#LibkaGirlsTakeEurope | Part 4 – Visiting Vienna!
We arrived in Vienna mid-morning Wednesday via train from Budapest. The Friedensbrücke metro station landed us just a few blocks from our hotel.
After a light breakfast of bread and fruit on the train, we were ready for lunch. The hotel recommended Gasthaus Orlik, a small German-Austrian restaurant just down the block. Unsurprisingly, the food was delicious and the proprietor friendly. In fact, so much so that we returned again for dinner on Thursday! Our favorite dish here was a skillet of blood sausage, bacon, potatoes and eggs topped with thinly sliced onion rings. Kristen and Natalie had never heard of blood sausage. I remember my Great-Aunt Clara cooking it for my (Polish) Great-Uncle Walt. Delicious! Kristen also ordered the frankfurters and bun with horseradish and mustard, I enjoyed wiener schnitzel and potato salad. Afterward, the three of us indulged our sweet tooth with the pancakes (crepes) with chocolate sauce and whipped cream for dessert.
A Slight Detour …
Following lunch we took the metro to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and were about to enter when I realized I had lost my passport. Our return to the restaurant and hotel didn’t turn up anything so Kristen made an appointment for me first thing the next morning at the consulate to get a new one. (And this is definitely where the 4th of our ‘Travel Planning Tips‘ came in handy!)
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
In the meantime, back we went to St. Stephen’s. In fact, this was where Joseph Haydn sang as a choir boy and Mozart was married in 1782. Construction began on the Gothic structure early in the 14th century. In addition to touring the nave, guests may climb the 343 stairs to the top of the south tower, ride an elevator to the top of the north tower, and view the catacombs below the church.
Later that evening we viewed the Wiener Rathaus (city hall) and skaters in front of the Burgtheatre Wien. (Vienna is magical during the holidays – they transform their Rathausplatz into an architectural Advent Calendar during the Viennese Dream Christmas Market.)
Shortly after, we ate dinner at a nearby café where I enjoyed my own personal cheese tasting.
The Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra and Palace Ensemble perform throughout the year at the Schoenbrunn Orangery. After dinner we attended an ensemble concert where the music of Mozart and Strauss was featured. To our delight, two opera singers, a soprano and a baritone, and two ballet dancers performed to select pieces with the ensemble.
Hofburg Palace is home to the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner stallions. In existence for over 450 years and well known for their practice of classical (dressage) horsemanship, particularly the specialized “haute école” or “airs above the ground,” the horses and riders are a real treat to watch. Performances are a bit pricey and none were scheduled during the two days we were in Vienna so we opted to attend the morning exercise in the Winter Riding School, a beautiful baroque hall. You won’t see all the airs (movements) during a morning exercise, but it’s an excellent opportunity to see the horses and riders work and to learn more about them. You can also join an afternoon guided tour of the riding school and stables for a very reasonable fee. Since our time in Vienna was limited, we decided not to take the tour.
We chose Café Central for lunch and weren’t disappointed. I started my meal with cream of artichoke soup. garnished with a fresh, giant potato chip! That chef certainly knew the way to my heart!
And speaking of delicious cream soups, I was delighted to find this recipe for cream of cauliflower soup from “Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites” staff cookbook. Indeed, the rich flavor is perfect for reminding me of my time in Vienna’s Café Central. Feel free to fry up your own fresh, giant potato chip to garnish this flavor-layered soup!
CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER SOUP
- 2 Medium Onions Chopped
- 2 Medium Carrots Grated course
- 2 Celery Ribs Diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1/4 Cup Butter or Margarine (+ 6 TBL) Divided
- 1 Medium Head of Cauliflower Chopped
- 5 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1/4 Cup Parsley (Fresh of Dried) Minced
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tsp. Pepper Coarsely ground
- 1/2 Tsp. Basil Dried
- 1/2 Tsp. Tarragon
- 6 Tbl. All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Milk Or 1 cup milk + 1 cup cream
- Fresh Tarragon Optional
- In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in 1/4 cup butter or margarine until tender.
- Add the cauliflower, broth, parsley, salt, pepper, basil and tarragon. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt remaining butter or margarine. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk or cream. Bring to a slow boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.
- Add to cauliflower mixture. Cook 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
- Garnish with fresh tarragon.
After lunch I returned to the consulate to pick up my replacement passport while the girls headed to the Austrian National Library. Because they love books and reading, a stop here really made their day!
We arrived at Karlskirche, considered by many to be the most impressive baroque church in Vienna, just before the sun started setting. The approach to the church where I am standing is a beautiful water pool in the summer. Furthermore, the Panoramalift at Karlskirche transports you to the base of the church’s dome where you can view the Michael Rottmeyr frescoes up close. Additionally, if you climb an additional series of stairs you can draw even closer to the frescoes as well as view Vienna from the pinnacle of the dome. Though I am not a fan of heights, I certainly wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I was delighted to see that Karlskirche still had up their lighted Christmas trees and nativity scenes during our visit!
Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum
We spent the evening at Kunsthistorisches Museum (art). Kristen thought fellow Harry Potter fans would enjoy seeing a real bezoar (stomach stone from a goat or llama) so she took a photo of this one that was on display. It was the size of a large grapefruit!
A Fine Farewell To Vienna
Friday morning we relaxed with mokachinos at Coffee Pirates before heading for the train station. Coffee Pirates sources, roasts and grinds the coffee it serves and sells. Friendly baristas spoke excellent English. What a find!
Before we left, we grabbed sandwiches at the train station for lunch and soon found ourselves traveling cross country to Prague, Czech Republic. Hope you’ll join us there in our next #LibkaGirlsTakeEurope post!
*All travel photos in this post were used with permission from Lori Libka & Kristen Dang.
Missed a post in our fun travel series? Catch up with our 1st post featuring Lori’s travel tips. Or the Libka girl’s 1st stop, London, England, followed by a 3 day whirlwind of adventure in Budapest, Hungary!