We arrived in Vienna in the afternoon and spent the remainder of the day getting ourselves acclimated to the city and basking in the pleasant weather. It was crisp but dry so no complaints there.
Our first stop was to get a bite to eat so we found the Austrian version of a food truck and ordered a kasekrainer (cheese-filled sausages). To serve, they take a baguette, bore out a tunnel for the sausage, and then slide the sausage into the hole. Condiments can either be poured into the “tunnel” or on top as you go.
The big upside to this design is that the condiments do not squeeze out of the top or out of the other end when you take a bite. It’s the little things, you know?
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
After our snack, we stumbled upon St. Stephen’s Cathedral from the backside and I must admit, the backside is not its most glamourous side. We later found out that a massive restoration is underway but very little progress had been made at the time of our visit.
The Cathedral stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. The south tower of the church is its highest point and it took 65 years (1368 to 1433) to construct. The north tower caught on fire during World War II in 1945 when damage and fire from nearby buildings lept to the tower. The fire destroyed the framework of the tower’s roof and rebuilding the framework using wood would have been costly, so steel bracing was used instead.
The towers can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
Vienna’s Giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad) is located in an amusement park near the central square. The amusement park is kinda creepy if I’m being honest.
It had been years since I was on an old school Ferris Wheel and this one was an atypical design so I was all in for checking it out. At 12€ per person, I felt the ticket price was quite steep but it was what it was and we paid and hopped in the queue.
Roughly 20 minutes later, we boarded our “carriage” and away we went. It wasn’t quite the magical experience I had hoped for but it was certainly unique.
The carriages are made of wood and can comfortably fit 10 people. Each carriage hangs from a metal pole that runs lengthwise across the top of the carriage. As people walk around the carriage (specifically from one side of the windows to the other), the carriage tilts and rocks, similar to when you walk from one side of a boat to another.
Peter is scared of heights so he feared for his life during our short time going ’round. It’s worth a ride if your chosen day has good visibility.
Schonbrunn Palace has a long history of being many things over its lifetime, including a summer residence to a set of rulers back in the day. In 1996, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list because it’s a pretty neat place.
My observation of the palace and its grounds are that it is a place for locals and tourists alike to escape the city and take a moment to relax. The grounds and gardens are extensive and well kept. On a nice day, you can find peace sitting on the top of the hill near the Gloriette and gazing at the palace and tiled roofs of Vienna.
We didn’t spend as much time as we should have at the palace. If we were to do it again, we’d take the advice of every blogger out there and pack a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine and make a day of it.
The Anchor Clock (Ankeruhr) is an art nouveau clock constructed in 1914. It’s located on what looks like a skyway connecting two buildings but, alas, it is not a skyway. It’s just a clock.
If you aren’t looking for the clock or don’t happen to pass by at midday when the crowds have gathered below, it’d probably go unnoticed. As time passes, 12 figures slowly rotate around the front of the clock and at midday, they do a complete turn.
The clock also rings at the top of the house which is exciting if you are staying in a hotel nearby.
Vienna was a memorable trip for me but for all the wrong reasons. While there, I received a phone call from my family back in the USA who informed me that my mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Understandably, my mind was elsewhere, and getting out and exploring sites and culture was not at the top of my list. Putting down my laptop and Google and leaving our hotel was a major feat.
Vienna is a city that I would like to one day return to so that I can fully experience all that it has to offer but I’m just not sure it will happen. Our time in the UK is limited and there are so many other places we’d like to visit.
Regardless if we return to Vienna in the future, it will always be a city that reminds me of my mom.
If you’d like to read more about my mom’s fight with cancer, I wrote a three-part mini-series starting here.