Oh, Vienna (3)

€22 (plus tip) poorer, we started to wind our way back to the hotel. It was then that we came across, arguably, one of Vienna’s greatest “unsung” (heh heh) treasures – the Opera Toilet.

Very cultural city, Vienna...
Very cultural city, Vienna…

Yes, the toilet actually plays opera to you while you do your Sitzpinkel or plop onto the lovely poo shelf. (They have them in Austria too, as I’m sure you’ve been wondering since the start of this epic saga.)

To celebrate this wonderful find, we stopped off at Cafe Grav for a Spritzer (or three). We hadn’t been there long when an American couple sat at the table opposite. I figured these are the type of people “estimated walking times” in guide books are invented for. You know, when it says “walking time – 13 minutes” and, in reality, it actually takes three minutes, unless you’re an American tourist.

Anyway, they were adventurous enough to try the local cuisine so I gave them kudos for that. Their Schnitzel and potato salad arrived.

Homer: Um, where’s the sauce?

Waitress: It doesn’t come with sauce. 

Homer: But… where’s the sauce? 

Manfredas: It doesn’t come with sauce. That’s the traditional Schnitzel. You use the lemon to season it. 

Homer: Huh. Alright. Are the potatoes supposed to be cold? 

Waitress: Well, not cold but not hot. 

Manfredas: Yes, traditionally it’s lukewarm.

Homer: Huh (and probably wishing they’d gone to McDonalds).

Once they’d stopped questioning and started eating, they seemed to enjoy it though.

When we got back to the hotel, I asked Manfredas how much the bill had been.

Manfredas: Oh god, I didn’t pay.

Me: WHAT?!

Manfredas: Yeah, you were in the bathroom, I was messing around on my phone and when you came back, we just left.

Me: Oh god! 

As I was meeting my friend, Wyoming, we decided to pick him up along the way and go back to Grav to settle matters. The owner, who had waved us off as we left the first time, was relieved to see us again and laughed off the incident. Since he was so nice about it, we decided to put a bit more cash his way and stayed for a few more Spritzer.

My friend, Wyoming, had recently moved from Berlin to Vienna so it was interesting to see how he was getting on. I imagine both are a big change from the turkey farm he grew up on. Anyway, it was great to see him doing well and enjoying life there, and also to have a “local” to show us where the nightlife was at in Vienna. We headed to Schwedenplatz to party the night away, AFTER we’d paid the bill.

On Sunday, we woke to a gale-force wind whipping around the hotel, but not to worry, as we were off to cosy Cafe Sperl for a late breakfast.

Cafe Sperl
Cafe Sperl

As well as an illustrious history dating all the way back to 1880, Sperl is famous for having been used as a location in “Before Sunrise”. The ban on mobile phones they enforce probably also ensures most people remember to pay before they leave…


Fed and watered, it was time to go to one of Vienna’s most famous landmarks – Hundertwasser House. This was a commission for the architect to try to jazz up the existing block of council flats. With colourful facings, various protuberances, onion domes and a “war on the straight line”, I have to say Hundertwasser did a spectacular job.

After a pit stop at Gasthaus Wild, we decided to go and visit our new best buddy at Cafe Grav again. Naturally he remembered us and there were tears and jubilations at our return. We both ordered the Zwiebelrostbraten mit Bratkartoffeln and, of course, a couple of Spritzer. Unfortunately, our new friend was so happy to see us that he gave us a complimentary Spritzer just as we were about to leave, which meant that we wouldn’t have a lot of time at the Secession museum. We still drank them, though.

Model of Secession with its famous leafy dome
Model of Secession with its famous leafy dome

Secession is home to the monumental frieze by Gustav Klimt, and takes its theme from Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. At €9.50 to get in, it would want to be bloody impressive, and it is.

With our “culture between Spritzer” rule satisfied, we had time for one last drink before heading to the airport. In an effort to come full circle, we went back to the first place we had been to, fervently hoping that Helmut wouldn’t be there. He wasn’t but an even crazier version was. This guy thought that the Russian mob was after him, babbled on about how painful love is, and kept trying to tell us his life story despite our strong protestations.

After practically running out of there, we went back to the hotel, picked up our bags and got the amazingly efficient public transport back to the airport with its Arnold Schwarzenegger lift.


Danke, Vienna (and Manfredas) for the perfect weekend.


66 thoughts on “Oh, Vienna (3)”

  1. First of all, ESTIMATED WALKING TIMES are an awesome and helpful thing – and now that you have the fancy-cam, you KNOW you need more time to take all the photos!

    Second, sauce with a schnitzel should be a must! The only good schnitzel I’ve had has been this one https://gohomeandaway.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/schnitzel.jpg because (not pictured) it came with TWO!!! sauces (like a creamy ranch dressing, and a lemony mustard one), thanks to being served with a salad. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!



    1. Shouldn’t that be “Russian forever”? 😉
      And a Viennese person would probably spit on you for saying that. Or your Schnitzel at the very least…


  2. Goodness, with all those Spritzers, I could barely get through this post without breaking to do go the bathroom 😉 I am very suggestive. The anecdote about the American tourists was, no doubt, spot on for American tourists in general. Never ceases to amaze me how Americans feel like they should enjoy their American “delicacies” in foreign lands. Although I have to admit, I did get tired of eating rice two/three times a day in Ecuador (years ago when I visited my husband before he was my husband and was instead in the Peace Corps). Even my breakfast omelettes were served over rice! Then again, we didn’t have a lot $$ and so ate cheap most whenever we could (i.e., no fancy or even mid-fancy restaurants).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a beautiful experience! I am always amused to hear about American tourists. They get confused, but they will try things, so that’s nice. They won’t necessarily understand them, but they do like collecting new experiences. And by they I suppose I mean me too, haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha! Yeah, new experiences are always good 🙂 They were funny but at least they were brave enough to try! Not that there’s anything particularly scary about a Schnitzel 😉


    1. Yeah, even though we covered a lot, it still felt really relaxed! No point in killing yourself – we were there to enjoy it, and we did! I might not have seen everything but I have a wonderful impression of the city and people – apart from the two oddball barflies maybe 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Karlplatz U-Bahn – you heard it here first. It’s actually not in the guide book, if you can believe that 😉
      But yes, I highly recommend it! Loads to do and so beautiful 🙂


  4. I’ve been to Vienna twice but have yet to see the Hundertwasser house.

    €9.50? Hahahaha… that’s pennies in Switzerland. PENNIES! It’s CHF 15 to get into the Papiermühle (about €13.50) and CHF 18 (just over €16) for the Tinguely Museum. Both are well worth it though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I was chatting to a student about the prices to get into some places in London – I nearly fell off my chair haha!
      And you can’t get into HWH anyway – it’s closed to the public unfortunately!


    1. Ha ha! That gave me a chuckle! I have noticed this need to correct, however trivial, on several occasions! But most of the time, that’s a lot funnier than when people actually try to be funny!
      And yes, I’ve heard that too! The Xmas markets there must be stunning! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, what with the warbling toilet, that crazy gentrified bunch of council flats and the Klimt frieze, you had one heck of a busy day. Oh, and a couple of spritz along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, yeah, it didn’t feel like that much when we were doing it (very chilled!) but once I started writing it, it seemed like a lot!
      Unfortunately, you can’t go inside the Haus – there are people living there and they’ve put signs EVERYWHERE telling you that 😉 Will have to befriend someone who lives there next time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bwahaha! First place I’ll visit when I go (no pun intended). The pictures, the shops, the people – all interesting. I think i could feel comfortable there. Some cultures are so different as to be fascinating but not comfortable – if you know what I mean. We have some eccentric things as well – just not opera toilets. For instance there is a wall mount apparently stuffed fish trophy that is sold, that when it is switched on the fish begins to wiggle back and forth and sing. ha!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I’ve seen that before! I actually wanted one for a while haha! Now I’ve got a singing twerp next door so that’s enough for me. Though the fish might actually be more attractive 😉
          And I found it very easy to feel comfortable in Vienna – safe, clean surroundings, friendly people, so much to see and do – and singing toilets! It’s got it all! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Honest, it is uncanny. All those sights – I did them all. (Ok, and hundreds of thousands of other tourists too.) Mind you, I never have the pleasure of bumping into local “eccentrics” like Helmut. Must return and see if I can remedy that.
    In any case, lovely to read about Vienna from your POV. I think you have done it justice. (You certainly haven’t put me off going again *grins*)
    Hope you are enjoying the lovely weather in Berlin now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am more than enjoying it! Yesterday was Baumblütenfest which was amazing 🙂 Have you been?
      And thank you! Vienna is such a beautiful place I’d hate to do it a disservice! And I think my talent for being a weirdo-magnet is nothing to envy haha! 🙂


      1. No, sadly never heard of Baumblütenfest. What’s on in August? Making my next excursion to Berlin then.
        Well, at least being a weirdo magnet means that you always have something funny to write about 😉

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I think it might be a different Werder but I loved Bremen 🙂 Wrote a couple of posts about it on my Latvian blog actually! Aren’t you guys at risk of being relegated or is that a taboo topic… 😉


              1. Not quite taboo. Let’s say that we are still hopeful…
                And I am going to try and unearth those Bremen posts now. Curious to see what my city looks like to an outsider.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Too late – I located it myself, and enjoyed reading it. And *phew* you have no idea how relieved I am to find that Bremen left a favourable impression on you. You know, we Northerners have a reputation of being reserved and cold. (At least that is what the Southerners say about us – my theory is, that the Southerners simply don’t understand our Northern way of being ironic… But well, different topic.)
                  In any case, am I correct in making the conclusion that Bremen was instrumental in your decision to move on from Latvia to Germany? In that case – mission accomplished. You chose a good place to go to. Bremen, on account of having been an important port city for hundreds of years, is an open-minded and liberal sort of place. I was born there, love it dearly, and it is one of the few places in Germany that I would volunteer to live in.
                  Have to check the comments now that you mention them.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Yep! Once I realised how normal and helpful the people are, it was pretty much decision made! I decided that Bremen might be a little small for me in the long run, but I would happily go back there – and have an open invitation from my Cork/German friends! I can see why you’re fond of the place!

                  Liked by 1 person

            1. I have eaten “Paniertes Schnitzel “Wiener Art” mit Bratensoße” many times. Admittedly it’s never ACTUAL Wienerschnitzel – presumably because pork is cheaper than veal.

              Liked by 1 person

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