When Jami and Tarina told me of their plans to travel around Europe this spring, I had to join them if only for a short weekend trip. They arrived in Munich, travelled to Salzburg, and then I met up with them in Vienna on Friday, April 24. I flew from Abu Dhabi on the red-eye direct flight on Fly Niki and arrived around 6:00am that morning. I met up with them at the City Pension, got showered up and we hit the streets of Vienna. After a light breaky, we walked over to the Naschmarkt market. It was still pretty early so it wasn’t that busy yet. We strolled through the market and then found a coffee shop Jami had on the agenda. We had a delicious cappuccino at Alt Wien Kaffee and then continued on foot to the Museum Quartier district. It was too beautiful of a day to spend inside so we decided to stay outdoors. We kept on foot and walked down to the Danube river and then finally found a place for a late lunch. After lunch, we wandered over to a park which was filled with people enjoying the outdoors. We finished our day at the 1516 brewery to enjoy a local brew and a small snack of pretzel with mustard. We passed by St. Stephan’s Cathedral before heading back to the room for a wee rest before getting ready for the culinary highlight of the day, dinner at the famous Figlmüller restauarant. We arrived around 7:30 and were told it would be an hour wait so we enjoyed a glass of Gruner Veltiner at the vis-a-vis weinbar across the street. We watched as swarms of people showed up and were turned away as the restaurant was fully booked. At eight-thirty we sat down at our window side table and all ordered the same thing – the legendary schnitzel paired with a glass of Zweigelt. It was a bit bigger than we had anticipated as each portion was falling over the edge of our full size dinner plates. A perfect way to end my first night in Vienna.
The next morning we woke up early, grabbed a coffee and apfeltascherl before taking the train out to Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence. We visited the privy garden, maze, walked up to the Gloriette panorama terrace and then had a one-hour tour of the palace. The tour was really good and we enjoyed strolling the palace grounds. After our tour, it was time for some lunch so we made our way back to the Naschmarket. Everyone seemed to be drinking an aperol spritzer so we decided to join them. While we were waiting for our lunch to arrive, we had a surprise guest join us at our table…it was our good friend, Jennifer Fothergill!! She had just flown in that morning from London. Initially Jen thought she couldn’t make it to Vienna because she was in the U.S. for work but she ended up flying back the day before and decided she couldn’t miss the opportunity. Jami and Tarina were both completely shocked. After lunch the four of us strolled the streets of Vienna, stopping at the Hofburg for a relax before heading back to freshen up for the evening. We learned there was a live performance of Mozart’s Requiem at the St. Charles Church that evening at 8:00 pm. We stopped for a pint and then bought our tickets at the door for the rush seating. When the concert had ended we still hadn’t had a real dinner and we ended up walking by the Wurstelstand on our way home – we each got a sausage served with mustard, a pickle, and a mini bottle of wine. Delicious.
The next day was Sunday and my last day in Vienna. We went for breakfast at the famous Hotel Sacher and had apfelstrudel and topfenstrudel (curd cheese). The portions were a bit big so unfortunately we did not have enough room for their famous sacher torte. We decided we might need to work off our filling breakfast so we walked up the 343 stairs of St. Stephen’s Cathedral to get some panoramic views of the city. After taking in the views, we made our way over to the train station. We had read that a Sunday not spent at a Heuriger was a wasted day. We found out that the closest Heuriger was outside the city centre in the area of Grinzing which is surrounded by the Vienna woods. We had read that Restaurant Brandl was a really good spot for lunch and found it filled with locals coming to the heuriger after church. We ordered a few local specialties to share between the four of us and enjoyed a long lunch outside enjoying the weather. After lunch we strolled up the main street and noticed the buses were full of people. We stopped at a bus stop to see where it was going and found out it was going to Kahlenberg and we hopped on. We opted for a short 45 minute hike through the woods as we didn’t have that much time left in the day.
Topfenstrudel at Hotel Sacher
We then hopped back on the bus to take us into Vienna. Jen and I said goodbye to Jami and Tarina and made our way up to the airport. We were heading back home and they were heading onwards to Prague and Berlin. Jen and I had one last bier together at the airport before we went our separate ways. It was great to visit Vienna in the Springtime and even better to spend it with such great girlfriends!