar
Needed to eat something naughty.

We spotted an outdoor stage being set up near Hofburg Palace and it turns out there was a special concert to commemorate Nazi liberation later that evening. We went to grab dinner and then when we came back we watched an emotional speech by a concentration camp survivor. It was all in German and I couldn’t understand very much of it but it was still a very moving moment.

A crowd gathered in front of an outdoor stage lit up with colourful lights
A small concert to commemorate Nazi liberation

One of the things I really loved about our time in Vienna was being surrounded by the German language again, since we had just spent some time in Prague, haha. I don’t know what it is about the language, but I love hearing people speak it, and seeing it around me in public, on signage and on transportation and everything. 😊 I also just love how us English folk say Vienna but in German, the pronunciation of the city is Wien – which I think is just as nice, if not nicer. 😉

Day 2

A man smiling, sitting at a table which has breakfast served. There are two plates, one with an omelette and the other with avocado on toast. There is orange juice in a glass and a couple of coffees on the table
We vowed to go to The Melangerie for breakfast, so we did. Absolutely no regrets.

On our second day in Vienna, the weather wasn’t too great, so we started by going to the Haus der Musik – a music museum. It kept us occupied for a couple of hours, and it honestly reminded me of my appreciation for classical orchestral music – which I must admit dissipated over the past ten years. So it was nice to hear that throughout the museum.

The rain cleared up while we had the famous sachertorte (chocolate cake 🍰) at the Hotel Sacher.

A marble table set with plates of apple pie and a slice of chocolate cake, and two tall mugs of coffee with caramel sauce and whipped cream
Famous cake. I had a pie. The caramel hot drinks were super naughty.
A busy street in Vienna with cars, a bus, and a horse carriage on the road.
Down near the opera house where we were going to see a ballet the next day. But check out those horse carriages!

We jumped on a tram to the Belvedere Schlössgarten and spent the afternoon in that area.Two of the main spots to visit in Vienna are the Schlössgarten and the Schönbrunn Palace, and we were going to visit Schönbrunn the next day. There was an intriguing modern art exhibition at the Belvedere 21, the entry included in our combination ticket, which was a bit of a walk away but a worthy cultural experience.

The grounds of Schlössgarten, showing an old, long building with green roofs. There is a man-made giant pond in front of it.
The grounds of the Belvedere Schlössgarten
The grounds of Schlössgarten, showing an old, long building with green roofs. There is a man-made giant pond in front of it.
Another view of the previous building
The grounds of Schlössgarten, showing some of the patterns created with small hedges. Wide gravel areas to the sides allow visitors to walk around the grounds
I really liked this open area and generally how light the whole aesthetic was.

I didn’t take any photos in there because I’ve started to adopt a personal policy of of absorbing and experiencing art, rather than taking photos of it. That, and, any photo I take will never equate to the feelings I felt when experiencing the art, and will never do it justice. I do want to say that some of the artists whose work was exhibited in Belvedere 21 was quite sexually explicit, but so intriguing because of the way it was presented – there was one resembling discarded undergarments, and another resembling a video game console setup in a lounge room but displaying soft pornographic imagery on the television screen. I’m inclined to call it bizarre; I didn’t know how to interpret that one, although many seemed to make some kind of commentary on the human psyche.

Schlössgarten was nice to walk through, especially since it was such a nice afternoon. The clouds basically disappeared!

A man with dark hair wearing a blue sweater, analysing a painting in a gold frame that is on display on a wall in a gallery. The painting resembles flowers and has many colours
I really liked this painting, the colours were beautiful
The Schössgarten grounds, with short hedges making a swirly pattern on the lawn in the foreground. There is a streak of white clouds across the sky
The weather totally cleared up!
An old palace with a wide path leading up to it. In the foreground a man is taking a photo using his phone.
Nick taking a photo
A woman wearing sunglasses, with an orange sweater and a black and white patterned skirt, standing in the middle of a wide path. The path leads to a palace in the distance, with green roofs. Beautiful gardens make up part of the grounds
I was wearing this skirt non-stop!
The grounds of a palace with some very neatly trimmed green hedges to the sides, and a path leading up to a building. There are some statues near the hedges. In the foreground is a large man-made pond
En route to one of the galleries…
A mirror reflection of a woman taking a selfie using her phone. She is wearing a layered patterned black skirt and an orange sweater. Her face cannot be seen
Me, being obnoxious (I couldn’t help it)

We were very tired though, so after browsing through all the artworks and the mirrors, we trekked on back to our Airbnb, stopping for Vietnamese on the way. I was absolutely craving some pho noodles! 😢 I had noticed many Vietnamese restaurants in the area of Neubau, so I thought surely at least one of them must be good. I had my pho and I was very happy with it, even though it didn’t taste too authentic.

A brown bowl of Vietnamese pho noodles. In the background is a small plate with bean sprouts, coriander and chilli
Ughhhh my cravings have been satisfied

Day 3

A white plate with some fried eggs and ham, seasoned with pepper
Basic but so good.

On our last day in Vienna we had a quick breakfast of ham and eggs, and then visited Schönbrunn Palace. Between Belvedere Schlössgarten and the Schönbrunn Palace, the latter is the better known, more popular one, but after reading reviews I noticed that some people preferred Schlössgarten. Schönbrunn is definitely larger in size by at least triple, though, so you can spend a really long time walking through its grounds.

The grounds of a large garden, with wide walking paths to the sides of the mowed grass. The grass has flower arrangements in straight lines, and some swirly patterns dug into the grass to reveal the dirt below. Beyond the garden is a fountain and there are people walking on the paths.
Schönbrunn palace!
A large fountain with sculptures, water going into the man-made pond below. There are trees in the background and the sky is bright blue.
The famous fountain
A freshly mowed garden with some hedges to the sides of the garden paths. A small water feature can be seen in the distance, and an arrangement of flowers in the centre of frame. The sky is bright blue
Look at those immaculate and fresh green lawns

I visited a vintage store, which had some lovely things, but nothing I really wanted to buy. Then we grabbed lunch at a cafe nearby – I really enjoyed the meal I ordered, which was like a full breakfast! And I got a really nice homemade tea as well. One of the waitresses dropped and smashed a glass of Coke that Nick ordered and it caught us all by surprise… 😬 It was definitely an accident, but she looked really stressed about it!

An oval-shaped plate on a table, on which is served some cold cuts of meat, cheese, eggs, and a cup of fruit. In the background is a glass of Coca Cola and a small basket of bread
I was hungry and this was delicious and filled me up.

In the afternoon we visited an amusement park called Wurstelprater (known as “Prater”, but that is also the name of the large park/area it is in). It has a ferris wheel called the Wiener Riesenrad, that has been around since 1897, making it over a hundred years old. You could tell the amusement park was old because some of the rides were squeaking.

A very old ferris wheel, seen during the day. In front of the ferris wheel is a mouse-trap style ride slightly obstructing the view
That is a very old ferris wheel!
The inside of an amusement park. A few rides like cars on a track and rotating swings can be seen.
This area was pretty quiet and had quite a few kids’ rides
An amusement park during the day, with cables of lights across the way. There is a man in a dark jacket in the foreground, looking up at an attraction that is a tower with passengers experiencing a drop from the great height
I happened to capture Nick looking up at this ride
A giant white ferris wheel with bright blue sky in the background. The sky has many clouds. In the foreground is a large colourful figurine with a patterned hat
Another funky ferris wheel
The same amusement park from previous photos, showing a ferris wheel and a red painted mouse-trap style ride to the right
There were a lot of rides in the park that were largely the same style

So a good view of Vienna is from the cafe/bar at the Sofitel hotel. We went up there and bought hot beverages (it was too early for alcohol I think haha) although we were not allowed to sit directly at the window, we had to sit in the middle by the bar. We still walked around to take a few photos though.

A view of the city of Vienna and its buildings, as seen from the glass window of a hotel
Beautiful Vienna
A landscape view of the city of Vienna as seen from the glass window of a hotel
Another lovely view, in landscape

That evening, we had a super quick dinner at Die Burgermacher, because we were going to watch a ballet that evening, called Le Corsaire. They had complimentary iced tea and I ended up ordering a full serving (it was half a litre!) because it was so good. Of course, that made me want to use the toilet so many times later. 😂 Worth it, though.

A glass mug with iced tea in it, next to a bottle of the same iced tea
The iced tea was sooooo good
A beef burger on a white plate. It has a knife through the top of it.
It tasted better than it looked (it looks a bit boring)
A selfie of a man and woman smiling. The woman is wearing a bright blue top and the man is wearing a checkered collared shirt. They are in an old theatre building.
Good thing we packed a few nice clothes – some people were really dressed up!

Le Corsaire was the third ballet I’ve ever watched, and only the first one for Nick! The costumes were great, and of course, I watched the dancers in awe. If you’re new to my blog, you may not know that I danced ballet for over ten years of my life, so I have a huge affinity for ballet and so much respect and admiration for professional dancers. ☺️ It made me want to dance again, though!

The inside green carpeted stairs of an old building, seen from an internal balcony. There are people on the stairs dressed up and taking photos of each other.
Many people taking the opportunity to get photos inside the building
A theatre seen from a box seat. It is the end of a show, and a red curtain is up on the stage. There is one performer taking a bow. The orchestra area is empty.
The inside of the theatre – I snuck in a photo at the end.

Thanks for tuning into this blog post about our 2019 Europe trip! You can check out the hashtag #cookesEU19 on Twitter or on Instagram for summaries and photo highlights!

🍻 We’ll see you next time for a blog post about our short stay in Munich!

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