March 20, 2011

Touring Vienna

Vienna's a little more than halfway to Budapest so we decided to start the first part of our trip there. Greg had already been this summer with his parents, but I had never been. Luckily, we had fantastic weather because Vienna was fun to walk around and absorb the almost-too-beautiful architecture. Anywhere you turned, you saw classic facades of buildings, museums and palaces. The Hapsburgs had a big influence in the city and the Empress "Sisi's" face seems to be everywhere.

Greg in front of the Hofburg Palace
We arrived in Vienna on a very full train because it was the start of Carnival break for many families. After dropping off our stuff at the hotel near the Gasometer center (you'll see that Greg and I couldn't resist taking pictures with this metro stop's sign - immature at heart, we are!), we took off into the city.

Our first stop was for a late lunch somewhere in the Naschmart, which is a nice outdoor market on a boulevard with casual eating places along its length. The stalls were filled with dried fruits, vegetables, exotic fruits and other yummy things. We ended up in a falafal joint run by Israelis. Further down the boulevard at the end of the market, the flea market was packing up, but there was still people milling about, shouting about their wares. We also had time to see St. Stephen's cathedral in the old town center that evening and meander around there for a bit.

Top of St. Stephen's at night

The next day we went to check out the architect Hundertwasser and his infamous Hundertwasserhaus with the related museum. His art was trippy with bright colors, mesmorizing lines and circles, and environmental themes (which Greg loved). To me, he represented a mediocre version of Gaudi's flow and creativity. His work was still cool to see and I think we'll both remember it for quite a while.

Columns at night
We had a lovely lunch at a local cafe and then walked around the classic Museum Quarter and Volkstheater. I had found a local bookstore/cafe called phil on Spotted by Locals so we headed there for our first sacher torte, a classic Viennese chocolate cake with jam inside... yum! It was just what we needed to end our day with. I enjoyed Vienna, but after coming from a place with similar architecture and culture, I was ready for something new and different. And Budapest definitely delivered that...more to come on that later!

Check out all our photos from Vienna here:

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