Ok now that I have you drooling wanting to hear more about our Vienna adventures, I guess I should reveal the details of day number two…
We began our day again in two groups Jennifer and I with Tourguide Kenny and the others with Tourguide Santa. Before meeting up with Kenny, Jennifer and I headed to the Naschmarkt, a street wide flea market with meats, cheeses, other foods, antiques, and a great deal of other things. After roaming around for about an hour we headed to Café Sperl where we were given instructions to meet up with Kenny at 11 am. Well of course we were late, but we made it! (Much to his surprise might I add.) He seemed to have the idea that Jennifer and I were directionally challenged…NO way!)
After a grabbing coffee at a traditional Viennese café we set out for Schloβ Schönbrunn, the former residence of Maria Theresa, a member of the mighty Habsburg family, who ruled over Vienna for hundreds of years. Again, I could launch into a rather lengthy explanation about the Habsburg (a result of Tourguide Kenny’s knowledge), but for fear of miscommunication and time, I will refrain from doing so. Aren’t you lucky…
Anyhow, Schönbrunn was a sight of pure Viennese beauty. (really any beauty for that matter) The palace was encompassed by gardens spanning meters and meters on each side (notice that metric system usage), complete with its own zoo, and buildings of pure grandeur. The palace itself was situated at the foot of a hill with a place called the Gloriette situated along the horizon above.
The Gloriette was the favorite breakfast place of Maria Theresa; I mean naturally who wouldn’t want to start the day off with a breathtaking view of the city? Funny story that Tourguide Kenny mentioned: Apparently Maria Theresa was so fat that walking up the giant hill to the Gloriette was an unthinkable feat, so instead she had her servants carry her to the top and back down every day! Oh and she often got bored, so she had the same servants fetch her lions and tigers from the onsite zoo and have them roam around as she ate breakfast. Talk about luxury!
Unfortunately our servants had the day off, so we had to make the trek up the hill to the Gloriette ourselves. But it was definitely worth it! Surrounded by oodles of fellow tourists, beautiful gardens, and the European air again it was one of those sappy “how lucky am I” moments. But can you really blame me? I didn’t think so.
After our tour of Schloβ Schönbrunn and the Gloriette our stomachs were again begging for attention so we headed to the 16th district (fun fact Vienna is separated into numbered districts) for lunch at one of Kenny’s regular spots. And by “regular” I mean literally every day, if not twice a day. Name? No idea. Good food? YOU BET! It was a traditional Turkish “hole in the wall”, and by traditional I mean not a single word of English was spoken. Turkish first, German second, English never. Tourguide Kenny thankfully knew exactly what to order, and boy was he right! “Drei chai und drei bürek, bitte.” Three chai teas and three büreks, please…Best words ever. This food was beyond good!
Oh I guess I should explain what bürek is…think heaven in your mouth..got it yet? Ok it is actually a pastry/meal type thing made from phyllo dough type stuff, with butter, cheese, spinach, meat, or potatoes. Really that is the explanation I’ve got. Just take my word for it…it was delicious!
After lunch we roamed around a nearby market, and went to meet up with the gang to continue our plans for the day. Jennifer and I went to visit Belveder (another palace) and purchase souvenirs before the weekend slipped away from us! Once again we were hungry (I swear all we do here is eat!!) and we began searching for a place to grab a Wiener Schnitzel, apparently a must have in Vienna. After about an hour of roaming looking for the PERFECT dinner destination, we finally stumbled upon “Mama’s Kitchen”. An appropriately named restaurant where we were able to indulge in soup, wiener schnitzel, dessert (I had Sachertorte another Viennese specialty), and a glass of wine all for only 15 Euros. WIN. Plus, it was outdoors by candle light with an accordion player nearby on one of the busiest streets in Vienna. Double WIN.
After dinner we headed back to the hostel to meet up with the group before we experienced the nightlife in Vienna. At the train station we had run into one of our fellow students who is from Vienna, and he was able to tell us the best places for a night out on the town. We went to a place called Volksgarten where we celebrated with new found friends and danced the night away. This was the perfect ending for a fantastic day in Vienna, and again a perfect ending to this here blog entry.
As promised there will be a third entry recounting the details of our third, and final day, in the city, but until then enjoy these tidbits!
2. The Russians occupied Vienna for about ten years following World War II. This is evident in the monument that is erected to salute the Russian soldiers that died saving the city during the war. The monument was one of the negotiating terms for the Russians to leave. Vienna said you guys leave, and we will build you a monument to thank you for your service. They did…we saw it.
3. Never underestimate the beauty of a palace.
4. Zanoni and Zanoni has the best gelato in Vienna.
5. Chai tea and büreks are a killer combination!