Nature, architecture, and an endless list of cafés and restaurants to find: five full days in Vienna and I was ready!
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European Rivers - Day One
Train journey from The Hague, NL to Vienna, AU
An early wake-up call (thanks, Mom!), my suitcase packed and I was ready to catch my taxi. At The Hague Central, I was happy to find that at 5:45AM, I could get a fresh cup of tea. My train to Utrecht Central departed on time and I was ready to start this long journey.
At Utrecht Central, I bought another cup of tea and the ICE 121 brought me smoothly to Cologne, Germany.
In Cologne, I boarded the ICE 27: a direct connection to Wien Hauptbahnhof. Unbeknownst to me, this is considered a slow connection from Cologne to Frankfurt, because it follows the Rhine river via Bonn, Koblenz and Mainz. What a wonderful connection! As it follows the Rhine and Main rivers, I was impressed (and slightly fearful) of the endless wild currents of the water that is currently flowing through Europe.
Along the Rhine River, photo from moving train
he train ride was rather uneventful (though I had a delay of about 20 minutes when we arrived in Vienna). In Vienna, I walked towards the U-Bahn (line 1, transfer at Stephansdom to U3), and when I arrived at Neubaugasse station, I was slightly confused how I had to walk to my apartment in the Neubaugasse: thank god for smartphones and Google Maps!
Later that evening, my friend Katrin joined me. She flew in from Frankfurt and she would stay until Sunday evening.
Setagaya Park - Day Two
(according to Google Maps) traveling around Vienna on Day 2
After a sunny breakfast at Griendsteidl’s in the center of town, Katrin and I headed to the tram stops to catch the right connection that would take us to the north of Vienna. We had decided to visit the
Setagaya Park on the Hohe Warte.
Setagayapark was designed 1992 by landscape gardener Ken Nakajima from Japan. Twincity and cultural agreements have existed for many years between Vienna’s Döbling district and Setagaya, a suburb of Tokyo.
As we walked around, we could not stop taking photos. The design of the garden is such that you can focus on details of plants, but you can also shoot some amazingly complex and layered landscapes.
We spent a lovely time in the park, but the sun was bright and warm, and our stomachs were ready for some more food. We travelled down into the center of town again, heading towards Karlsplatz from where we walked towards the Naschmarkt. Katrin had been in Vienna before, but she had not yet visited this tourist hotspot. As touristy as the Naschmarkt is, you can also find some amazing restaurants here. Katrin and I fell in love with
Neni am Naschmarkt: what a wonderful place, with a great menu and very good service!
After lunch we wandered around, taking a tram here and there. We sat down for something to drink at the Vienna University’s Hof 1. It was quiet and cooler, and we took our time, while catching up on our lives and Katrin’s new job!
As we were more tired than expected – we both had left for Vienna straight from work – and for dinner, we did not want to have any difficult choices to see what we were going to eat. As Neni was simply too wonderful, we decided to head back, as we were not yet ready tasting their food!
Hundertwasser - Day Three
(according to Google Maps)
The next morning we were up early and after a quick breakfast-on-the-go, we headed out to Spittelau via the U-Bahn. The day before, when we changed trams, we saw a large golden globe on a tower and we both recognized that this must be another Hundertwasser design. Apart from the amazingly designed Hundertwasser Haus, Friedensreich Hundertwasser also designed more mundane buildings:
Wien Energie-Welt Spittelau.
What an amazing site, what an amazing building, we could not stop taking photos!
As the day was a bit grey and dreary, we went back to the apartment so that Katrin could also gather all her things as she would leave later that afternoon.
At lunch, the weather picked up again, and deciding we did not want to go to far away from the apartment, we decided to check out
Erich&rsquo;s in the Neustifgasse: another hit with more amazing food!
The clouds were gathering and while Katrin waited at the airport, I went for beer and food at the 7Stern Café.
With all that rain and thunder, Katrin’s flight was delayed, but after about one hour, her plane was ready to depart. She arrived safely even though the center of Europe was awash with rain and thunderstorms!
Donau Park - Day Four
(according to Google Maps)
The next morning, all alone, I was up early and I headed out. My idea was to visit the Vienna UN Headquarters, where the important discussions on Iran, nuclear agreements and important policies are created. As I was sitting in the U1 train, I noticed many international professionals around me. When we left the train, I was swept up in the flow of all these people ready to head out to their offices. Finding the UN building was too difficult and I was ready for some peace and quiet. I knew that on these same grounds, Vienna also build another park:
Donaupark with its Donauturm.
Another wonderful large green space, with plenty of room for trees, grassland and quirky statues.
For lunch, I headed back to an old favorite:
Trzesniewski&rsquo;s sandwiches. A great bite to eat while sitting in the Burggarten while gazing at a statue of Franz-Joseph I.
And after my two last visits, I knew I could not leave the Burggarten without waving a hello to a (newly) restored Mozart!
A quiet siesta at the Vienna University Hof 1, with a very good cold brew coffee from
Café Couture, I was only slightly disappointed that in the upcoming European Football Championships, the Netherlands would not play: all over Austria various fan zones were being constructed.
For dinner, I went to another old favorite now housed at a different location:
Big Smoke BBQ at the Brickmaker&rsquo;s Pub.
Great beers on tap combined with wonderfully slow cooked BBQ burns ends: could I wish for more?
Augarten - Day Five
(according to Google Maps)
Slightly undecided, I grabbed a tram to head towards the Ringstrasse because I wanted to see the neighborhood surrounding the Gartenpalais Liechtenstein, however I noticed that I transferred to a wrong tram line. When I got out and crossed the street to head back towards my starting point, I suddenly found myself waiting for a new tram in front of a tiny - obviously third wave - coffee shop:
Kaffeemodul. What a good idea! I had not yet had a proper breakfast, but a nice filter coffee would be just the bomb!
With my coffee in hand, I walked around this neighborhood and I found myself at the back of the Vienna Rathaus. An obviously impressive building, surrounded by the large Viennese city palaces: decorations and construction work abound!
Amazed by yet another Fan Zone, I was getting hungry and I decided to grab a bike and head over towards the Karmelitermarkt near the Augarten. The bike ride was lovely, I crossed the Donaukanal. When I got to the Karmelitermarkt, I was disappointed by the places to grab what was by now lunch. As I wanted to visit the Augarten, I would have my lunch at the Augarten Restaurant. Slightly overheated and quite hungry, a light salad was a good idea.
Afterwards, I still wanted to visit the Gartenpalais Liechtenstein, so I grabbed another city bike and headed out, but it was a bit of a disappointment. Instead, I walked over the most adorable set of stairs ever: Strudlhofstiege.
A quick stop at my apartment, I wanted to spend the rest of afternoon visiting some old favorites, but as in my morning, my plans changed half-way through. My city bike was not quite technically fit, so I stopped earlier. Walking over into the city center, the heat of the day was just too cloying. By now, somewhere in the world it must be beer o’ clock, so I stopped at a local brewery:
1516 The Brewing Company. And as I had a light lunch, I ordered refreshing beers with a side of bar snacks!
As I was in the area, I wanted to see the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee again, with it statues reflecting against the bright blue sun.
A short bike ride on the Ringstrasse back to the start point of my local tram stop line 49, I found that as I had been trying to find some old favorites (and slightly failing!), I still wanted to continue that theme for a light dinner. Back near my apartment, a walk down a very busy Mariahilferstrasse, I was happy to find the entrance to the hidden Raimundhof where I knew the quirky and friendly
Zum Gschupftn Ferdl is situated. On a bench, inside the Raimundhof (with all its steps down!), I was happy to tuck into a fresh lemonade with some Bergkäse mit Zwiebelmarmelade.
A warm, confusing and tiring day, I headed to bed early because the next morning, I wanted to start my last full day in Vienna bright and early!
Old Favorites - Day Six
(according to Google Maps)
My last full day in Vienna this year! And finally a good plan to visit some of those (more touristy?) favorites!
And tea with apfelstrudel at Diglas!
After this sojourn into the favorites, I unlocked another city bike and I biked over towards the Museums Quartier. Such an amazing collection of museums and works of art, but I was looking for a place in the shade to have an easy lunch. At
Kantine, I found that spot!
I did not want to remain in one place, and on my large list of places to try for coffee, there was still one I wanted to visit. Two tram rides - with an easy transfer - and I was back in the neighborhood of the University of Vienna and close to the
Coffee Pirates. Great service, very friendly people and such knowledge. I was happy to order a Chemex filtered coffee made from Kenya Muthuaini single origin beans roasted in house: such joy!
After that lovely coffee, I went in search for another city bike and I headed over to the Volksgarten. The roses were in full bloom, but I found that I was too tired to get excited and grab my camera to take photos. My week in Vienna had been great, but I was ready to go home again.
Sitting on a bench in the shade in the Volksgarten, I had a great view of the Neue Hofburg.
During all my breakfast, coffee, lunch, tea and dinner breaks - by the way - I was reading the detective novels about
Max Liebermann and Oskar Reinhardt, written by Frank Tallis. I can recommend this book series when you visit Vienna, because even though the books take place around the 1930s, they will still give your trip an extra dimension.
As I headed back to my apartment, I could not help but take a last quick Vine video of those classic Viennese trams. All wood, uncomfortable seats and tricky steps to get in, but o how I love them!
An easy dinner of flammkuchen and fresh lemonade at the 7 Stern Café, and my stay in Vienna was over.
Trains - Day Seven
Train journey from Vienna, AU to The Hague, NL
Another day spent in various trains. When I departed from Vienna Main station, I was not quite sure if I could catch my transfer at Frankfurt Airport, but I need not have worried: that train would end up with 54 minutes of delay all the way to Utrecht!
Before my train departed, at Vienna Main station, I still had time for a cup of tea at Oberlaa Konditorei. I also bought some petit fours to enjoy once the train was actually moving.
Again, the water in the European rivers frightened me, but as always, seeing the Donau out of your window will continue to amaze me!
I did not get home until about 11:30PM and sleeping in my own bed was wonderful!