Vienna is beige all over // Day 9

Vienna is a lot of beige - and I mean that in a nice way. The city feels distinctly like a European capital. When scooping out what to see, we felt like everything was actually pretty close together which is great since K didn't have nearly as much time to run around. After a relatively quick train ride from Salzburg, we had 6 hours to rack up some churches and miles before dinner. Although we had planned on going straight to bed with an episode of Friends... a little spontaneous city walk led us to the building above. I mean .... Vienna.... you are pretty.


Train to Vienna
European train travel puts American travel to shame. For a mere 25 euro, I got a 2.5 hour train ride across Austria in a faux-leather seat on a two level train. Each seat came with power and as much wifi as I wanted. In Boston, I have to look to make sure the seat is dry before I sit down. Let's work on this.

The ride was largely through a lot of farm / agricultural country. We took Westbahn which is apparently some saavy upstart charging 50% less than their competitor. Friendly tips for anyone else looking to get around Austria.
Around Vienna
I'm not sure why we assumed this but we just figured the train station would be a 10-15 minute walk to our hotel, Pension Neuer Markt... it was not. It was a cool 35 minutes that took us through some actual great parts of the city - mainly museums and parks. Coincidentally, we have landed in yet another city having a festival today. So many of the streets are shutdown and there is an excess of children with balloons.

Funny part? The hotel gave us a brand new map to use. K ripped off all the stuff she didn't care about so it looked like a torn pirate map... and then began to mark everything with "x" for buried treasure. We were probably starving but I couldn't stop laughing.
Before showing some pictures of what we did in 6 hours, here are some quick highlights:
- 5 churches
- 1 latte break
- 1 chocolate cake in bed
- 1 family dinner
- 1 quiet lunch because it had been too long since we had eaten and quiet was needed

Major Church Party + Gardens
I'm not sure why but we really love to visit as many churches as possible. They are all so different and it's so interesting to see how each has put its unique stamp on their identity. Did that make sense? I hope so.

St Stephen's Cathedral - There were so many people here. It was like Disney. But I think a Mass had just finished so they were accidentally letting people all the way in for free as opposed to paying for a tour... win! The detail was pretty impressive and literally everywhere you looked. 
Jesuit Church - This might have been my favorite for the city? From the outside, it is an unassuming yellow beige building on a quiet little street... then you walk inside and its overwhelming. I can't believe we almost didn't come to this one. Two specific points: (1) the marble columns were really atypical. You can kind of see in the picture below how some of them look like spiral spaghetti. (2) As we were walking out, the caretaker (?) was opening a door to the underneath of the church. It looked like a maze of little crypts. I'd love to learn more about that.
Peterskirche - By far the smallest of any church we've seen. It was a basilica and pretty much just one elaborate dome. Pictures don't really do it justice, although video might. As we were taking in the decor and paintings, there was someone singing classical music. Totally amazing.
Schottenkirche - Not much to say here since they literally have bars preventing you from getting closer. Can't really fault them for that - this city can be insane with tourists. If a church could be described as "feminine", this might be it. It had many more rose and white tones than the others we have seen.
Augustinerkirche - The last one... this is the royal family's church. I'm not sure how much time they spend here probably busy keeping the city beige. I'd almost call it a chapel since it isn't nearly as big as the other churches - except for the alter area being much more long and narrow. Maybe to keep the royals from mixing with us commoners. The air in here almost felt like a layer of chalk and etherial. You can't really capture that in photos but it was kind of magical.
Gardens & Royal Palace - This is really when our "run so hard" tourism lets us down... we are exhausted by the time you get to an interesting museum... so you don't go in. I'm sure these palaces are gorgeous but at 4pm, it is not high on my list. Maybe I'll make it back another day this week but if not, the outside of the buildings is very grand and beige - in a good way.
Ankeruhr (Anchor) Clock - We randomly walked past this on our way to all the churches and had to take a closer look. Initially you think "old non-functional building facade"... then you see it move! it was made in 1911 and each hour is a historical figure. At noon each day apparently they dance around? Maybe I'll get to see that happen some day this week. But this is much cooler than an Apple Watch.
Eating times
Unlike yesterday, we managed to eat at different restaurants almost. We did go back to the pastry cafe place twice... but hey, it felt perfectly indulgent to eat chocolate cake in bed. 

  • Leupold - lunch spot right in the middle of the city-ish. They had free wifi and decently weird pretzel roll things. I had the spaetzle (again) and K had the goulash (again). K accidentally stole the owners seat at the bar so we were off to a really great start.
  • Kurkonditorei Oberlaa - perfect cafe right around the corner from our hotel. We enjoyed some lattes while recharging our batteries ... and those in our phones too. The desserts looked so amazing so we splurged and came back later.
  • Gasthaus Reinthaler - just like in Salzburg, we had a hard time getting a place to take 5 people. I think I tricked them to take us honestly - and I don't feel bad about it. Mom said she thought it was the best schnitzel of the trip, Grampy liked the sausage... and K & I had some pancake soup. I'm getting to the point where I kind of want toast in general. 

Tomorrow? K is leaving for silly America and I'm hanging around for like 5-6 more days. Let's hope I handle it better than this day in Italy. I'm rejoining the bulk of the family adventures... and we'll see where that takes me. Hopefully, it comes with a pretzel.

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