I hadn’t expected to like Vienna as much as I did. Most of what I knew about the city I had learned from The Illusionist with Edward Norton. I’m sure Vienna is thrilled to have that as their flagship ambassador. Nevertheless, my interest about this city has been stoked slowly for many years. Our arrival felt more like a dream coming true than I ever expected.
I’m going to jump right in and say that the first thing that stood out to me about Vienna was the food.
This was my first foray into the bold new world of pork knuckle. It’s much more appetizing than the name. That delicious looking tender pork, smooth bodied treat in the lower left is a game changer. You cut off a piece, dip it in mustard, and then dip that into a pot of fresh ground horseradish. Life changed. I also thought that I knew about wiener-schnitzel before this trip. How wrong I was. Wiener-schnitzel, for those of you who were as curious as we were, is a thin slice of pork that is deep-fried and served with a lemon wedge. It’s no doubt the inspiration for half of Mozart’s work.
Another big highlight for me was the tap water. I know it sounds odd but Vienna has some of the best (if not the very best) tap water in the world. Due to a brilliant bit of social engineering, all the water in Vienna is piped directly from springs in the Alps. You quite literally get mountain spring water, unadulterated, when ever you turn on your sink.
An interesting side note is that all coffee in Vienna is served with a small glass of water. This is a tradition of hospitality that dates back to the dawn of coffee in city. It’s also a nice way to brag about their water a little more.
The highlights of Vienna for me were:
The food, obviously.
The Prater. Sure, it’s an old theme park, but that’s just what gives it so much charm. This is one of the last places in the world that you can ride a burlap sack down a wooden slide. If you really want a memorable experience that you can’t get anywhere else, then put on your vintage frame of mind and take your sweetheart to the Prater. Snuggle up as you ride through the haunted house and try to win her a prize at the archery stand. Way too legit to miss.
The history is still alive. It doesn’t take long to realize that Vienna came out on top in the shuffle of European cities. It managed to modernize while keeping its charm and character. If castles, hot springs, dirndls, and all the decadent food you can dream of is your thing then make Vienna a priority.
Anybody else been to Vienna recently? We’d love to hear about it. We missed out on the royal hot spring spa at the near by castle, but we won’t make that mistake next time.
We received a complimentary walking tour with Get Your Guide for an honest review and a shout out. Our opinion, as always, remains our own and unsullied.