Seeing Vienna in a Hurry
Vienna is one of the few European cities I’ve visited where I felt like 3 days wasn’t enough. Not that you can see everything in 3 days, but with London or Paris, for instance, you can see enough to get a feel for the city and have covered the highlights.
With Vienna, I felt like I wanted a full week! And my friend Shawna only had one full day. So we planned to cover some serious ground and get an early start. Unfortunately after a late night at the Vienna Film Ball and the Hotel Bristol’s great breakfast buffet, we didn’t make it out of the hotel until 10 AM.
We checked out the outside of the Opera House but didn’t have enough time to catch one of the tours so we walked along the old city wall taking in the sights until we came to the to the MuseumsQuartier. We bought the Treasures of the Habsburgs combo ticket for € 20 to the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Imperial Treasury and almost got talked into one of the nightly Mozart performances and a character in period dress.
I actually think the Mozart show would have been well worth it but after the day we had planned we would probably be too tired and wouldn’t fully appreciate it. The Kunsthistorisches was amazing! Well worth a visit for the building alone (complete review to come) which has an amazing staircase and marble walls.
We reluctantly tore ourselves away and walked past the Hofburg palace to the Treasury. I was interested in seeing some of the Habsburg jewels but wasn’t prepared for just how interesting it was. Not just crown jewels but other treasures as well. Definitely worth a visit.
We sauntered past the Spanish Riding School (which I would be visiting the next day) and attempted to go into the famous Demels for lunch, which at 1:30 PM was packed.
Food didn’t seem worth skipping any sights, so we continued onto the beautiful St. Stephen’s Cathedral and took part in the crypt tour, which I highly recommend!
When we emerged it was starting to sprinkle and the wind had picked up, but we didn’t have far to go to our next stop. We walked two blocks to the Mozarthaus.
The house itself was not very exciting. 4 bare stories with lots of information about Mozart and items from his time, but not much original. I’d say take a picture of the outside and skip the tour. We’d hoped to get food there, but the café was only vending machines so we pressed on!
It was a little after 3, so we took a cab (€8) to the Belvedere and bought tickets to both upper and lower museums. Upper Belvedere far surpassed my expectations. They had a Klimt exhibit and after seeing “The Kiss” in person for the first time I could finally truly appreciate his work. I also discovered some amazing new impressionist artists and new favorite picture.
AND we finally got food. This museum café was quite charming with table service. We went with the pumpkin soup (thumbs up) and I surprisingly had the best decaf coffee I’ve ever tasted in a restaurant.
With 40 minutes before closing time, we headed down to the Lower Belvedere, which was a little hard to navigate. To get to the main gallery you have to walk through gift shop (usually found at the exit). Lower Belvedere is architecturally interesting and had some modern art, but honestly it probably isn’t worth the extra cost or time.
Exiting the grounds we found ourselves only a 15 minute walk from the Hotel Bristol and picked up our luggage,wishing we were staying there for the whole trip! Instead, I had booked the Radisson Blu Style for the next two nights, taking advantage of the Club Carlson Business credit card two for one award night benefit).
The Radisson Blu Style is probably best known for being unknown. Few people seemed to have heard of it, only the other Radisson Blu which apparently went bankrupt. Our cab driver had never heard of the Style and insisted Herrengasse 12 was the Steinberger Hotel. I assumed it must have recently been taken over by Radisson so acquiesced, but when he dropped us off, it was decidedly the Steinberger. We couldn’t see a number, but the building across the street was #11, so I went into the lobby to ask. I was half worried my Radisson had also gone bankrupt and no one had notified us.
Turns out the Radisson was next door
We debated going to one of the many restaurants that had been recommended, but we were cold, wind-blown, and exhausted, so decided to lock in the happiness and spend the evening relaxing and reliving our fun adventures from that day.
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