Postcards from Vienna
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
Vienna is a white frosted layer cake. On the surface, a white marble melange of stately architecture, perfectly arching streets and circular plazas convey the old-world charm of a time capsule dedicated to the days of operatic splendor and white horse drawn carriages. But just beneath bubbles up the dark, hearty aromas of dark coffee, beer and sausage stands, of neon nightlife and sex stores.
We slept in pretty late after our long, bizarre trip from Prague. We took the train into town in the early afternoon and headed out on the tourist loop. First stop, the haunting high arches of St. Stephan's cathedral. Well, actually, our first stop was the sausage stand outside Stephanplatz, but then we went to the cathedral. One of the coolest things inside the cathedral is a winding staircase with saints carved into it in a way that makes them look like their reaching out of the woodwork.
Next we headed down a wide promenade, lined with gorgeous old buildings straight out of Amadeus. The street was gently curving in a large circle. It would have felt like walking through the early 1700's, had it not been for the annoying billboards that lined 2nd floors of all the buildings. There must be a law forbbidding adervertising above a certain story. Still, you could tell how absolutely beautiful the city must have been back when it was the capital of culture and music in Europe.
Before long, the circular street took us the Hofburg Palace, an curving columned building whose arched layout complimented both the road that led there and the circular plaza before it. In the twilghlight, the plaza was awash in a palette of white, pale blue and gold.
Everywhere there were horses, real ones toting tourists in their carriages, and lots of statues of horses. Budapest statues are big and burly and wear armor; Viennese statues wear pretty coats and three corner hats and ride white horses.
As night fell, the brightly lit towers of the town hall glittered in the distance. In old town Vienna, you almost don't need a map of sights -- you can always see the tops of the next pretty thing to see in the distance. On the way we saw the art musuem and natural history museum, and the parliament building, then the intricate white spires of the Votive Church. Unfortunately, there was construction going on there and a big billboard in front.
After a lot of walking around, we were ready for some coffee. Vienna is famous for its cafes, for sitting in smoky rooms over warm brews and debating philosophy, as well as for the coffee itself, and the tasty sweets that go with it. I bought a streudel in vanilla sauce that was heavenly with black coffee.
We found a cheap hotel as we didn't want to put our couchsurfer hosts out any longer. Close to the hotel was a restaurant boasting a 2 foot sausage of some sort. Unfortunately it was unavailable, but we did get an awesome meal of cheesy bacon wrapped sausages and big multicolored stuffed dumplings. Vienna may possibly be the tastiest city I've ever been to.