Sunday, 4 November 2012

Waltzing in Vienna

Vienna, the capital of Apfelstrudel, the Schnitzel, Strauss and Mozart. A  beautiful city full of virile testosteronic architecture.

 Home to Freud and Fritzl, The Viennese Opera House, baroque castles, horse drawn carriages and waltzes. 

I spent three days in this magnificent city of music and dreams. Although I was here for a conference, I did manage to slink out on the first day to watch a spectacular performance of The Nutcracker at the Opera House and get my tourist-freak on around the city.


Things to See

St Stephen's Cathedral

Visit the gothic splendour of St Stephen's Cathedral, the most important religious building of Wien, narrowly saved from destruction during the Second World War when Captain Gerhard Klinkicht of retreating German forces disregarded orders to shell the building until it was debris and ashes.

If you want to squeeze a glutealicious workout into your pilgrimage  then make sure you climb the medieval steps to the tower; not for the elderly, infirm or fainthearted. Really at one point I thought I was going to die. And if the steps don't kill you, the beauty of the views almost certainly will. I timed my climb perfectly, at dusk, just as the sun was sinking behind the rooftops. 


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Grab a Weiner

Viennese sausages are an absolute treat. They may not be the most photogenic of foods, so it's easy to assume the wurst, but they are pure greasy ecstasy. The street stalls are the best place for them. Make sure you get all the trimmings; rye bread, pickles, ketchup and mustard.  The dark smoked one was my favourite- steer well clear of the one with melted cheese in the centre, it tastes disgusting and is a one way ticket to Atherosclerosis (Thank you Grey's Anatomy).

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Let Them Eat Cake

Vienna is famous for it's Konditorei. I plead a passion for all things sweet and whipped. It was bound to end in disaster... er is this is beginning to sound like an excerpt from Max Mosley's memoirs?

To save you the trouble the best Konditorei are listed Here. But trust me on this one, go to Cafe Diglas. It has an old world vibe, grumpy Austrian service and the most exquisite baking. Go in a group and order a few of the deserts to share- the chocolate and cream one in the photo was amazing.

Sachertorte is an Austrian speciality. Chocolate cake made with apricot jam, served with cream on the side. I didn't like it, but if you want to try it the best one is served in Cafe Sacher.




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Music and Musing

Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Shubert, all the Strausses.. all made music in Vienna. So you better believe it when I tell you that you simply must go to the Opera House and catch a show. If you're going on the day of the performance, the good seats will be gone and beware of the touts who often try to pass off crappy seats as good ones.

So what you do is turn up at 6pm (shows start 7.30pm), go around the back and join the queue. For around £3 you can get a standing ticket right at the top. If you get there early it is customary to reserve your place by tying a scarf around the railings and then coming back for the performance; if you're not so lucky then  forget the view, close your eyes and let the music take you.

When that's done, walk around the city and take as many turns and twists as you can.













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3 comments:

  1. Gorgeous!! All I know of Vienna is old school (Congress of Vienna style), so it is wonderful to see some modern glimpses of such a great city.

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  2. Your photos are amazing and I LOVE your rings!! I hope when I start working I will get to travel, very jealous XX Kelly

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  3. Ha! Ha! 'Diglas' Blyde(!) Like the pictures of the stairwell on the previous post, particularly!

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