Oh, Vienna! (2)

After a quick freshen-up at the hotel (and a chance for me to use one of the thoughtfully-packed teabags), we caught the bus to Kahlenberg, a hill which offers the best views of Vienna. The bus ride alone, up winding cobbled streets with views of forest, vineyards and glimpses of the city, is well worth it – just don’t eat too much before you get on.

Suitably shaken and stirred, we hopped off at the last stop, just in time to catch sunset over the valley. The views of the city, although a little misty that evening, were spectacular.

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With the sun gone, there was a decided nip in the air, so we got back on the bus to Grinzing, the most famous of Vienna’s wine villages – and so pretty it’s hard to imagine real people actually live there.

I’d chosen one place but, just as we were about to go in, a coachload of Spanish tourists showed up – NEIN! No way was I listening to that for the night. Luckily, you’re spoiled for choice in Grinzing so we just went across the road to the next ridiculously picturesque restaurant.

Crushed, no less. I like their no-nonsense approach.
Crushed, no less. I like their no-nonsense approach.

We found a table and ordered some much-needed food – and, of course, local wine. I had the goulash, which I ate too quickly to take a photo of but, I can assure you, it was delicious.

Grinzing - where men wear Lederhosen unironically
Grinzing – where men wear Lederhosen unironically

With some local musicians now in full swing in the bar area, we moved to another table to be closer to them – and ended up sitting beside the mayor, as you do. He took a shine to me immediately and every time Manfredas’ head was turned, he took the opportunity to give me a come-hither gaze I found rather amusing – and also declined.

Still, he and his party were friendly enough and we chatted away for a while; the only problem was his dog who had a tendency towards rather smelly ausfahrts. As soon as another table cleared, we hot-footed it over and, by now, were right beside the musicians.

DSC00566

While they might have looked a bit Latvian on the outside, they were really nice people and, in no time at all, we were nattering away. It turned out that the musicians aren’t professionals; they’re just a group of locals who get together once a month to keep the old folk tunes alive. We just happened to get lucky by choosing that particular bar on that particular night. The lady on the right and I became pally as she loves Ireland, visits regularly, and sings Irish traditional songs with her local choir. For anyone interested in instruments, a piano accordian like this one will set you back up to €15,000.

DSC00572
Pricey hobby

All in all, we had a fabulous night. We were the only tourists there and there was something really cool about being welcomed into a local tradition that we’d wandered into purely by accident.

Dinner: €8

Wine: Can’t remember

Listening to actual yodelling in a bar in Austria: Priceless

We got off to a slightly later start the next day (as you can imagine). After several cups of tea and a bite to eat, we took the train one station past Schloss Schönbrunn (Palace “Beautiful Spring”) so we could walk back through the palace gardens. The day turned out to be much nicer than we had expected and the gardens were beautiful.

This is probably down to the scary man cycling around, who shouts and blows his whistle at anyone who dares to go near the grass. Despite there being signs everywhere, people are stupid so I can’t blame him for being snarky.

If you think the gardens are impressive, wait until you emerge into the massive courtyard between the palace itself and the Obelisk Fountain. While it’s hard to take photos while your jaw is dragging along the ground, I did my best.

We felt like we’d definitely earned a Spritzer (or two) before heading back into the city so that’s exactly what we did. Feeling like I needed to work that off before indulging in the famous Viennese Sacher Torte, we had a wander around a park and took in the awe-inspiring buildings that surrounded it.

Me: Gawp.

Parliament Building
Parliament Building

Me: Gawp.

The Rathaus
The Rathaus

Me: Gawp.

KK Hofburg Theatre
KK Hofburg Theatre

Me: Gawp. Sneeze.

Yes folks, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – THE CAKES. When in Vienna, it doesn’t pay to do things by halves on the Kaffee and Kuchen front so it was off to the famous Café Landtmann. (Well, if it’s good enough for Sigmund Freud, it’s probably good enough for me.)

Caaaaaaaake...
Caaaaaaaake…
People eating caaaaaaaaaaaake
People eating caaaaaaaaaaaake

We found a nice outdoor table and waited for the menus. OH. MY. GOD.

Caaaaaaaaaaaake...
Caaaaaaaaaaaake…

They looked even better in person (or “in cake” – how does that work?).

Dear lord...
Dear lord…

DSC00635While I wanted to try everything, I felt that, this being Vienna, I should have the Sacher Torte. While we waited, I tried to figure out the pecking order of the waiters. (Manfredas probably missed awe-struck, silent Linda at this point.)

They have guys in black jackets and guys in white jackets. I think how it works is the “black” guys take your order, the “white” guys do all the carrying, and the “black” guys bring the bill and take the money at the end. I could be wrong though.

Who cares?! Caaaaaaaaaaake!
Who cares?! Caaaaaaaaaaake!

Feeling magnanimous and hopped up on chocolate, I offered to foot the bill for this one. Smugly loaded with a €20-note in my hand, I waved it at the snooty (but funnily so) waiter. He asked me for another €2. Erm, WHAT? €22 for a Sacher Torte, Apfelstrudel, a coffee and a tea bag in water… OK, it was worth it for the experience but I may have had a little weep.

This is turning into a Lord of the Rings-style epic – apologies! Part 3 coming soon! 

 

 

 

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62 thoughts on “Oh, Vienna! (2)”

  1. I went to Kahlenberg last year and I had the pleasure of meeting the one person in the world who had not seen a selfie stick before. I daresay she was more fascinated by the stick than the view…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sacher Torte is kind of the iconic Viennese cake so I was glad the decision was taken out of my hands! I’d have been there for years otherwise 🙂 Not that that sounds too terrible now that I think of it – I’d be stony broke though haha!

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  2. Spanish tourists at an Austrian wine tasting?!? It’s like showing off the Berlin Zoo ice bear enclosure to a bunch of Greenlanders…

    Seriously, Spaniards should be forcibly taken to ALL the Konditoreien in Vienna and not let out until they’ve learned to appreciate seriously good cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I read through this, I was going to ask what the odds are of finding food that doesn’t involve meat or fish in Vienna. Then I saw the cake menu and thought, Maybe I could live on that for a few days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay cake!! The Austrians certainly do that well.

    I hope you also had some Strudel? When in Austria…

    Uuuhh, so you’re saying the hotel didn’t provide teabags but did provide a kettle?! Or did your friend bring a travel kettle as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a mini-kitchen! Guess he drew the line at a kettle! The hotel provided everything but you can never be too careful 😉
      Manfredas had the Strudel – good reports!

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  5. Do I see skinny white jeans? To carry on our conversation from earli… okay okay, from the very start of our WordPress friendship – that’s a knickers faux-pas waiting to happen!

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahaha a knickers faux-pas is a womanly issue I might sometimes face, particularly those lines that show through with tight jeans – uh! However, camel toes – that’s not a problem I share with the ladies!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. OMGGGGG!!! That strawberry cone wins for me – I have never seen anything like it! That is what I must find in Vienna!!! Also – weirdly the panorama of the city reminds me simultaneously of Moscow (well, a view from one of the parks), and like, Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. And accordion players – HOW CUTE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! They were really nice as well 🙂 I think that was a pretty special piano accordian – as was the guitar. And amazing to listen to – there’s a lot of background noise on the video (rowdy group beside us) but hopefully you get the idea! Next time – http://www.landtmann.at/en/das-cafe/
      It’s right beside the theatre which is a jaw-dropping building – worth the mad prices, once anyway haha!

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    1. Thank you! I was hoping to get it all into two but I guess we did more in the three days than I realised! I’m in love with Vienna 🙂 Spent around 4 hours putting that post together last night! Very unlike me on a Saturday night 😉 Glad to give you a little trip down memory lane! 🙂

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