The next edition of the Extreme Empty Nesting travel blog is coming to you from lovely Vienna, Austria! After a very long day/night/day of travel, we checked into our hotel, Palais Coburg, and promptly collapsed. We thankfully got a much-needed night of sleep before venturing out on our first full day here.
We started our day with a short walking tour of Old Town, the magical center of this bustling city. Vienna was founded by early Celtic and Roman settlers, developed into a Medieval and Baroque city, and is known as the music center of Europe. We walked along the Ringstraße, stopping to admire the Vienna State Opera House before making our way to Hofburg Imperial Palace, one of Europe’s largest imperial palaces.
After walking along the perimeter of this vast complex, we saw the stable for the famous Lipizzaner Stallions.
We then proceeded down Kohlmarkt – one of the few pedestrian-only streets, lined with high-end retailers. We ended the tour at St. Stephen Cathedral with its iconic towers. Construction of this Roman Catholic Church began in the 13th century. As today was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – a holy holiday, mass was being conducted during our visit.
After a quick look at this vast and beautiful city from atop the church’s north tower, we returned to the streets and enjoyed our first Christmas market. We then began our walk back to our hotel, after a quick stop for some classic Vienna street food – a bratwurst!
On our way back to the hotel, we happened upon a very small artist’s shop filled with original etchings and watercolor paintings. Karen said it reminded her of a similar shop in Grevé, the small town in Tuscany from our recent trip to Italy. When the shop owner mentioned that her father was also an artist and owned a shop in Tuscany, it was too big a coincidence…and yet, it wasn’t! Karen pulled out her phone, showed the shop owner the pic and she confirmed this was her father! We now have pieces of art from her father and mother and from two different countries! What are the odds of this happening?
Our friends Nan & Jeff arrived today from Budapest, and are joining Karen, Bryan, Mark, and me for this Bavarian adventure. We met up for dinner at Zu Den Drei Hacken – a quaint little gastropub, where we had an incredible meal. The two table favorites were the Schnitzel and the Filet Stroganoff.
After dinner, we attended the most incredible Konzerte im Mozarthaus. This very intimate venue is the oldest concert hall in Vienna where Mozart once lived, worked, and played. The three piece trio consisting of a pianist, a violinist, and a cellist treated us to a spectacular evening of music by Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert. A must-do if you are in Vienna.
Until tomorrow, Guten Nacht!