WEEKEND WEB: Slow travel on a quick break to Vienna

Schonbrunn Palace.
Schonbrunn Palace.
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

Two days is definitely not enough time to really appreciate Vienna. But Dougie and I were both keen to visit so we asked Inntravel, our holiday company, to add on two extra nights in Austria’s capital city following our week of walking in the Salzkammergut region and our short stay in Salzburg.

Whereas Salzburg was easy to negotiate, Vienna initially overwhelmed us. We had to box clever to see as many attractions as we could without spoiling the slow-travel ethos for which Inntravel is widely known.

Thankfully we had been given a detailed walking tour, similar to the ones for our daily hikes, so we were able to use this to work our way around the city. We also had the Vienna City Card from the tourist office, which offered free transport; ideal for hopping on and off trams and the metro.

But my own top tip for making the most of your time on a city break is to pencil in a few things to do in the evenings.

Near our hotel was Vienna’s daily market, Naschmarkt, which proved to be the perfect place for an early dinner. As the market stalls were closing, the restaurants continued to serve customers and it had a fantastic vibe as locals stopped off for drinks after work.

Revitalised, we set off for more sightseeing. A few stops on the underground and we reached Prater Park with its famous giant Ferris wheel, Wiener Riesenrad. Some of you may remember scenes here in the James Bond film, The Living Daylights, or the 1949 classic The Third Man. Seeing Vienna at night, from the top of the gently-moving wheel, was a wonderful way to finish our first day in the city.

On our second night we took a post-dinner stroll to the Austrian State Library. Its glorious State Hall is open until 9pm on Thursdays so we admired its opulence whilst feeling very relaxed and unhurried.

We also had time to visit another late-opening attraction, the Sound Museum (Haus de Musik) which is open until 10pm every night. Although not necessarily a must-see in Vienna, this proved to be one of our best experiences in the city.

I loved running up and down the keyboard stairs, in the manner of Tom Hanks in the movie, Big, and virtually conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra through a jerky rendition of ‘The Blue Danube’.

This left us with two full days to admire the rest of the capital. As the sun was shining, we decided to admire the museums and palaces from the outside. The grounds of Schloss Schonbrunn were magical and the buildings in the museum quarter were magnificent.

Did we go inside at all during daylight hours? Well, you can’t come to Vienna and not experience the ritual of Kaffee und Kuchen.

Serving coffee and exquisite cakes to Vienna’s literary and political figures since 1876, Cafe Central was recommended as one of the best and it didn’t disappoint.

We took our time, savouring the delicious creamy concoctions and watching the world go by in a Viennese whirl.

• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk

Previously...

‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’