Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Central Europe: Day 4 (Vienna)

Our first full day in Vienna included a lot of touristy stuff, but we saw a lot of the city center!

First, I took a two-mile run near our hotel in the morning - this was a Tuesday morning, so there were a lot of commuters (Vienna loves bikes!) and kids going to school. I love taking runs while on vacation because you can really see the heart of the city in the morning!

We wanted to go to breakfast at Kleines Cafe, but it was closed, so we went to Diglas for a traditional Viennese breakfast.

Then it was the second St. Stephen's Cathedral in as many days:

We climbed this one, too, of course, and got to see the amazing tile work up close and personal:

We took a walk down the super commercial street (I forget the name) off of the Stephansdom platz. We checked out my beloved Swatch boutique, and Dave almost bought a watch. Then we hit up Altmann & Kühne for some delicious chocolates. It was such a cute shop!

Speaking of shopping, I really wanted to find this cute yarn shop, Wolle Wien, which brought us up the Schönlaterngasse, one of the prettiest streets in the world. I wish we had gone closer to midday so we could have gotten a sunnier picture, but oh well. Still very pretty. We enjoyed some Zanoni and Zanoni dark chocolate gelato while we strolled.

Wolle Wien was everything I hoped for and more. I bought some beautiful hand-dyed Austrian yarn that I'm still deciding what to do with. It's this intense pink-orange combination; I might do a shawl or poncho, maybe something to wrap up with in my chilly office. Another great souvenir!

Right next to the yarn shop was another place on my list - Griechenbeisl - the oldest restaurant in Vienna. It has a cute beer garden, and we enjoyed a bit of food while taking a rest. We looked around inside for a bit, too, and one of the staff members gave us a tour!

We stopped by the Billa near our hotel to buy some groceries for lunch on the palace grounds the next day; I love shopping in grocery stores abroad, and the Billa has a special place in my heart because that's where we'd shop when I lived in Salzburg during my study abroad. We got some stuff for sandwiches and snacks and went back out for more sight-seeing.

Heading back out again, we stopped by the Haus der Musik, a museum of musical history and sound, including famous Viennese composers, the Vienna Philharmonic, the opera, and even the way humans hear sound. The museum is interactive and super interesting; I enjoyed it more than I expected, and we spent more time there than I thought we would. I definitely recommend it, especially to music lovers.

Also, this visit informed me about something I am very embarrassed not to have known about previously, which is the annual New Year's concert by the Vienna Philharmonic. We bought a CD of the 2017 concert and plan to watch on PBS in the future! (Still so embarrassed.)

For dinner, we walked over to the other restaurant claiming to be the oldest restaurant in Vienna, Gösser Bierklinik, dating from 1683. (Maybe this is the oldest one still under original ownership, whereas Griechenbeisl is the oldest restaurant site, although it has undergone changes in ownership? Who knows.)

We had a lovely meat-centric meal and got to try some of their beers; the Stiftsbräu Dark and Zwickel were particularly good. The room we were in reminded me of the classic German beer hall, which felt right for drinking lagers and eating meat.

For our last stop of the day, we visited Lichtenthaler Bräu, one of the best rated craft beer breweries in Vienna. It was a little out of the way, but boy was it worth it. They had beers we hadn't seen on a menu since leaving the US, like a dark IPA, a sour, and more. We had beers in the porch area and enjoyed hanging with the locals. It seemed like kind of a university area.

Well, that's a wrap on day 4!

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