Indagare member Charlotte Steel recently traveled with friends to Europe, and loved her time in Vienna. Here are her impressions of the city.
We left Vienna this morning and I think it's safe to say that we're already anticipating our return trip(s) to that amazing city! We loved Prague, but we immediately noticed Vienna has far fewer tourists and is a wonderfully uncrowded city in comparison. Each street we wandered down was as charming as the one before. The buildings and streetscapes are beautiful and reminded us of Paris and London.
We stayed at a very cool, albeit strangely decorated hotel, 25 Hours @ the Museum Quarter. Among its features were a chic rooftop bar with excellent views of the city as well as a permanently-parked hamburger truck outside. The circus paintings on walls, extremely modern art and oddities of the hotel certainly make it unique, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
We arrived on Tuesday with enough time to explore before dinner, so we went to the Naschmarkt (a long stretch of open-air shops and restaurants) and stopped in the well-known coffeehouse Cafe Sperl. I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered an iced coffee and it came with a vanilla ice cream floater, whipped cream and wafer cookies.
Tuesday night might have been the culinary highlight of the trip; we ate dinner at Skopik & Lohn, a charming bistro on a quiet street with white linen tablecloths, wonderful waiters and plenty of outdoor seating (note: don’t go too late; we had to move inside at 11pm when the patio closed). Every dish was delicious, but the steak-frites and schnitzel with superbly dressed potato salad (typically served in a light vinaigrette as opposed to mayonnaise), as well as an Austrian white wine were the highlights. Our waiter seemed to be doubling as the maître d', tending to our every wish. As we left, we discovered that he was in fact the head chef as well. While we weren’t too pumped about walking 30 minutes across the river back to the hotel, we perked up when we heard music coming from the park and stumbled across The Volksgarten, a bumping outdoor bar in the middle of what I can imagine is the equivalent of Hyde or Central Park. We stayed long enough to be intimidated by the Tuesday night scene, and remarked on how Austrians are generally cooler than us.
We started Wednesday on a good note as we wandered through the Naschtmarkt again, enjoying fresh juice and pastries on our way to Schönbrunn Palace. Known as the Versailles of Vienna, it was the summer palace and home of the Hapsburgs. We took a audio-guided tour of the palace, which provided a very interesting history of the Hapsburg monarchs including Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph, and explained how Napoleon, Marie Antoinette and Mozart fit into the family history. After the tour, we explored the grounds, tested our labyrinth skills, visited the on-site zoo (the oldest in the world!) and toured the Hofburg. We later shopped at the very cool Loden-Plankl, which had an array of authentic Austrian jackets.
We loved Skopik & Lohn so much that we almost went a second time, but we resisted the temptation in order to try a new place, Glacis Beisl in the Museum Quarter. Recommended by our hotel and Indagare, it fully lived up to its expectation. Set back from the street, it was a wonderful al fresco dining experience in a magical garden. We had more amazing schnitzel, authentic Austrian dishes and outstanding bacon-wrapped goat cheese.
We miss Vienna already, but are off to Budapest and excited to see what the city has to offer.
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