Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eats and Treats: Vienna

I was so excited to see Vienna. This Austrian city known for it's culture, art and music had been on my travel list for a while. I loved Vienna, but I have to admit, we were exhausted by the time we got there. Vienna is BIG and we were overwhelmed thinking about conquering it. We had been playing tourist for a while and we were loosing our pep!

We arrived at Hostel Ruthensteiner in the afternoon. We had taken some Dramamine because the train ride was a little wild through the Alps. Our fatigue combined with the prone to make you drowsy Dramamine led to an unexpected nap that lasted until 10PM. Oooops. We lost our afternoon and evening. We were starved when we woke up so we found a restaurant close to our hostel called Mozart Stube. I ordered the well known Austrian dish Wiener Schnitzel von Schwein (fried pork). It was a plate of fried goodness. Kara enjoyed her dinner after her 2nd nap at the table. :) Then we went home and went to bed. We were obviously deliriously tired.

Thank goodness the next day we were rested and ready to hit the ground running. We had 2 days to see all the highlights of Vienna! We started off with breakfast at our hostel. The rolls were soft and delicious and I was thrilled they had little Nutella packages.

We saw a Starbucks on our way to the St. Stephens cathedral. I think because we are both from the NW, we couldn't pass it up. I bought another cute mug (for my Sister-in-Law this time!) and a sparkle cake pop. It was a nice treat.

About lunch time I started keeping my eye out for street vendors selling K√§sekrainer (sausage filled with melted cheese). I found one pretty quickly, they were everywhere! 

After a long day of seeing many sights, we had dinner at a cafe near our hostel called Cafe Westend. I started off with a Holler soda (Elderflower flavor). WOW. I loooooved this soda. It tasted like some of the natural soda's I've tried in the states like Dry or Hot Lips (they are both based in Portland, Oregon). I ordered Spatzle noodles with cheese for dinner and Sachertorte for dessert. The noodles were nice and soft and the cheese was very creamy. I will be requesting that cooking husband learn how to make this dish. :) The Sachertorte is a famous Viennese culinary specialty. It's a double layer dense chocolate sponge cake. Like the Dobos Torte in Budapest, the flavor was amazing, but the cake was a little dry.

We had breakfast again at the hostel and headed out to the Belvedere Palace. I was giddy about going to this particular palace because one of my favorite paintings is housed there. It's called "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt. Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter. If you've never seen it, please click here. It's beautiful isn't it? I can't describe how it felt to see it in person. It was so grand and vibrant and colorful. They also had paintings by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh and many more. Being a lover of all things art, I was in heaven.

We had lunch at one of the cafes in the palace. I ordered a chai and beef soup with a semolina dumpling. The chai was super sweet, just how I like it. The milk and foam took up most of the glass and the chai was at the very bottom. I stirred all the liquid loveliness together and enjoyed every sip. The soup was excellent. The beef broth was very rich and the dumpling was fantastic. I had never heard of semolina dumplings. I found a recipe for the soup and  I'll be asking cooking husband to make this too!

After the palace we went to Prater park. It's a well known park that has gardens, restaurants and a 200 year old amusement park. It just so happened that Austria was playing Belgium in the European Soccer Championship. Needless to say, people were wild and crazy with excitement. For dinner we decided to go to the Donauturm. It was our last dinner together on the trip - so we wanted it to be memorable. Memorable it was! The Donauturm is Vienna's version of the Space Needle in Seattle. The view was gorgeous, the food was marvelous and the conversation went on for hours. I mean hours. We kind of forgot we had to fly out the next morning and we hadn't even packed yet. I ordered the toasted sandwich with medallions of pork and Viennese potato soup with mushrooms and smoked bacon. I ended with hot chocolate. The oh so good European hot chocolate.

We took the metro back to our hostel. We found out Austria lost. Everyone on the metro was depressed, so we figured it out pretty quickly. We packed into the wee hours and slept a few hours. Morning came and I flew back to Georgia and Kara continued on to Turkey. What can I say? Kara and I had an extraordinary and outstanding trip through Eastern Europe. I won't ever forget it. We made sure Eastern Europe wouldn't forget us either. We signed the Lennon Wall in Prague - right in the middle of the word imagine. We wrote "I love Nelson" and "I love Phily" and "The Kara and Larisa European Adventure 2011."

I have the overseas travel bug again after taking this trip. I wonder where I will go next? I have always wanted to go to Larisa, Greece. I hear it's beautiful and I love Mediterranean cuisine. Hmmm....Greece anyone?


  1. Oh Larisa your photos make me hungry! The thing I remember best from my time in Vienna was having a coffee and piece of sachertorte at Hotel Sacher itself... heaven. I'll try to dig up a photo. And point your hubby to here: for spaetzle... her recipes are very reliable :)

  2. Hi Katie! I would love to see that photo. :) AND - that is the recipe I found!!! I am so excited to try it. Hearing you say she is reliable confirms it!!! ;)


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