Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 - Eastern Europe Day 11 (Vienna)

Today, we head to Belvedere palace in the morning, go to Figlmüller for lunch, and try to do a tour of parliament in the afternoon.

Belvedere.
Belvedere was easy to get to for us, just take Tram D to Schloss Belvedere heading in towards Hauptbahnhof. We actually got there at 9:30am even though it officially opens at 10:00am. Now, for us, we only went to wander the grounds since none of us are big into art. The grounds are free to wander and we lucked out since it was early, there weren't that many people there yet. Since it isn't very large (compared to some of the other palaces we have visited) we finished taking our pictures by 10:30am.

Belvedere.
Belvedere.
We stopped by the Open Air Market here and it is similar to the one in Munich but I felt that the shops here were more interesting. They had shops for fruit, shops for spices, restaurants, and others. It is under renovation when we went, but I enjoyed this market more than the one in Munich. It isn't very far from St. Stephen's Cathedral, maybe a 10 minute walk.

Naschmarkt.
Naschmarkt.
Naschmarkt.
Naschmarkt.
Figlmüller is where we went for lunch and it is actually a restaurant in an alleyway and boy, is it a busy spot. When we arrived, we were told it was by reservation only and Allison asked to put down a reservation tomorrow since they said it was fully booked, however, the staff noticed that someone was about to leave and told us to wait, so we lucked out. This restaurant is known for their VERY LARGE schnitzels which have been popular for over 100 years. The schnitzel is pounded down and made to look pretty large and it is actually larger than the plates that they are served on. We ordered three schnitzels and two salads. I thought that they schnitzel was pretty good but I think that their potato salad is the star dish that I tried. All in all, it cost us 65 €. By the time we paid, we realized that the 'fully booked' saying is really just to deter people from waiting, if you hang around, you will get in but since it is in an alleyway, they probably do it so that the alleyway is not full of people.

Schnitzel next to my phone (5.5 inch, roughly the size of iPhone 6+).
Schnitzels along with our side dishes (ordered too much food).
Vienna Opera House was next which was a tour that started at 2:00pm for us, there are various times although they are usually between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. The tour was 7,50 € and lasted for 15 minutes with a Q & A session at the end. After the tour, I felt that it wasn't worth it for me. It felt really rushed due to the high number of guests in the tour, so everything was, 'this is this room, this was it's purpose, now, onto the next room'. It was however, interesting to see how deep the stage goes since we arrived when they were setting up and you can see that it goes quite deep.

Vienna Opera House.
Vienna Opera House.
Next we wandered Hofburg, but we didn't go inside the building. Again, art that we weren't fans of.

Traveling accordion playing animals!
Vienna (I forget what this building is).
We made it to parliament in time for the 4:00pm tour. It was 5 € for an hour long tour. After this tour, I knew that I liked this tour more. You walk through most of the parliament building and the guided tour is in both German and English. You get an audio guide so that you can listen so remember to bring in some headphones if you want to us your own. There is free baggage check since you cannot bring a lot of things inside however you can bring your cameras and photography is fine. The tour itself ended up being 50 minutes and we were told that 40% of the building was actually destroyed during the war.

Austrian Parliament Building (yes, this place is even more ridiculous than this picture).
Austrian Parliament Building.
Austrian Parliament Building.
We headed back to the hotel after and ended up at Nguyen's Pho House for dinner. A nice change of pace from our regular meat and potatoes. We arrived at 7:15pm and were seated quickly, there aren't a lot of seats, so you may have to wait. The food was good, however the portions are smaller than what we have in Toronto. The waitresses and cooks were all Vietnamese which was nice. Cost us 33,60 €.

Beer #12?
Vermicelli with grilled pork and spring roll.
Some Vietnamese roasted pork dish.
After dinner, we wandered Vienna at night since our hotel is close and it was our last chance to take night pictures since it was our last night in Vienna. The buildings that get lit at night are very nice and you should try to make it a thing to do when you come. Nice way to end our Vienna leg of the trip.

Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Vienna at night.
Tomorrow, we finish Vienna and head to Budapest.