Eeks! I’m back and it was amazing! I consumed my body weight in hot wine and street food, had daily breakfast cake and did everything I’ve been eyeing up on my Pinterest board the past 6 months; so I’m calling it a win!
I still can’t believe how much I managed to fit in while I was there. I also still can’t believe my husband got to present his PhD proof at the UN building for the IAEA, I’m so proud of him. It would be great if he could win another award and do this again so I could go back, preferably in the summer next time…
Starting at the beginning; there were lots of tears. I tucked Loki into bed, said goodbye to Edward and Oren and cried pretty much the entire car journey to Glasgow! A wake up call at 3:30am with the smell of fresh coffee and warming croissants kicked off our adventure.
Two flights later we landed in Vienna sans suitcase. Sigh… the joys of Sunday public transport meant we had to get a taxi to the hotel as none of the buses were running, with nothing to unpack we checked in and immediately set off to explore.
We quickly figured out the trains and what line we needed to be on etc to get back and wandered around downtown Vienna taking it all in. We managed to get through 3 Christmas markets, have our first gluhwein and bratwurst, see St. Stephen’s cathedral beautifully lit up and even purchase a cheeky gift or two.
Poor Mark had to be up early to get cleared by security and unfortunately had to do so looking extremely unprofessional and slightly homeless in the clothes he’d travelled in. Whilst he did that I headed into Vienna to buy clean clothes and toiletries. I got a good lay of the land and realised quickly how far “bitte” (please) and “danke” (thank you) get you in Austria. Oddly they appreciate the effort you make and treat you much nicer compared to some of the tourists I had the misfortune to cross paths with!
Thinking of very British observations it was amazing how rude fellow tourists can be on foreign lands. Expecting everyone to speak your language is preposterous and common courtesy goes out the window! I only knew a little German but I tried, I used it, I apologised in a very British fashion, but I was very polite and didn’t speak louder than necessary, which meant I got served with ease, ordered/paid for goods without a problem and sadly got doors slammed in my face as holding them open is something people just don’t do in Austria…Lesson learned!
I loved every second! It’s been too long since I’ve padded round a strange city exploring freely and learning about a different culture and dabbling with a foreign language!
One for the bucket list was leaping off the tram early to see The Hundertwasser village in the fading sunlight.
Straight lines are godless and immoral – Hundertwasser
Frankly these are words to live by! Mark was struck by the irregularity of it all and the sheer beauty of the entire street embracing one artist’s vision. It was lovely to see his reaction.
We managed to hunt down another Christmas market that evening take a twirl on the big wheel at Praterstern which overlooked the whole city. Afterwards we went to 1516 Brewing Company for dinner. It was also a micro brewery which meant I had an extremely happy husband that night!
Still no suitcase. Sake!
I wandered through the City and ended up on the outskirts headed towards Belvedere Palace. Fighting through hoards of Chinese tourists and school trips I got inside and into the Upper Belvedere museum and was lucky enough to see the Gustav Klimt exhibition.
The Kiss is known around the globe and was one of the earliest paintings I became familiar with at Primary School over 25 years ago. I couldn’t believe I got to stand 2 feet in front of it and just take it all in, truly beautiful work.
I walked through the gardens and grounds whilst waiting for Mark to come find me and we finished exploring the Palace and the Christmas market by the empty fountains together.
On the way back to the hotel we found the Green market which had the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen; I wanted to buy ALL the trees!
We stumbled into Cafe Neko; a cat cafe! What a time to be alive! We enjoyed a latte with Luca, who was the biggest cat I have ever seen, lording it up over the other patrons.
Mark had the morning free so we headed East to Stadtpark and strolled through Vienna’s first public park and found all the various statues and monuments to the city’s famous musicians and writers. The weather had been kind to us and was chilly but dry so we made the most of staying outdoors as long as we could.
Another cheeky coffee and an authentic Austrian Sachertorte before Mark headed into work finished the morning off nicely. I explored Kaisermuehlen and the Vienna International Centre.
Our suitcase randomly appeared after dinner late in the evening which was eagerly retrieved from the hotel reception. Clean clothes and contact lenses at last!!!
An early start and an enormous breakfast to get through the day. Mark and I went separate ways again and met up at Schonbrunn Palace later on. Hilarity ensued when we walked off in the wrong direction as we mistook the rear of the palace for a run down council terrace!
Coach loads of Americans showed us the way to the grand entrance and the biggest Christmas market we’d seen so far. It was freezing so much gluhwein was consumed in a bid to stay warm. Giant pretzels as big as our faces filled our bellies as we picked up some more gifts for family and friends.
Racing against the fading light we speed walked around the enormous grounds and winter gardens and saw the palace from every angle we could before it got too dark and too cold.
We finished our holiday with a lovely dinner in a little restaurant called Beim Czaak which served the most delicious homemade fruit vodka I’ve ever tasted!
Champagne breakfast was our last meal together on our trip. Two flights and a run through Amsterdam airport making our connection by literally minutes got us back in Scotland on time, suitcase included.
Driving home in the dark was filled with excited talk of seeing the boys. When we arrived home Skye (the dog) near enough flooded our hallway with “pleased-to-see-us” pee and there was much cuddling had by all. It actually hurt to be apart from them that long and I’m no hurry to leave again anytime soon!
A huge and special thank you goes out to my Mum for looking after the boys and keeping them “alive” for the week. I’m so lucky to have someone I trust so much to watch them while I was away.
Now to engineer a trip back to Vienna in the summer!