It has now been over a year since I was last on a plane to go abroad and I miss it (I’m very lucky to have been able to travel so much, I know). I love everything there is about going abroad: from the planning, to moment you leave your house, to pottering around the airport, never mind when you actually arrive somewhere new and exciting! Covid-19 has given me the opportunity to reflect on some of my favourite trips and one that keeps coming up in my mind is my trip to Vienna with my friend Isobel.
Vienna hadn’t been on my list of places to go; we went because there were cheap flights available. Maybe it was because it felt so spontaneous or maybe it was because I didn’t know much about Vienna before we booked it, but I was blown away by how much I liked it!
Vienna is compact and full of life. Head up the tower of St Stephen’s Cathedral as soon as you arrive for lovely views out over the city (who doesn’t love to look out over rooftops). I also adored the cute little traffic light systems which show LGBT couples holding hands with little hearts above them.
The sun shone the whole weekend and made the place feel so warm and special. Vienna has been voted ‘the most liveable city in the world’ at least ten times and I’m not surprised: it’s lovely.
I had christened it The Cake Tour before we even set off: one thing I did thoroughly research was where we should eat cake. I had big plans to savour such delights as sache torte, strudel, mousses (in all the flavours you can think of), and all other little cakes so light and beautifully decorated to look like works of art on a plate. A cake tour is exactly what it turned out to be. One of our first stops was Hotel Sacher for their famous chocolate cake which was so decadent, so delicious and so rich and chocolatey. You might think you don’t want to queue to get a table here but trust me, you do. I regret not eating more cake while we were there – if I go again, I will have cake for every meal and have no regrets about it. Why not, it’s Vienna and there are so many lovely places out on the cobbles for your breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, and then at least three more cake stops throughout the afternoon.
There are cheeky Mozart references everywhere (I suppose there would be given that he was Austrian and lived in Vienna for part of his life). We visited the Mozarthaus, the museum based in what was his apartment, and of course, we went to one of the daily concerts the city puts on. When in Vienna… It is a city of music. We also visited the Opera House, which was as beautiful and ornate as you would expect. We took a tour of the building that allowed us to go backstage – I’ve never been backstage at a theatre before and I was surprised by how big it was! The tour was very fun and I highly recommend it.
We also got tickets for the hop-on-hop-off bus which I love to do if I’m short on time in a city and want to see as much as possible (touristy, I know). We went out of the city to Schonbrunn Palace, which we didn’t visit, but we got off and had a little walk around some of the seriously cute little streets and stopped to sit in the sun and have a drink. Everything seemed so bright and glorious in the sunshine. We wanted to stop at the Schlumberger Sparkling Wine Cellar but it was closed! But, as I always think, it’s good to have some things left on your to-do list for when you come back another time.
As part of the bus ticket, we were able to take a river cruise on the Danube. The boat might not have been the most glamorous, but I liked seeing Vienna from the water – so much street art!
I think I’m also thinking about Vienna so much because I’m thinking about Isobel. It’s been over a year seen we have seen each other in person, stuck at opposite ends of the country to one another. It’s one of those clichéd things to say, but I’m sure that when we do get to meet up again it will be as though we only saw each other last week. I miss you, Iz!
We were meant to go to Tallinn last year but the trip was cancelled, which was a shame, but at least that means more time to plan! Anyone have any Tallinn recommendations for me? Please put them in the comments and also let me know if you have been to Vienna and how much cake you ate while you were there!