Well this trip had a rather slow start to be honest. A six hour slow start in fact. The night before our scheduled departure we received a notification from EasyJet letting us know that there would be heavy snow at Luton Airport in the morning, so we should plan to arrive with extra time in case of possible airport craziness. After a very early start, we made it to the airport and were directed to board the plane in the hope that we would make it out of Luton before the snow fall became too heavy. Needless to say, we didn't make it and subsequently were stuck on the tarmac for six hours. Just a heads up - you don't get any free hand outs from a budget airline until you've been delayed by more than two and a half hours - I now know from personal experience. So, after our complimentary tiny tin of pringles and mars bars were well and truly finished we got the announcement that we would finally be taking off six hours after our scheduled departure time. After a relatively short flight time of 90 minutes we were eventually in Austria and more than ready to see what the city of Vienna had to offer.
After settling in to our hotel, we decided to head out and search for some late dinner. There wasn't much open to be honest as we were visiting in between Christmas and New year (typically a time for holidays for the locals). We stumbled across what looked like quite an authentic Austrian pub and after recognising a couple of words on the menu (schnitzel, goulash and bier) we decided to take our chances and head inside. We were seated by the owner and ordered 2 schnitzels and 2 large beers. Not long after ordering we heard a couple of loud bangs and realised that our schnitzels were being freshly prepared and cooked. Pretty impressive for a tiny pub off the beaten track. True to Austrian style the meals and beers were immense but we managed to finish everything off and stumbled back to our hotel more than satisfied.
Over the next couple of days we spent a lot of our time wandering the cobbled streets, admiring the classically baroque architecture and watching horse drawn carriages go by. We visited St Stephen's Cathedral with it's impressive tiled roof, the previous Royal Summer and Winter residences, admired numerous classic Austrian and international artworks (including The Kiss by Gustav Klimt), listened to classical violin music and enjoyed a different perspective of Vienna via the Wiener Prater. The incredible local food kept us going and I can promise you that there were many pit stops along the way! Afternoon tea of Sacher Torte and coffee at the infamous Sacher Hotel was a definite must do and didn't disappoint. I also loved the traditional food at the Christmas markets, especially with a mug of gluhwein (mulled wine).
On our last night in Vienna we decided to be really touristy and go on a horse drawn carriage ride. And as much as it seems like a cliche thing to do, I'm so happy we did it. As we rumbled down the cobbled streets we experienced the city from an entirely different view and I realised just how unique Vienna is. After all, where else in the world would the banging sound of schnitzel being prepared be just as at home as violin song wafting through a window?
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my photo journal below and I've included the main details of my trip underneath!
My Photo Journal
WHEN I WENT - December 2017
HOW I GOT THERE - Luton -> Vienna with EasyJet
WHERE I STAYED - Hotel Donauwalzer
HOW I GOT AROUND - Tram, bus, train
WHAT I SAW - Traditional Christmas markets, horse drawn carriages on cobbled streets, baroque architecture, hand made chocolates, St. Stephen's Cathedral, classic Austrian and international art works, Vienna Hofburg, Schonbrunn palace,The Palm House and Desert House, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wiener Prater, The Belvedere Museum
WHAT I ATE - Wiener schnitzel, open sandwiches. Sacher Torte, apfelstrudel, ham and cheese toast, waffles, gingerbread, apple and cinnamon crepes, fried potato chips, potato salad
WHERE I ATE - Sacher Hotel, Fabios, Trzesniewski, Cafe Korb, Cafe Sperl, Christmas markets
WHERE I SHOPPED - Swarovski, hand made chocolate shops, shopping arcades