July 20-25, 2019
Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront
Our Hilton was right on the Danube River but not within the city center. Our room overlooks the river. When we first arrived by train, we took an Uber to get to our hotel. We would eventually find the metro stop nearby that would take us directly into the CBD.
On our first morning, David stayed in bed for awhile longer while I ventured downstairs for the brunch buffet that also included their special bbq meat and upgrades. I didn’t think I was hungry enough at first to justify the cost and volume of food, but I went for it. And it was fabulous! I texted David he should come down and partake knowing how much he loves brisket and smoked meats. He wasn’t hungry but came and sat with me, at least seeing what was all in the meal. We eventually came back down before closing service for him to have his meal and he didn’t regret it.
I bought tickets online for us to go to the Upper Belvedere Palace and Museum. I had been here once before when I was in college (Christmas Break 2003). Having seen how much David enjoyed the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, I hoped he would like this one with focus on Gustav Klimt. We watched the movie “Woman In Gold” prior to going. And it was a success! We were able to snag two headsets to provide us with information about works and artists as we walked at our own pace. The photographer in David was in heaven.
After a couple of hours of walking through as many rooms as possible, we walked through the gardens towards the Lower Belvedere. We didn’t go in, but rather walked around the corner for a late lunch at a beer hall that David had scouted out, Salm Brau. Afterwards, we talked about going to the Naschmarket. We walked in that direction but quickly lost interest and energy. We stopped at a little place in a park for a bathroom break and some beer, people watching those strolling by in the park.
I’ve fallen in love with markets. It makes it hard to shop European markets when staying in hotels, but they’re so fun to walk through. While they vary on selling fresh food meant to be taken home for meals to what is ready made to be consumed on site, there’s something magical to walk through all the stalls of spices, vegetables, meat, cheese, olives, local handmade goods, and the endless smells and sounds. The Vienna Naschmarkt has around 120 stands and restaurants in an open air market lining the side of the boulevard.
We started with a few wrong turns from the metro stop, not enough that it took us any longer but our patience almost ran short as we navigated through a few extra alleys. We were both getting hungry, and thirsty, but we walked through several stalls to find something we were in the mood for and not to stop just because it was food. We ended up standing at a beer stall for awhile that served predominately Belgian beers. Great thing about markets like this is the people watching. Even though I don’t speak the local language, it’s entertaining to watch a different world go by.
David fell in love with a cured meat stand. I found a cheese stand with some amazing cheeses, including a wasabi Gouda. Across from there was a stand selling olives and a variety of charcuterie. I bought some olives. Since David went to brewing school in Munich a few years back he’s loved Doner. And we found a small stand with standing room only next to it. Any sign of a table was taken or for a different stand. We grabbed 2 sodas and shared a Doner with everything on it. And it was delicious! One of the best one’s we’ve ever had. Eventually we looped around the entire market and were thoroughly satisfied. David and I stopped at one or two more beer stands, jump on WiFi, and caught up on photos. I think one of us went back for a Doner to take back to the hotel. David and I were thoroughly content as we took the metro back to the Hilton that afternoon to eat our Doner and enjoy happy hour in the Executive Lounge.
On July 24, we did an AirBnB experience while in Vienna, which we have found to be a great way to experience a new city with a local. We met up with Kennet and about five or six other people at the Vienna Train Station at 4:30 for a beer experience. We went to two breweries, and one beer hall with dinner. There was a mix of Aussie’s and Americans in our group.
From Vienna we went to Budapest, Hungary. We spent a little time at the Admiral’s Club, the only place we could find at the train station with air conditioning at the train station before we departed.