Oh, Vienna! (1)

I had been told before visiting Vienna that the Viennese were a tad rude and unfriendly. However, having lived in the Land of the Po-Faced for four years, I figured I could hold my own on that front. So, following a last-minute dash to buy sandwich bags, I was on my way to meet Manfredas to get the train to the airport.

After an easy 50-minute flight (or just enough time to drink one tiny, over-priced bottle of wine), we landed in Vienna. The great thing about travelling with a German is that they are, well, German. A guide book had been procured, maps acquired, travel itineraries to and from the hotel worked out, and 72-hour public transport tickets purchased. This meant that, once I’d recovered from a fit of hysterics at how much the voice in the lift sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger, we were already on the most direct route to the hotel.

We checked into the Hotel Mercure, where Manfredas surprised me once again by producing some tea bags he’d brought with him – just in case they didn’t provide them at the hotel. Germans…

DSC00450
Where’s the food?

At this point, we were pretty hungry so we decided to head out into the night to see what Vienna had to offer. Luckily for us, the hotel was right opposite the Naschmarkt, a huge area with all kinds of international cuisine, but I only had one thing on my mind.

SCHNITZEL!
SCHNITZEL!

While listening to the “THUMP, THUMP, THUMP” from the kitchen of the chef beating more meat into submission, we savoured our Schnitzels, sampled the local wine and, by the time we were finished, the Naschmarkt was shutting down for the night. When plans fail, Linda’s “bar-dar” comes into play and beep, beep, beep, sure enough, within around three minutes, I’d located a likely spot for a nightcap.

Dreamy, right?
Dreamy, right?

The bartender was as overjoyed to see us as we were to find an open bar so it was a win-win from the off.

Happy Linda
Happy Linda

We were just sitting down to enjoy our (probably) last glass of the evening when we were joined by Helmut. At first, we were happy that a local wanted to speak to us, then we realised he was possibly on day release from the local asylum. To say he was hammered would be an understatement but there was something about his mother dying in a car accident, his grandfather being a famous race car driver, him being in an orphanage, umm, umm, maybe a daughter somewhere, the secret service were looking for him but couldn’t find him… And then he cried. And then he laughed. Then he held onto Manfredas for a very long time. And then we left.

Night one down.

Having checked the weather forecast (of course), we knew that Friday was going to be the best day weather-wise so we were up and about early(ish) to make the most of it. After a quick breakfast at the Naschmarkt, we started walking toward the Museum Quarter.

One of the first things you’ll notice in Vienna are the amazingly cute traffic lights. They were part of an initiative by the city’s PR team, after Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision, to put LGBT issues on the agenda. From some of the reading I’ve done, it sounds like the country still has a long way to go, but I guess every little helps.

Once I’d been dragged away from the traffic lights, it was on to see Vienna proper.

My new trick - spouting water out of my head
My new trick – spouting water out of my head

It is impossible to put into words just how beautiful this city is. I think I said “WOW” more in the space of a couple of hours than I ever have before in my life. A few photos don’t even begin to do it justice but hopefully you’ll get the general idea.

It is stunning.

After being wowed out by the Museumsquartier, it was forward to Stephansplatz, home to the imposing (and too big to take a decent photo of) Stephansdom.

DSC00508 (2)

Dizzy from the majesty of it all, Manfredas suggested a time-out at Do&Co. You can buy the most expensive döner kebab in all of Vienna here but, as €26 would pretty much cover my weekly shop in Berlin, I decided to settle for just a drink. Knowing I’d be laughed out of my local in Berlin for ordering a Spritzer, I snorted a little when Manfredas said that was the Viennese drink of choice, but hey, when in Vienna.

To you, Vienna!
Wein in Wien!

Surprisingly refreshed by the girly drink Spritzer, I was ready for more. Having left the guide book in the German’s capable hands, because:

German + Guide Book = No-Brainer

I was rather surprised when we emerged from the U-Bahn here:

Argh!
Argh!

Seemingly, the Prater is a must because of the funfair and giant ferris wheel but, after the splendour of the morning, it felt more like a jarring eyesore.

A "must"
A “must”

It does run alongside quite a nice park, but all the shrieking in the background made it less than relaxing for a stroll.

Trying and failing to get into the carnival mood
Trying and failing to get into the carnival mood

We decided to meander back into the city along the canal, which was a much better idea.

And, of course, it’s when you walk a city that you find all of the unexpected things it has to offer. It turns out that, on a sunny day, half of Vienna heads to the beach or, to be more precise, the City Beach. Young and old alike (some disturbingly topless) were sprawled along the bank of the canal, in deckchairs, on the ground, or pretty much anywhere else they could find a space.

I wonder how many people fall in...
I wonder how many people fall in…

So naturally, we just had to join them for a Spritzer before deciding how to spend our second evening…

A very relaxed man
Napping, Austrian-style

Stay tuned. There may be yodelling… 

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67 thoughts on “Oh, Vienna! (1)”

  1. a) I LOVE how big that wine glass is. b) I guess I didn’t know what schnitzel was…I thought it was sausages but it looks like fried chicken. YUM. c) Vienna is gorgeous 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how from time to time you’ll pop up about of the blue and mention knickers, I feel I might never live it down 😉 haha. Also, boys wearing knickers – and the whole 9 yards with them as it goes, isn’t quite so unique in Thailand, it’s kinda their thing ain’t it? I didn’t feel so special for once. Comfort me BerLinda!You’re singing Vienna’s praises, Austria is one of the major European countries I’ve still yet to visit. It is ages since I went to mainland Europe, boo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Slovakia is only a bus ride from Vienna, I wanted to kill two birds with one stone when I go. I miss Europe, I miss not being stared at! Where’s the next place you’ll hop to? And how exactly was KNICKERS going to convince me? Intrigued! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ha, I dunno – just thought I’d ‘throw’ them in there 🙂
          Yeah, seemingly all the Viennese go to Slovakia on Sunday as everything is shut in Vienna! 45-min bus or ferry ride!

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    1. To be honest, it’s taken years. I just make it look easy… 😉
      And aren’t they great? Such a lovely simple idea! There are six varieties in total – I bought the postcard – they’re so cute! 🙂

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    1. It was open 24-7 but the drinks were definitely not free! I think because it was open all hours, they charged a premium. You wouldn’t stay there for more than two! It was pretty though – and Vienna, just wow, again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Urgh, it was just so damn ‘Oirish’ – honestly, I hated it. I wanted to slap her, I didn’t warm to any of the characters, except Tony, and the dialogue was painful – probably because it was accurate. No more Irish authors for me! That’s one of the reasons I left – those awful, empty, banal conversations, just to fill the silence… he nailed it but I don’t want to have to read it!

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              1. Yeah, I was lucky enough not to but it sounds like my mam’s home town! Yeah, you did say it might be too close to home and I think it was. I hate the influence that the church had over people in those times. And curtain-twitchers in general 😉

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Concrete beach, why not, all that sand just,…. Helmut was probably telling the truth that was stranger than fiction. Ko ma scho wos song ~ what can you say? Thanks for sharing your impressions, I’ll have to go to Vienna one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the traffic lights and the canal! I have always been one of those guide book, pre-planning types… now it occurs to me that it must be my German blood. But where are the famous Vienna pastries??? And now I have exhausted every comment I could think of to keep from making a joke about the cook beating his meat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha! I knew someone would pick up on that – well done you 😉
      Yeah, I used to be like that – now I just tend to rock up somewhere and follow signs to what I think will be interesting! I barely glanced at the guidebook while we were there but it’s coming in handy now for writing the post 🙂 And it did have some great suggestions to be fair! I just left it all in the German’s hands! Pastries in the next post… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Paul! I guess I’m a bit lazy with the descriptions of buildings, etc. but really, one building there could take up an entire post and I’m no history or architecture expert! I’d rather just give an overall impression of a place – far more fun for me to write and hopefully more fun to read 🙂

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  5. Awww, the traffic lights are so cute! They didn’t have them last time I was there. Must go back! Any excuse 😉 I do love Vienna, as I told you.

    €26 for a kebab?! WTF?? Was it made from unicorn meat?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would expect it to last me for a week for that price! And come with a bottle of wine haha! Yeah, circle pics – when it’s a photo-heavy post, you have to mix it up a little! Nice to hear from you, by the way 🙂

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  6. I have notes.
    1-I’m glad to see you’ve really embraced your camera gift. Word of advice (bc they are addictive) – make the photos you upload a bit smaller, or you will go through your upload limit at NO time! #speakingfromexperience
    2-WHAT THE EFF IS IN THE 26 EURO KEBAB??? GOLDEN GOOSE EGGS AND FOIE GRAS???
    3-WHY IS EUROPE SO GREEN ALREADY? WHY IS MOSCOW NOT EUROPE???
    4-Your first night in Vienna is THE quintessential Linda night out. There is literally nothing about it that I didnt expect 😛
    5-Vienna was indeed shockingly beautiful. Big disconnect between the cold and boring city I expected and the reality I saw for just a few hours last summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. Excellent advice – I forgot that the photos would be so much bigger! And I’m putting in more of them now that they’re halfway decent 🙂
      2. Lamb and calf meat seemingly – here’s a link to the menu – http://www.docohotel.com/media/44175/hh_standardkarte_2016-03de.pdf. The hotel looks fab but still… 😉
      3. If it’s any consolation, it snowed in Berlin yesterday. For around 5 minutes. But the green was already here so it’s no biggie 😉
      4. Yes 🙂
      5. Why did you think it would be cold and boring?! Any pics I’ve seen of it have been amazing!
      PS. Love the list 🙂

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      1. I’m trying to come out of my wormhole and actually read blogs (I caught up on about 50 posts last weekend – the first weekend that I was absolutely not working since my Berlin trip) :)))))
        Re: Vienna – I have no idea why I had that idea about it…perhaps some weird association with classical music? What other people told me? A mix of too much German cleanliness and rationality with Eastern European-influenced dourness? Who knows how my brain works…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha, I’d been told that the people were really unfriendly but the city was beautiful. The latter was more than true and I found the total opposite with the people! Wow, Berlin was AGES ago – you need to take more time off! 🙂

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          1. Tunisia was a “vacation” (my boss has been on a leave and I started to lose my mind, so it was vaca or quit), I didnt fully unplug. I like going to London, because it’s always for work, but because I count as “away” I get to work at my own pace and catch up on the big stuff.

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  7. Wait – was that last weekend? Looks as if it was WARM!!! (Hibernia is currently living up to its name – yesterday there was sleet and hail…)
    Vienna is one of my all-time favourite places, and Naschmarkt is central to that :-D. How did you fare with the Austrian accent?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was OK! In cafes and bars etc., I had no problems at all. In normal conversations, there were a few issues but it could have been the accent, could have been the slurring or the fact that I just don’t know some words yet – hard to say 😉
      And yes, that was last weekend – it was 20 degrees! My tan is currently fading in the snow in Berlin 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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