After a whirlwind tour of France and the nearby countries, we left for Vienna, Austria. This charming city is home to many grand palaces, classical composers, and also delicious food!
Most of Vienna’s famous structures are located within the Ring, which makes it easy to navigate around. Vienna’s Opera House is gorgeous from the outside and must have also been from the inside but unfortunately, we couldn’t enter unless we bought a ticket to an evening performance.
The weather was warm (80 degrees!), and everywhere we went, there were people relaxing in parks or sunbathing on the grass. I’ve noticed this trend here in Europe. Since warm, sunny days don’t come by very often, everybody strips down to bikinis & tank tops or shirtless for the guys and runs out to soak up as much sunlight as possible. I guess we’re pretty spoiled in Texas…
Many powerful people including the Habsburg Dynasty lived here in the Hofburg Palace. I remembered very little about the Austro-Hungarian empire from world history in high school so visiting the palaces was a nice refresher. Also, my dad and I had both loved watching the Sissi film trilogyabout the Empress Elisabeth of Austria so naturally, we went to the Sisi Museum nearby to learn more about this iconic empress.
The Hofburg Palace was the official winter residence while Schönbrunn Palace located farther out of Vienna was the summer residence. While the grandeur of Schönbrunn could not compare to that of Versailles, it was still equally amazing with a beautiful garden and a breathtaking view.
Huffing and puffing while carrying our cameras and tourist gear, we climbed all the way to the top of the hill in the background to be greeted with this spectacular view of the city. Totally worth it!
Stephansplatz, named after the cathedral Stephandom, is one of Vienna’s many lively city squares.
Having played piano for so many years, I had to visit the house where child prodigy composer Mozart lived with his family for several years. It’s now become Mozarthaus Vienna, a public museum complete with the historical apartment, cafe, and concert hall.
The city of Vienna must really adore their classical composers. There were quite a few Mozart-themed chocolates in the souvenir shops, and apparently Mozart rubber duckies too!
Even though twenty years had passed, my dad still fondly remembered doner kebab and was eager to try it again. For this Turkish dish, the meat is cooked on a vertically rotating spit and shaved off with an electric knife. These delicious kebab sandwiches were only 2 euros a piece!
Vienna has definitely been one of my favorite places so far. I’d love to visit this beautiful city again someday!
Random Observations of the Day:
- After riding the Paris Métro, I was eager to compare the experience with that of Vienna’s public transportation system. We rode the Vienna metro to and from the airport as well as to the summer palace. It was so much cleaner and definitely less “aromatic” than in Paris! Whereas the Paris Métro was completely underground, there were some metro lines in Vienna that were above ground. I loved being able to see Austria’s beautiful landscape as we passed by in the metro.
- As expected, Europeans are obsessed with soccer and especially the European Championship going on right now. It was interesting to see a group of well-dressed people drinking beer at an informal outdoor bar, intently watching the soccer game on TV before their classical concert began.