Bryan came into Vienna with the flu, which could easily taint the memory of a city. While it did make for a slow and rough start, we ended up being able to find a lot of things to enjoy. We hope that someday we can go back and visit feeling 100%, but until then we will reminisce about the fun things we did, remember our awesome hotel that got us through the hard days, and be thankful that you can’t smoke in cafes in California. (flu + smoke = unhappy Sicilian American guy)
Museums and Sights
The Upper Belvedere palace was the perfect location to the view the splendor of the Jubilee Exhibition: 150 Years of Gustav Klimt. The show presented a look into Klimt’s personal family history, his development as an artist, and some of the most moving work from his Golden Phase. His work really is even more captivating in person. We also loved the Belvedere gardens that provided relaxation and a beautiful view of the skyline of Vienna.
Learn more about the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
The 21er Haus is a fantastic modernist building that focuses on Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. We enjoyed their collection well as their exhibition BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability. This special exhibition examines stress, depression, and burn out that is connected to our current inability in society to differentiate between work and leisure. The videos, installations and sculptures reminded us of our own struggle and desire to create a work/life balance.
Learn more about the exhibit BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability.
The Museum for Applied Arts is a dream for any designer. They house textiles, metal works, graphic arts, glass, ceramics, furniture and cutting edge special exhibitions. We spent the majority of our time exploring three fantastic special exhibits. The largest show, MADE 4 YOU, looked at design from a social, ecological, and cultural perspective. It focused on sustainable and successful design for the future, Design for Change. One of the coolest things they had on exhibit was early Apple Computer prototypes from legendary German Californian product designer, Hartmut Esslinger.
The Committee of Sleep was an intriguing installation from taliaYsebastian that explored innovative uses of freely available energy sources. THINGS. plain & simple traced the simplicity of design found in European and Asian art history. This is the kind of museum we could spend an entire day in, from opening until closing.
Learn more about the exhibit MADE 4 YOU.
Learn more about the exhibit The Committee of Sleep.
Learn more about the artists taliaYsebastian.
Our last day in Vienna we went to Schönbrunn Palace and spent our time exploring the gardens, climbing up to the Gloriette and touring the beautiful summer palace. While we still don’t understand the obsession with Empress Sisi, it provided an interesting look into the Habsburgs and was a wonderful place to enjoy a pretty day.
Food and Drink
We found this restaurant at the 21er Haus and enjoyed some tasty Pho and a vietnamese salad in the beautiful sunshine outside. It was also a wonderful surprise to find the delicious Austrian Trumer Pils on the menu (which also happens to be brewed in Berkeley). We enjoyed celebrating the Austrian connection to our home in the East Bay.
This meal of modern Viennese cuisine was a fantastic way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. The food was delicious and the location was beautiful. We voted Bryan’s plate of venison the most stunning dish of the trip…perfection.
We went to the Naschmarkt one evening to get dinner and found ourselves overwhelmed with the variety of options. In the end we decided we were in desperate need of some falafel sandwhiches and fries (we ate a lot of falafel on this trip) and enjoyed a flavorful dish from a fun and fiesty spot. This energetic market area would be a great place to go back to multiple times.
We wish we could only say wonderful things about this place because it was so promising. We loved the vibe, the crowd, the decorations, the drinks, but there are two issues that kept it from being good. The biggest problem is that they totally lost our ticket and we waited over an hour for our food. The second problem was that our meals were not what we envisioned or really wanted when ordering (we were trying to order healthy...a bad idea on a trip). Double disappointment. All the other food looked spectacular and our waiter apologized with free drinks. We will hope that we just got unlucky.
After a cold rainy day, we were a bit grumpy and in need of food that would comfort our souls. So of course we wanted pizza. Good pizza. Awesome pizza made by Italians. Pizza Mari. They make pizza the way it should be made, create some delicious panna cotta and serve perfect espresso. Italy we love you and so does Vienna.Oh and the best thing was they did not allow smoking inside the restaurant. Perhaps the rest of Vienna can take note: Vietato fumare!
Let’s get this out there, we cannot think of a way to say this nicely, we do not get the Viennese coffeehouse and the reputation that it is something people need to experience. Maybe we picked the wrong places, maybe we picked the wrong drinks, maybe we picked the wrong desserts, but everything was just....okay. We don’ t mean to offend, and we do like that you can hang out for hours reading every possible German language paper that exists, but for a place that is supposed to have one of the oldest coffee cultures in the western world, we felt like it should knock our socks off. Socks are still completely on. But we will try to focus on the positives.
We really did enjoy the apple strudel here, warm apples and flaky crust, it was good. Bryan especially is a fan of all apple desserts, don’t get him started on his love for the fritter, and it passed his apple standards.
Everyone has their opinion on which sachertorte is the best and battles have been waged over the title “The Original Sachertorte”. We think it is just okay. The frosting was the best part, but even that was just so-so. The display case was really pretty (remember we are focusing on positives).
Landtmann’s had a great pastry stuffed with nut filling called a nussbeugerl. Stephanie thinks it is the best thing we got at a traditional Viennese cafe, probably because it wasn’t too sweet and it made the coffee more enjoyable. The location was a great place to stop when at Schönbrunn Palace.
This gorgeously designed hotel really saved us when Bryan was sick. The staff was very helpful, the restaurant/cafe was awesome, our room was super cool and the location next to the Belvedere and public transport was perfect. When we didn’t leave the area for a couple of days we really enjoyed the locally made pastries, their turkish and traditional coffee, the main courses and Stephanie’s personal favorite sturm. Sturm is autumnal semi-fermented grape juice from the first grape harvest of the season, and it is the drink by which she now judges all other drinks.