Thursday, March 14, 2013

Honeymoon in Vienna Part 1

*A very long and much belated post on our honeymoon trip to Vienna which we took last year just after Christmas.

Schönbrunn Palace

We decided early on in our wedding preparations to join the New Year's festivities with our honeymoon. The other decision we made was to travel to a European capital, preferably one that wasn't too distant so we could take the car. Neither of us has ever seen Vienna and with just 4 and a half hours of leisurely drive away it was the perfect choice.
Vienna was at the height of its winter tourist season and was packed to the brim. We had a really hard time finding accommodation too! We found a lovely apartment fully furnished but quite out of the center. For us this was the perfect solution, since the apartment also came with a parking place, so we could come and go as we pleased. We took the car to the centre each day and drove home for lunch if we decided to or stayed in the centre till the evening. Like I said, this worked for us, since we (mostly I) are used to certain routines.
Let me tell you in advance that Vienna is a very diverse city with so much to see and experience that it is impossible to pack it all in. The other thing one has to reconcile with immediately is that Vienna is crazy expensive with each museum/gallery entrance fee ranging between 12 and 30 €. Coffee and snacks can easily set you back 15 to 18 € for two people and a decent lunch will range somewhere upwards of 50 €.
The first evening we took a quick stroll through the centre, popped into Stephansdom and had the best tea ever in an über chick newly opened cafe. The Earl Grey tea we ordered was served in a very Japanese manner with candied sugar, rosemary and cranberries small white porcelain cube dishes . Mr. C got candied sugar, cloves and saffron. Lemon balm wasser while we waited.
The next day we visited the Hundertwasserhaus, which incidentally wasn't recommended by either of the two tour guides I'd purchased (Baedeker and Eyewitness travel) but as it turned out was a favourite of mine and Mr. C's as well. A funky, quirky house built by Hundertwasser's plans and later turned into a museum possesses a sort of calming and soothing quality and resonates the architect's philosophy of life.

Lots of plants and greenery in the Hundertwasserhaus cafe

After coffee and lunch we went to see the Opera house which was fully booked till New Year and then Albertina.

The Emperor Maximilian I exhibition

We had another coffee at Albertina which was served with lemon balm water too. Vienna is famous for its coffee houses tradition and high standards of service so much so that in Slovenia we have a phrase "the Viennese school" indicating that a particular cafe or restaurant has a staff that conforms to the highest standards.
The third day we went to Hofburg, the Habsburg's residence which is a massive and impressive structure consisting of numerous buildings housing various museums and other significant monuments. First thing on our itinerary was the morning practice of Lipizzaner horses in the Winter school which was another highlight of our trip. Unfortunately most of the places we visited don't allow photographing, so no pictures of the cheeky horses. We had such a fun time watching young Lipizzaners practicing and it was just amazing to see how strong minded and stubborn they can be and how gentle and patient the trainers are.

One of the numerous  gilded and ornamented table sets

After practice it was time for one of the chief attractions The Sisi Museum which is entirely dedicated to the beautiful and capricious Kaiserin Sisi. We also saw the Silver collection: a collection of household items of the Hofburg as well as the Imperial apartments. Massive and impressive but also very crowded and highly touristic. Wear sturdy shoes and arm yourself with patience and water.

An igenious way to mark the whine carafes: identical metal plates with the name of the wine suspended from a chain

It was early afternoon when we were done with our tour and for the first time since our trip it got really sunny and almost warm. A perfect weather for the corniest of tourist attractions: the Fiaker ride! Since this was our honeymoon after all we went for it and had a great time. Our Fiaker served as a tour guide as well so we got to see most of Vienna's main attractions from an open coach while safely bundled up in a warm blanket.

Ready for our  Fiaker tour: our horses were named Rocky and Rambo
Tomorrow: more sightseeing, shopping and surprise


  1. Oh Vienna, a place yet to see!
    Oh and naturally to see the Lipizzaners, though I´d prefer them to be black ( silly me ).
    And all the cafe´s. A diet needed before and after ( in my case ).
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Mette, they had the most amazing cakes in the cafes so a died would indeed be needed but since we spend most of the days getting plent of exercise walking around I feel we burned all the calories :-)
      The youngest horse in training was dove grey and it was obvious he was just at the beginning of his training. The rest of them were in their "puberty" with black and grey spont on their white coat.

    2. Mette,you must visit if only to see the lipizzaners dressage,you could pretend they were black huh.Ida

  2. Oh Vienna indeed...I would love to visit some day, especially the Lipizzaners...and music some place, right? Did not realize it was so expensive! So incredible that you can drive to Vienna...great choice Anna and thank you for sharing..xx

    1. The play Strauss and Mozart while the Lipizzaner are training. It's amazing to see chandeliers, sculptures and a wonderful auditorium in the Winter school while the grounds are covered in saw dust with the Blue Danube waltz playing. A very stark contrast!

  3. What a lovely honeymoon Ana. I'm jealous Vienna is only a 4.5 hour drive from where you live! We visited Vienna December 2010 and went to many of the same places you did, but not the Sisi, Hundertwasserhaus or Albertina. There is nothing like the old time Viennese cafes. We found one, Café Dommayer, for breakfast Christmas eve morning. It was lovely because a young woman dressed like an angel visited the tables and handed out chocolates. Thank you for sharing your pictures and your honeymoon experience.

    1. Cafe Dommayer next to Schönbrunn Palace? It was recommended to us by Paula from Paula from Vienna blog :-) and a great choice it was!
      People always comment how very lucky we are to live so close to some Italy and Austria, a car ride away, yet on the other hand it can be rather overwhelming or taken for granted so that a cocktail in Trieste every Saturday afternoon is like popping for coffee in the city and after a while it just becomes mundane and boring.

    2. Yes, that's the one, so glad you were able to visit! It's really hard to imagine getting bored with having coffee in Trieste every Saturday :).

  4. What a wonderful time you must have had in Vienna. The perfect romantic spot for a honeymoon. I felt I saw it again through your eyes, as I did some of the same things you did when I was there in 1985 The coffee shops were the best, and the pastries..oh my! Remember having Sacher Torte, the Opera House and the music most of all. Thank you for sharing the memories of your special trip.

    1. Ah the notorious Sacher cake :-D Slovenes are crazy for it and it's still one of the favourites for birthdays and celebrations. Almost every cook or family has their own "version" of the recipe. I must say we enjoyed the puff pastries and the mulled wine which was incredibly fragrant and invigorating.

  5. Your photos bring back happy memories,especially the Lipizzaners,of course you have to do the Fiaker ride,my daughter went round twice!

    I like it best out of season as later it gets too crowded.Great place for your honeymoon.Looking forward to part 2.Ida

    1. you may have just persuaded me to take another Fiaker ride next time I visit :-)