Monday, November 12, 2012


On Wednesday I took the train from Lucerne, Switzerland to Vienna, Austria.  It was a long trip (about 9.5 hours including a stop in Zurich) but absolutely stunning.  The train twisted and turned through the Alps and the Austrian country-side.  We passed huge snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, ancient farm houses, and quaint villages.  I arrived in Vienna after the sun had set {it sets at 4:30PM!!} and took a taxi to my hotel. Although my hotel is very nice and in a very safe and central neighborhood, I am unfortunately not too pleased.  It is on a pedestrian street that is about a mile long and is the most touristy area I have seen EVER in Europe.  Within 200 meters of my hotel is a McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, H&M, Forever 21, and about 20 tacky souvenir shops {photo of location at the bottom of this post}.  Definitely not the authentic, imperial Vienna I was going for!  But on the plus side it is extremely close to all historical buildings and the fact that it is so touristy means there are always people out and about, so I feel very safe walking home at night.  I guess that's what happens when you plan a four-country jaunt to Europe in less than a month!

I woke up yesterday morning and began the day by visiting the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral.  I had the pleasure of wandering in during Sunday Mass, which I stopped to listen to for a bit {it was amazing}.  From there I continued to walk and make a loop around Central Vienna.  I passed a bunch of gorgeous, historical buildings and visited a park where they were setting up the most amazing Christmas Market I had ever seen!  It was filled with adorable little wooden shops covered in greenery, Christmas lights, and in the center they were installing a MASSIVE fur tree.  Sadly, it isn't opening until Saturday which means I won't be able to check it out, but I'm hoping to see one in Paris before I leave to go back to the US!

Next I journeyed to the Hofburg Imperial Palace.  It reminded me a bit of Versailles, but was literally right in the middle of the city of Vienna versus being out in the country-side.  It was gorgeous and massive!  I toured the royal apartments, visited the crown jewels, an exhibit about the tragic Empress Elisabeth {which was simply fascinating}, and had a lovely lunch in their cafe of tomato soup plus a slice of the famous Viennese specialty Apple Strudel! 

At night I dined on a delicious dinner of roasted beet salad, then for dessert stopped by Cafe Sacher for their speciality -- the Sacher Torte.  I also should mention my absolutely amazing dinner my first night in Vienna at Tian, an upscale vegetarian restaurant.  I had an "Exotic Cesar Salad" with goat cheese, citrus fruits, and an avocado croque monsieur and handmade tomato/goat cheese ravioli with turnip cabbage and Austrian Prosecco.  Plus, compared to Paris and especially Switzerland, Vienna is much less expensive {which is always a nice change}.  Today I will be visiting the Schoenbrunn Palace and seeing a classical concert at the famous Vienna State Opera House!


  1. I think I want that crown for christmas. Or about 2 dozen of the strudels. Love the photos, the dialogue and mostly hearing how happy you are.

    Love you

    1. Danke Dad! Getting you that crown could be a bit difficult as it's from the 9th century and probably booby-trapped...but I think I can try to learn how to bake you some studel by Christmas!

  2. Vienna looks simply gorgeous. you are making me really hungry with all this great foodie shots. Glad you are enjoying every minute. Much love...

  3. wow so gorgeous! you took some really great shots! I love Vienna!

    love from San Francisco,