Travel with me | VIENNA
At the end of September, I went to Vienna.
My main excuse was a work thing - a Symposium.
In truth, I had wanted to go to Vienna for a very long time - for at least the last decade! Here are my thoughts on my brief time there - better late than never. I'll start with the flight, then our hotel stay and sightseeing before ending on the food- a high note as always!
I would be remiss if I did not firstly regale you of the drama that occurred in the air!
The flight there:
Picture the scene: my friend, "M" and I, took a direct flight with the national carrier, British Airways. The price was right and they would feed us to boot! Our early afternoon took off roughl on time and most people, myself included, promptly fell asleep. I remember feeling that the air-conditioning was too high as I sat down, and pulled my coat closer around my person.
Well, imagine my confusion when I woke up less than a hour later feeling "boiling" hot and like I had sandpaper in my mouth! I guess they had turned off the air-conditioning - be careful what you wish for. My friend nudged me. I looked to the aisle: oh good, they were bringing refreshments.
She nudged me again and said: "You're a doctor, aren't you?" Even half-asleep, I managed a quick clap back, "Supposedly!" Why the rhetorical question so high in the sky? (Yes, I am a Medical Doctor!)
That was when I really looked around. The lady next to me was hanging out of her aisle seat, looking VERY pale indeed! She was being tended to by a scared-looking Air-stewardess. Oh, dear! So I offered my medical services and helped walk her to the back of the plane. It was nothing too serious, folks. No food all day and now she felt very faint! This had happened to her before on a plane.
There was only one thing for it: I ordered some Coca-Cola STAT!
For her - not myself! And it worked beautifully. She was obviously - to me at least - hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar levels) and the orange juice they'd been trying beforehand would simply take too long. Note, this is the only time I would order someone to drink a Coke! She soon revived and after a few more minutes, we both made it back to our seats! Crisis averted!
It turned out she was going to Vienna for a very similar conference to the Symposium I was going to! And she knew my former boss in London. It's a small world after all! Pun totally intended.
"M" and I arrived late on the Tuesday night and slowly navigated our way into the centre of town (U4 train) to Schonbrunn station. We used Google Maps to guide ourselves to our hotel: Vienna Urban Resort Hotel. Once we were settled into our double room (twin beds please!) we made out way down closer to the station to eat. We settled for a bar where we had pasta - standard runner's fare! lol!
As I had a Symposium the next afternoon, we decided we would eat breakfast and head out early to see some sights beforehand. Then it was off to bed!
Oh the best-laid plans!
As usual, I went out for an early run (only 12 miles) and definitely got LOST a few times on my way back to the hotel! On the upside, I got to see the Canal, tributaries to the Danube river and a few pretty sights along the way - where's the running tour of Vienna when you need it? (Most of the sights pictured above were from my run!) I kept noting signs to Budapest Airport - probably hailing back to the time when Austria and Hungary were one big hyphenated country!
The time difference also seemed to be getting to "M" as her phone was deciding to add several hours difference to England. Please note, we were only one hour different to the UK! So when I called her to say I was 15 minutes away, she wasn't quite ready and so, rushed to breakfast. I do love to inspire mild panic on holidays!
Accordingly, we set off together heading to a different train station this time - apparently Meidling Haupstrasse was closer! After a few stops, I went to the hospital for the symposium and she went to the Crime Museum - we had decided the night before that would be a hoot!
The Symposium was very good, actually and all the bigger-wigs there were friendly and glad I'd come from England for it. I got to learn about what Climate Change has done to Austria's viable fly populations - think tropical migration! I was also inspired by the very well-published speakers who came from Egypt, Uganda and South America. There was a bigger conference beginning just as the Symposium ended but I wasn't here for that! lol!
We saved the majority of our sight-seeing (albeit brief) for the last day. We went out to Schloss Schonbrunn - Schonbrunn Palace and took the usual tourist pictures. Soon we felt hungry enough to indulge in a sandwich each followed by desert. "M" opted for a Sachertorte - an almond-based chocolate cake that I've made myself with Mary Berry's expert leadership (okay, from her book!). I had a raspberry and chocolate cheesecake Torte! It was a Tower of deliciousness - y may have guessed by now that I love a well-made desert!
Side note: we spotted some runners in the Palace Gardens - which were huge - and one ran past us twice in the Palace grounds. Whilst we were eating our deserts of course!
We then made our way down to the Museum Hundertwasser at KunstHaus Wien (Vienna Art House, loosely translated). Yes, very cultured! Imagine our surprise after the first floor of model "towns-of-the-future" to find that the second floor featured an English artist, Martin Parr! It was awesome to see his pictures of English families on beaches at various stages of sunburn - I kid you not. He also had some Prom-style nights out-on-the-town pictures which just took you back to all that awkwardness. That was definitely an unexpected highlight!
We didn't see any more sights before leaving but such is the way with such a short stay! We returned to London on the Thursday evening. I feel my running sight-seeing tour was just right for me though! Next time, I might book a whole day for a city tour and then walk around on the another! I may even go to the Opera for one evening out!
As a side-note: "M" didn't find the Crime Museum a hoot at all. Everything was supposedly in German (the HundertWasser had English translations) and it was all a bit odd. Oh well!
Even on a short stay, you can discover a local treat!
On our first night, we rushed out of the hotel close to 10pm and went to a local Bistro down the road where we had pasta dishes. It was nothing to write home about so I won't bore you with anymore details.
On our second night in Vienna, we went to a local restaurant off Mariahilfer Strasse. Using Google Maps and its reviews, we decided on Vikerl's Lokal. The maître-D was very helpful but sadly didn't speak much English. Nonetheless, they gave us amazing food! Starting with bread warmed on two hanging rods served with very moreish mayonnaise and hummus-style dips! The main courses were lightly roasted chicken with ravioli and vegetables for "M" and Seabass with creamy sweet potato mash and beetroot for myself. "M" said the chicken was the best-cooked she'd ever had (high-praise indeed) and I really was surprised by the vegetables being so yummy!
Finally, we had desert: two shared between us. The first was a soft Strudel/pie with a blackcurrant filling and on a bed of hot rhubarb surrounded by sliced figs and berries! That was served with a scoop of Alcohol-infused ice cream - the latter was not so much to our taste. The other desert was a melt-in-the-middle Chocolate pudding dusted with icing sugar, and served beside a coral-coloured Sorbet, a slice of fig and some berries. There was also a little shot glass of bubbly cocktail! I remember my deserts well! He he! The pictures speak for themselves. Needless to say, we ate it all up - except the alcohol ice-cream!
For breakfast at the hotel, we had a standard Viennese / Continental breakfast with some bread and sliced meats with cereal as a starter. Well, I was still in training for a marathon!
For our very last meal in Vienna, we ate at the airport. Yes, even before jumping on a plane we grabbed a meal of Chicken Escalopes and rice. It was a bit dry (no sauce) but ketchup went someway towards dispelling that issue. Yes, I think we gave a good sampling of the food in Vienna.
I definitely have to go back to Vienna sometime in the New Year to experience more of the sites like the grand Opera and more Museums. And of course, being able to ask for directions in German (see GCSE and Level 4 German classes weren't a waste) was a big BONUS. I didn't feel so lost as I could loosely translate most street signs and names. I would recommend Vienna both because the temperature felt warmer than the UK (as always) and I even got a good wear out of my Shades at the end of September!
Have you been to Vienna? How did you find it? Any tips for my next trip?
Later, ladies and gents!
I'm Lola - a hair obsessed doctor who stumbled into running long distances and baking all the cupcakes.
I blog about life, running and of course, hair! I'm an Altra "Team Red" Sponsored Athlete, so I will do the occasional running shoe or gadget review.
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