Since my Mom’s visiting me from Canada, I decided to take a couple of days off work to hang out with her. But, considering how sacredly I treat my days off work, I couldn’t just spend them hanging out around London (no disrespect to London). If the point was just to spend quality time with Mamma Gill, why not do it in different city?
Vienna has been sitting on my bucket list for a while. Given everything I’d heard about it, it seemed like my the perfect city-escape for a super long weekend.
After spending four days in the Austrian capital, here’s my verdict: Vienna is a great city to go with your Mom. And I mean that in a good way. It’s beautiful for starters, and completely unapologetic about it. The physical beautiful of Vienna’s buildings is borderline pompous. The imperial architecture oozes elegance, class, and a timeless beauty. I’ve never walked past so many buildings with picturesque facades in one day.
When Mum and I entered street level from the metro station at Stephensplatz, and were greeted by the brilliant Stephensdom, we know right away that we were going to have a good time in this city.We took our sweet time over the next three days exploring the inner city, roaming around all the important landmarks from the domineeringly beautiful Hofburg Palace complex to the gothic and grandiose Rathaus (pictured bel0w). It was also nice to have a personal photographer on this trip – thanks Mum!
Strolling up and down Graber and Kohlmarkt became a daily favourite, especially because we could nip into my favourite store in the city, Demel (and we did. Multiple times). This famous chocolate and pastry shop enjoyed aristocratic love during the Habsburg Empire’s heyday and now sees hoards and hoards of chocolate lovers and tourists. Self included. MuseumsQuartier, Austrian Parliament, Staatsoper and the Musikverein are some more must-visit spots. We also saw a classical music concert by composer Dmitrij Kitajenko at the Musikverein one evening, and the next day – which happened to be Valentine’s Day – we saw Josephslegende ballet at the State Opera. The latter is one of the most dazzling and ostentatious buildings I’ve ever walked into.
We opted for a change of pace by visiting Naschmarkt one morning. On Saturdays, it hosts a farmers market in addition to its impressive line up of restaurants and bars. We randomly picked Neni for lunch – best fluke of the trip. Definitely visit this Lebanese-inspired eatery if you are in town.
As a fan of fermented grapes, I also wanted to try some Austrian wines. Upon my friend Melissa’s recommendation, we went to Weinfach, a cozy wine bar exclusively serving Austrian wine. The very enthusiastic and knowledgable Peter shared information about the local wines we were tasting. Another must-visit spot if you are in Vienna and don’t get a chance to make it to the nearby vineyards. However, my favourite thing about Vienna wasn’t a place or landmark – it was this unexplainable aristocratic vibe that the city so effortlessly exudes. That is best exemplified in the cozy Viennese coffee houses. A cup of melange in a sophisticated setting is able to transport you back to a romantic era that I’ve only ever read about. In fact, my next blog post is going to be dedicated to all the coffee and cakes I had in Vienna – watch this space!