The train from Bratislava to Vienna was about an hour and had plenty of empty seats. We spent a couple of days sightseeing around town. The castles and churches are lovely, but the food scene seems to be where it’s at. Specifically, the dessert scene. There are lots of notable cafes with big cases stocked with all manner of exquisitely plated sweet treats.
We visited “Café Central” a couple of times for both sweet and savory goodies. The Kaiserschmarrn (a light warm cake, pulled apart with raisins and candied nuts, covered with a plum reduction sauce) was amazing and realistically served four. Then there was the raspberry pie with poppy seed (and nothing but) crust with ice cream. The apple strudel at Café Central was the best we’ve had. And then there’s the candy…. The Manner store, famous for their hazelnut “neopolitaner” wafers (same recipe for >125 years) has enough swag for sale to make you lose all rational purchasing sense. We got a solid steel wafer dispenser, the “Schnitt-o-mat” that makes an amazing cha-ching sound like an antique cash register. Unfortunately, it weighs probably twenty pounds. The thing is indestructible though so there should be no problem getting it home safely. Of course there’s also chocolates galore at Heidl (Wiener nougat, anyone?). We also made a last minute stop at Demel, famous for their violet and rose candies. Those things are beautiful, unique, and delicious. We grabbed a few jars of those as well.
We visited a couple of castles but stuck to the more scenic stuff outside. At the Schonbrunn Palace, we also navigated the hedge maze, which was pretty fun. When we got to the most scenic spot on the palace hillside, a kid (referring to the palace) complained to his mom loudly “we wasted all our time in that old house!” At some point, that’s really all it is. We also visited a couple of museums in Vienna. The Sigmund Freud museum is located in the building where Dr. Freud worked and lived with his family until 1939, when he had to pay the Nazis a “tax” of about $250k to escape to London with his family and belongings. There really wasn’t a lot of content in that museum (his couch was absent!) but it was still a cool stop. We also visited the Natural History Museum. That place is massive, filled with all sorts of specimens. You could easily spend a number of hours there, but I’m not sure that would be time well spent in Vienna. We mostly wanted to check out the Venus of Willendorf, a 25,000 year-old tiny (and detailed) statue of a very, um, fecund, lady.
We all enjoyed Vienna quite a bit. It would really take some willpower to maintain a healthy diet in this city. Maybe it evens out with all the walking.