Vienna, the capital of Austria, the home to the legendary Morzat and Beethoven. You can feel it in the air, the music, the vibe. Cobbled pathways interlinked with the paved ones, horse-drawn carriages that offer a ride around the city with the old world charm. The city is dotted with beautiful churches, and old architectural buildings well maintained add to the culturally rich heritage. I felt I was on the set of “Sound of Music”, though that was actually shot in Salzburg, which is only about 3 hours away from Vienna. Something I missed doing on this trip.
Our hotel, Steigenberger was right in the heart of the city which made everything so convenient and within walking distance. For us 8 girls it was one of the safest cities we have been to. Be it night or day, we were really comfortable strolling around discovering things by ourselves, especially since language was a major hurdle here.
The best part was the start of every morning at the Café Central, the oldest café in the city (almost 150yrs old) with the old world charm and etiquette. There would often be a huge queue each morning waiting to get in but since we were literally around the corner, we would stroll in for our breakfast. They had the most delightful oven fresh butter croissants (my indulgence on every holiday) which we would devour before our order of eggs, pastries and other savory delights.
The city center has Vienna’s most famous shopping street called Graben. Just minutes away from the Hofburg Palace, which is also the residence of the Austrian President. Graben is a lively road lined with shops on either side, beginning with the high-end Channel & Louis Vuitton to the local designers with intermittent restaurants and cafes. There is always a musical performance going on in the center, so we didn’t miss the Opera as much.
As we strolled down this street, we were tempted by the exotic desserts offered by every café. Practically all the tables had a huge gourmet dessert bowl in front of them. I had to try this. So though the rest were diet conscious and decided their calories were for the wine, I didn’t let the opportunity pass me by.
The St. Stephen’s church was at the end of the shopping street. It was indeed an awe-inspiring structure. The inside was even more interesting with over a 1000 stones hanging just over the aisle called the sky of stones, by the architect, Peter Baldinger. After lighting a candle for world peace and ever-lasting friendship, we stood there in silence, lost in the serenity of the place. Vienna is a treat for art and museum lovers, from the Hofburg, the Albertina to the Morzat museum, though we missed seeing them as we only had 2 days. The Schonbrunn Palace is a massively grand structure with its extensive well-manicured gardens is a must-see for its baroque architecture and sheer grandeur.
There was so much more to do and see and I wasn’t really ready to say bye to this lovely city when it was time to leave. I would have to come here and enjoy its beauty with a dollop of romance next time.