Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, the city of music. A beautiful, refined and culturally rich city. Would have loved more time in Vienna as there were so many places to explore. Free concerts, free operas, museums, gardens, palaces, cafes, pedestrian walks - endless things to see, do and eat, of course. This is the one city on our road trip that we had to take the hop on and off city tour bus as we're short on time. We saw a lot of sights on the exterior, just not in depth. Vienna is one of the places that I want to visit again in the future.

Schonbrunn Palace- breathtaking but not as grand as the Versailles in France. Nonetheless, a wonderful place to explore and enjoy the picturesque views of the palace grounds. Of course, a tour of Emperor Joseph Franz and Empress Sisi's state apartments is a must- so many stories to indulge in.
                                                The Neptune Fountain at Schonbrunn Palace
Schonbrunn Palace and the city viewed from the Gloriette's terrace
The Gloriette- built in 1775 as a monument to the fallen soldiers defending the Austrian empire at the time. Walk up the stairs to the Gloriette Cafe for pastries then up the terrace for panoramic views of the city.
                                                           St Stephens Cathedral
                                                                St Stephens Cathedral

Albertina Museum- wished we had time to see the Monet to Picasso Art Exhibit that was going on
                                                   Statue of Friedrich Schiller
Haus der Musik- very cool and fun interactive museum for young and old- one can conduct an orchestra, compose your own music or be exposed to various everyday sounds that one might not usually pay attention to.

Kaiser Jubilaums Kirche or Emperor Jubilee Church aka St Francis of Assisi Church in honor of Joseph Franz's 50th anniversary reign

Danube Tower overlooking the Danube River

Bikes for rent at the State Opera House

        Reminded me of my godmother and I getting groceries when I was about this kid's age.
City tour, anyone?
Hofburg Palace- grandiose, again wished we had more time here
Parliament building- just passing by

Benediktushaus (the building in the middle)- an 800 year old monastery, stayed here for 2 nights, good location, nice beds, good breakfast, very clean and renovated rooms, just don't stay here during the hottest days of August as there're no in-room air conditioning. I can tell you the little table fan provided didn't do a very good job of cooling down the room. Be prepared to sweat thru your sleep during the warm summer nights. Oh, parking was 80 euros for 2 days. Not knowing beforehand there was a price difference depending on where we paid (pay at the parking attendant booth for 27 euros/ day vs the parking machine at the garage exit for 40 euros /day), we paid at the machine. When we asked the parking attendant afterwards why the price difference, he just said it was what it was and no refund whatsoever would be issued. Wished the guesthouse reception had told us of the price difference as they had quoted us the lower parking fees.

Gloriette Cafe's Sacher Torte- rich and chocolatey, not bad

Gloriette's beef goulash with potato dumpling- very good

Nordsee's seafood on Kartner Strasse- fresh and inviting
Nordsee's half lobster tail- 27 euros, sweet and succulent, makes a great morning snack

Almdudler- Austria's national soft drink. Had this drink at Purstner Restaurant which is a local Austrian restaurant just a few blocks from St Stephens Cathedral.
Purstner's black pudding with potatoes and shredded cabbage. To this day, my kids had no idea that they ate pork blood since it tasted so meaty and so good.
Wiener schnitzel- huge portion but a little bland
I thought I had ordered veal liver but when this dish turned up, it tasted like pork scallopine. Oh, well!
Grilled baby back ribs with cabbage salad and more potatoes- aromatic but not quite finger licking good
Peppered beef at a cafe close to Benediktushaus- can't remember the cafe's name, though

                                                  Viennese noodles with chicken breast
Tafelspitz- boiled beef in broth- tender meat with wonderful flavors
Kasekrainer- cheese stuffed sausage, greasy and good 

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