Vienna, Oh Vienna! Where do I begin? This lovely city was our second port on our river cruise with Amawaterways. The cruise line planned a full day for us with multiple excursion options. The day was divided into three excursion times: morning, afternoon, and night with mealtimes at the ship.
Our day started with a walking city tour that included the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburg Emperors, the Opera House, Spanish Riding School and Vienna’s historic city center. The tour guide gave us insights on the Habsburg Empire. This was also where Ran and I got separated and a lot of bad things went through our mind (ie: Taken with Liam Neeson). The tour guide stopped at the city center in front of a beautiful water fountain. Right across from it was a Starbucks branch and I was debating whether or not I should get the city mugs at the time or later on. I decided on buying it later and quickly tapped Ran on the shoulder and joined the group. We reached the end of the block when I realized Ran was not with the group. I panicked. But I could not leave the group because I did not want to get lost. This was the moment where I was grateful we had T-mobile coverage. Ran called me and informed me that he was still standing at the Starbucks and that the group left. I told him I was with the tour group and gave him directions. When we finally reunited, I could not hold back my laughter, albeit a nervous one. I’ve never seen him looking like a lost child.
The first Christmas Market we visited was the Rathausplatz. The Rathaus is Vienna’s City Hall. I have not seen a city hall as beautiful as this one! And I am just looking from the outside.
We wanted to go all the way. So, all of our excursion options were the Christmas Markets. We did not attend the music concert at night to maximize our time at the markets. We went to three different ones: The Schonbrunn Palace, The Maria-Theresien-Platz and The Art Advent at Karlsplatz. At night, we came back one more time at the Rathaus for a nighttime experience.
While killing time at The Schonnbrunn Palace Christmas Market, we decided to check out Cafe Restaurant Residenz. We tried the most popular item on their menu: Apple Strudel with warm Vanilla Sauce. My heart wanted to sing “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of Music.
We also learned that Sacher Torte originated in Austria. It was concocted by Franz Sacher for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in the 1800’s and was passed onto his son. It is made of light chocolate cake with apricot jam filling and coated with chocolate icing. We wanted to try it at the Hotel Sacher itself. But did not have time for that. We tried one from the Rathaus Christmas Market instead. You can order it online though.
We eventually found a Starbucks by the Rathaus before coming back to the ship. Tired as ever. But satisfied because Vienna was wonderful and beautiful!
Don’t miss our day in lovely Budapest!