14.12.11

Reasons to Fall in Love with Vienna

I was so excited to finally experience "The City of Dreams" with the man of my dreams. Vienna was not the backdrop of the popular Leonardo DiCaprio Blockbuster film Inception, but it was home to one of the greatest interpreters of dreams, Sigmund Freud.  Ohhh and of course musical prodigies Wolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig Van BeethovenFranz SchubertJohannes BrahmsGustav Mahler and Joseph Haydn all worked in Vienna at times in their lives. Pretty cool history, right?!

Ten years ago, mom and I made a mad dash through Vienna, and I remember being impressed with my hurried experience. This time around, I was looking forward to two days of drinking and breathing in the sights and sounds of Europe's most desired holiday destination. 

This will be a quick blog that simple highlights a few of the things that I loved about Vienna. You really have to experience it for yourself, and now I can say from personal experience that you must visit in December. Christmas just seems to come alive in Vienna. 

Why I fell in LOVE with Vienna:

Reece and Chris in front of St. Stephen's Cathedral.
-St. Stephen's Cathedral is beautiful even though it is being restored. It also is in the center of Vienna, so it serves as a great landmark. 

- In Vienna, we met up with Chris' best friend, Reece. It was great to travel with a friend, and since he lives in Europe now, we foresee a few more of these joint trips in the future. 

- The subway system (The U-Bahn) is super easy to figure out, so even though we were staying 6+ miles out of town, it only took about five minutes to get from our hotel to St. Stephens. 

We visited Krah Krah the first evening we arrived in Vienna, and would recommend it. 
- There are several great little pubs in the center of Vienna, and since I was traveling with two dudes, we checked out several of them. They were happy with the beer selection that was available. 

- In 2005, Vienna was ranked (by Economist Intelligence Unit) as the best city to live in for quality of life. In 2011, it was ranked second to Melbourne. It would not take much to make me move to Vienna! I can see why people love the city!

Der Graben (translation - "the trench") Street 
 - Famous Der Graben Street is great to strolling and window shopping. All of the shops are high end, but their window displays are all decked out for the Holidays. I think we must have found ourselves on this street four or five times. 

- The statue (that we are standing in front of) of the Pestsaule is one of the most prominent pieces of sculpture in Vienna, even though the statue was placed there as reminder of the 1679 plague that visited the city. It is beautiful and haunting. 

Beautiful and ancient St. Peter's Church Vienna. 
 - Around every corner, an architectural delight awaits discovery. 

Chris and Reece - just exploring the city.
Yummy food at Bermuda Brau in the city center. 
 - Even though we did not find a juicy burger for lunch in Vienna, we did find a great place called Bermuda Brau. At night, the place turns into a hopping bar, but during the day, traditional Austrian food is served at a reasonable price. 

Our first experience in a Christmas Market - Christkindlemarkt. 
 - I fell in love with the European Christmas Market in Vienna. Vienna's Christkindlemarkt is set against the backdrop of picturesque City Hall. Choirs perform inside City Hall through the Holidays, and the music just spills out onto the market. (beware - this market is packed with tourists)

- I tried hot wine (or Austrian Gluhwein) for the first time at Christkindlemarkt, and I decided that America is missing out on this amazing Christmas tradition. 


Front view of City Hall. 




 - You can find all sorts of gifts at the Holiday Markets. Of course some are homemade, but then there are some that are shipped in from China. Reguardless of where the gifts come from, the markets are a fun Christmas experience. 

-While Christkindlmarkt is Vienna's most recognized Holiday Market, we found a smaller one called Spittelberg that was easier to navigate. There were fewer tourists packed into the same area, and the prices were better on the Spittelberg market.

- There must be around 15+ Christmas markets in Vienna, and I believe we only stumbled upon four or five of them. You could spend a week in Vienna and never run out of Holiday cheer. 


- After I dragged the boys all over Vienna in search of Christmas-market-cheer, we found a great little Tex-Mex place at the end of the Spittelberg market. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but we just had one drink in the trendy setting and went in search of a burger. 

(Chris and I don't typically crave hamburgers, but we had not had one since moving to Serbia, so we were craving one in a big way. And McDonald's was definitely not on our radar.)


- After a long day of walking and exploring, we stumbled upon a random hole-in-the-wall-bar that seemed to have reasonably priced food and drinks. Once we sat down, Chris opened the menu and discovered that the place served burgers! We had given up on our search for the perfect juicy burger, and we ended up getting one anyway! It was a glorious end to our first day in Vienna. 

A must see in Vienna is Schonbrunn Palace, and we were headed there on day two.