Getting to know Vienna
I love Vienna. There are very few cities in the world that I feel a complete and utter connection to as soon as I walk into them. Vienna makes the short list. It’s easy to get around, delicious to eat in, and they have an Octoberfest like Germany which gives me an excuse to where lederhosen and see Tawny in a dirndl.
We recently stayed just on the edge of the main city in our GowithOh apartment. It was by far the most incredible apartment we stayed in so far. Not only was it super posh (and had vaulted ceilings) but it was literally 15 feet away from the #1 tram stop.
I’ll be honest. Most of what I knew about Vienna before going there, I learned from The Illusionist. After Vienna though I not only took away a swath of knowledge vaster than the Austrian Empire at it’s height, but I ate more schnitzel and pork-knuckle than a man could ever wish for. For me, these were the top 5 of Vienna:
The food in Vienna blew my mind. What you’re looking at above is a fried pork-knuckle from the legendary Schweizerhaus, in the Prater. While I admit I was skeptical at the start, as soon as I tasted my first bite I never looked back. It’s served with ground mustard and horseradish. Interestingly enough, this was my first time having horseradish as a grated condiment. Normally I have it has a paste. Grated seems way better.
Pork-knuckle was only the beginning of our culinary journey however. We had plenty of bratwurst and schnitzle. For those of you not familiar with schnitzel, it’s a thinly sliced piece of pork or veal that’s been lightly fried and is served with a squeeze of lemon. It is also to die for. Next, grab a beer, a sachertorte, a strudel, and a nap. Vienna truly left us satisfied.
#2 Easy public transportation
The best way to get around Vienna is to either take the Metro or a tram. At any metro station or tobacconists you can buy a pass. You can buy them on the tram but it will be at an increased rate. The passes are nice because you stamp the end at any validation machine before you get on the metro or onboard the tram and then it’s good for whatever period of time you purchased. They have 1 day passes up to 3 day passes, or just single direction passes too. Even weekly, or monthly passes can be purchased. The metro runs all through Vienna proper and the trams run above ground through the city streets. The #1 tram is easy because it circles the core of Vienna and gets you to all the major sights.
#3 The Inner City
Vienna used to be surrounded by a defensive wall. As the city grew, they knocked down that wall and left in its place a main road. Today the major sights and activities of Vienna are inside this circle. We personally loved Vienna because as you walk down the main roads and little alleys it transports you back in time. You can visit the Imperial butterfly house. Basically a greenhouse filled with butterflies (great in the winter.) Or you can visit the apartments of Mozart and Strauss, drink coffee on the terrace of a cafe visited by Martin Buber, or just browse for your next pair of lederhosen. We took a walking tour with Get Your Guide and got to see the intimate heart of Vienna. It was worth every moment.
#4 The Prater
The Prater is a large park with a central area devoted to vintage rides and attractions. The crown jewel of which is the giant ferris wheel built in 1897. While we didn’t ride a single ride there, it is an amazing place to take pictures. We spent an entire day taking pictures, sampling the incredible food, and exploring a part of Vienna so vintage it’s almost sepia toned. It’s certainly worth a visit if you’re looking for some unconventional fun. You might want to even try to find the micro nation of Kugelmugel. Yes, the micro nation of Kugelmugel.
#5 The Tap-water
Yes. The tap-water in Vienna is a frigging national treasure. Even better, you get a cup of it with every coffee you order. Wait, even better, the coffee tastes like the nectar of the gods. What makes the tap-water so special? It’s piped directly from the Alps. It’s cleaner and fresher than most bottled waters and has no fluoride. Every tap in Vienna issues a geyser of this crystal nectar. Based on that alone why wouldn’t you book your ticket today?
Did we miss something? Let us know.