Monday, March 10, 2008


This weekend we took a trip to Vienna, Austria!  I love love LOVED that city.  Everything about it was wonderful--from the architecture and the restaurants to the wide open spaces (there were so many parks!) and all of the bicycles--I wish we could have stayed another day.  

We arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately searched for a restaurant.  We went to one recommended by the girl working at the hostel called Centimeter, which supposedly sold big hunks of meat by the centimeter, but the only thing we could figure out that was actually sold that way were sandwiches.  A little disappointing, but the food we got was decent, and the portions were outrageous!  I also sampled the Wiener schnitzel (something you have to do while you're in Vienna, but I'm glad I didn't get a whole plate of it...that's a LOT of fried veal).  On the way back to the hostel, we stopped for some ice cream at Zanoni Eissalon Garda which serves the best ice cream in Vienna (the gelato in Prague is good, but this ice cream was outstanding--plus they actually give you a decent size scoop).  By the end of the trip I think I had tried 6 flavors...
On Saturday, we decided to do all of the touristy things and see all of the sights of the city.  We started out at the Secession building, an Art Nouveau structure built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich.  Even though it was built so long ago, the building still looks very modern and was quite inspirational, especially all of the plant and flower graphics covering the building.
Next we moved on to Karlskirche Church, the Opera House, St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Haas Haus, Museumsquartier, the Parliament Building, the City Hall (Rathaus), and the famous Riesenrad Ferris Wheel at Prater Amusement Park.  
On a whim Saturday night we decided to go see the opera La Forza del Destino at the State Opera House.  We heard there were standing room tickets for 2 Euro (that's $3!), so we knew we couldn't pass that up.  While the opera wasn't my favorite type of musical/theater, I was really glad we went.  It was worth it just to see the inside of the opera house and hear some good music.  Afterwards, we headed to Cafe Sacher to indulge in the famous Original Sacher Torte and Viennese coffee, which is supposed to be some of the best in the world.  The cake was pretty good--after all the hype I was expecting something a little different, but I still enjoyed it.  Mmmm chocolate cake and coffee. 
On Sunday, we got up really early to get in line (free standing room this time) to see...the Vienna Boys Choir!  So so cool.  When they first started to sing I got goosebumps.  They sing every Sunday at the 9:15 Mass in the Hofburgkapelle chapel in Hofburg Palace.  I thought the church would have been huge, but it was quite small, holding maybe a couple hundred people (all tourists).   They were hidden up in the choir loft for the entire service (which was all in German) until the very last song.  It was kind of funny seeing the awkward young boys that can make such beautiful music.  Afterwards we enjoyed an enormous brunch nearby.
To end our trip on Sunday afternoon, we visited the Albertina art museum downtown.  They had some awesome exhibits, including a large collection that included pieces by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock, Rothko, and many others.  Afterwards, we went back to the large park in front of Hofburg Palace to enjoy the sun, people watch, and nap before heading back to Prague.  After all of the amazing things we had seen and done over the weekend, this was still definitely one of the highlights.  Such a great relaxing end to an awesome trip!  

If you want to see more pictures of my trip to Vienna, click here.  I've also uploaded photos from the buildings in Prague that we visited last week, so click here if you want to see those.  Enjoy!

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