Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Vienna Adventure (Part III): Attractions and a bit of Food!

For such a small city, Mr. Tattler and I are already on the  third leg of our Viennese trip. First stop this time: Schönbrunn Palace.

 Schönbrunn means "beautiful spring". Opened in 1699, the palace was a former imperial 1,441-room summer residence. The architecture is considered Rococo or Late Baroque. Colour schemes used were pastels with gold gilding and themes were more free flowing and florid.

What I really wanted to see was the Gloriette which was behind the grand palace.
It's the fountain again that gets me. The landscape befits a musicale that can rival the scenery in Salzburg. I would've found myself singing 'The Sound of Music' except Mr. T will remind me I'm in the wrong city. We had to get into the palace to see this and we didn't have enough time for it. Another reason to go back one day soon.

I've not seen that much tourists in the whole of Vienna's city centre as the crowd milling around the grounds of Schönbrunn. It could fit the entire population of the city. To be honest, Schönbrunn from an initial point of view was a palatial boxy collection of rooms, so we decided to move on as we didn't intend to go in anyway that day. You must see the rooms to fully appreciate the architectural beauty of the palace.

St. Stephen's Cathedral is right outside the Stephansplatz u-bahn station. It's a Romanesque and Gothic structure that towers above the skyline of Vienna's city centre. The multi-coloured tiled roof is one of its best features. Renovations were ongoing at the time, maybe in preparation for the summer tourist trade.

Stephansdom, as St. Stephen's Cathedral is called in German, was consecrated in 1147.

One of the towers at night, framed by a tree that seemed not ready to welcome spring yet. It reminds me of Edward Scissorhands' mansion below.

While constructing the u-bahn in 1972, the foundation walls of the Chapels of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Vergilius were discovered and excavated. The structures were supposed to have been demolished in 1781. A glass panel is placed in one of the exits at Stephansplatz station so passersby can view the subterranean space.

This diagram at the station gives viewers a perspective of where the chapels are located using Stephansplatz station as reference. The blue arrow points to where I was and the encircled drawing is where the chapels are situated.

It's believed that no other subterranean building of this type has been discovered in other parts of the world. The Vienna Museum and Old Town Preservation Fund are working together in further improving the chapels' restoration conditions so that it will be opened to the public again in the future. For now, we can only look through the glass window.

Around the corner is the famed Vienna State Opera.

The Vienna State Opera at night. Sorry about the traffic lights.

The facade at night.

The State Opera or Wiener Staatsoper, was completed in 1869 and displays a Neo-Renaissance architecture. The renowned Vienna Opera Ball is annually held here.

A performance was on the night we were in Vienna but we didn't come prepared for it. I didn't think we would be allowed in with our Converse and Nikes, so we settled for al fresco.

Mr T promised he'll take me to the opera but he didn't say we'll watch from a screen outside the building. Chairs were arranged outside for the audience. It was full house. I bet half of the audience didn't even speak German but they all had the appreciative look of seasoned and sophisticated opera goers--in their trainers and fleece.

Vienna State Opera's version of Hollywood Walk of Fame. Surrounding the building are brass stars bearing the names of  prominent conductors, opera impresarios and composers. Gustav Mahler introduced dimming the lights even during an overture and allowing latecomers only during intermission. I'm sure those were just his more humble achievements.


A mere few feet away from Vienna State Opera is Vienna's Moulin Rouge. It's a bar slash club slash disco. I know what you're thinking and I don't have the definitive answer to that. I took a photo of it for personal reasons. I know what you're thinking again, so, no I have not ever worked in a red house. 

During a transitional period in my life, I found myself living in a big house with 5 gay men. One wasn't enough. They had to be 5. Living amongst them was equivalent to the London riots or Rodney King riots. Very tough if you're like me who considers home as a private sanctuary. Their 'riots' gave birth to one of the naughtiest naming the house Moulin Rouge.

I signed up for Tesco grocery delivery and put down Moulin Rouge as the nickname of the address where my groceries had to be delivered. I remember the expression of the delivery man one day when he buzzed and I opened the door. Moulin Rouge? What goes in here?!

So this one goes out to the ladies I left behind :)

 This concave structure is where the Imperial apartments, Silver Collection, Sisi Museum and Spanish Riding School are situated. This is just part of the Hofburg Palace. What I particularly loved about this building was an avenue led to it, thus the left-to-right balanced frame. Or I'm just OC. We walked past period buildings on each side and this sight welcomed us.

Hofburg Palace is the former imperial residence. It now serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. Which led me to wonder who the man is. I wouldn't be able to name and identify him from the line-up of the usual suspects at EU conferences. Would you?

 Just so we all know, the President of Austria is Heinz Fischer. I looked up his name and pardon my insolence, but Heinz ketchup came first. Speaks volume of how Austrians are happy to keep a low profile.

This massive building houses the Hofburg Congress Centre, Austrian National Library, Papyrus and Ephesus museums, Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments, Collection of Arms and Armour, and Museum of Ethnology.  

Let me catch my breath. 

 That's why it didn't fit the landscape frame of my iPad! A man next to me with a professional camera was struggling to take a shot of the whole expanse of the structure. I definitely can spend the whole day there. Or two.
It's right beside the Albertina Museum and Butterfly House and overlooked the green.


The Imperial Tropical Butterfly House is again part of the Hofburg Palace. It was the private turf of Kaiser Franz Joseph. Inside are hundreds of colourful butterflies flying freely around a simulated rainforest environment. Attached to it is a brasserie. It was tempting to pig out and use the beautiful surroundings and salubrious weather as an excuse but the rest of Vienna's sceneries await.

The Albertina showcases 65,000 drawings and 1 million old master prints. I have yet to see at least one!

Views atop and from the Albertina

To give you an idea what we've only seen so far despite this being the 3rd installment of my accounts of the trip, take a look at this guide.

We have ticked numbers 1-2, 5-7, and 8-9 (see the encircled areas). The list goes up to 19 and this is only at the Hofburg which is only 1 of the most prominent tourist spots in Vienna. We've only ever seen the outside of all those ticked!

Mr T and I had to take a break. The hunger pangs called for Austria's national food: Wiener schnitzel.

Between us, Mr T has a more discriminating palate so he wanted to try the best schnitzel the whole of Vienna can offer. And it was his birthday weekend so he takes the shots. Figlmüller always topped the list online.

My very first Wiener schnitzel, much bigger than my plate and my face! The tux-clad waiter who looked like he's been with them since it opened in 1905 really had to give me the bigger portion. Mr T didn't object. Or swapped plates. That's the gentleman that he is; he won't disagree with me in public. 

Johann Figlmüller opened a wine bar in  Wollzeile off St Stephen's Cathedral (a wine bar next to a church?) and served schnitzel as it's traditionally made. Click here to find out about the other ingredients and how schnitzel is prepared.

It's always accompanied by kopfsalat or potato salad or parsley potatoes with sweetened vinaigrette dressing.

Tasty as it was, the Asian in me was secretly craving for some kind of sauce. Japanese mayonnaise maybe? Or garlic aioli? Or Heinz ketchup?

The walls of Figlmüller were adorned with framed old newspaper clippings from before and after WW II, featuring the eatery and its competitors. One read that during the war, schnitzels were further stretched and flattened to give the impression to customers that they're getting their money's worth. Makes sense as other schnitzel versions look more like breaded chicken.

I would have settled for an Erdinger but only Figlmüller-made wine was served.I had a dry white but was more impressed by the quaint little pitcher it came in. The serving was just the unit a woman is allowed a night.

One of the 'enclaves' in the flagship eatery in Wollzeile. I'm quite impressed because no one looked up when I took this photo! A photo opp couldn't pry them away from their schnitzels. I'm not sure if this is part of the original building. I couldn't ask the waiter as his English was basic and my German didn't exist at all. It had the look and feel of an underground members only schnitzel club. So busy you have to book even on Tuesdays. We were told to come back because we didn't have a reservation but the same waiter sensed that we were too famished to go on, only a helping of schnitzel can bring us back to life. 

Besides he couldn't resist our Puss-in-boots-pity-me look.

  Mister, can we have some schnitzels, pretty please?

We were stuffed we had no room for dessert. So I'll leave it for now, and next post you'll be having sweets with me (you can have Mr T's portion) plus a little bit more food and sightseeing, side stories and yes we'll listen to some live music!

 See yah x


  1. Amazing pics!!!!
    Nice blog!!!
    Would you like to follow each other?

    1. Ciao bella!

      Thank you for visiting my blog! Yours is very interesting.
      Checked your post about the mini bags. Love 'em!

      Sure, let's follow each other. Thanks for the invite :)

      Grazie! Ciao x

  2. They knew how to build on a grand scale didn't they? Still surprised at how much there is to do and see in Vienna.Don't think that teeny serving of wine would have even touched the sides but that schnitzel would. Didn't one of their previous presidents (Kurt Waldheim) turn out to be a Nazi sympathiser? Maybe that's why they like to stay under the radar!

    1. Yeah, a small city with grand buildings. I don't really drink but that wine was not enough. I didn't bother asking for Diet Coke. I had a feeling the waiter will throw me out! I didn't finish the schnitzel. Had a quarter left and he thought I was on a break.

      I think you're right...their association with the 'main man' and the ex-President being a Nazi sympathiser could be one reason why they prefer to stay under the radar. At the same time, after all the grandeur of the past, they've evolved into such modest people? The most expensive cars we saw were old Mercs and Audis. We just got this impression that Austrians (or Viennese at least) are not into keeping up with the Joneses.

  3. I really need to go to Vienna - you might think it is due to the architecture and culture but no. It's that schnitzel. I will bring and sneak in my own bottle of Tabasco!! Austrian food is really the underlying star. I can't wait for desserts - birthplace of croissants? bring it on!

    1. Hahahaha...make sure you bring that Tabasco! That'd be funny! You're right, it'll taste better with that. It was really good but very dry. The potatoes served as my sauce.

      Make sure you sit at the back if they're not busy. The waiter seemed to check on us more often coz probably I was the most foreign of all.

      Visit the other places for me!!

  4. nice photos <3

    1. Thank you for dropping by Miss Paris :)

      Enjoyed looking at the photos on your page.

      Hope to see you again soon x


  5. Tnx for your lovely comment doll!!!!
    Keep in touch....

  6. Absolutely stunning! Vienna looks amazing. Of course I always knew it's supposed to be beautiful and full of great architecture, but to see it through somebody's lens like this is brilliant. I might have to visit one day just for the schnitzel ;-)

    Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my blog, I really appreciate it. Have a lovely evening xo

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by Mademoiselle Poirot! It's very interesting that lots of Europeans haven't been to Vienna. You must go one day. Schnitzel's served in Germany also but Mr Tattler said the one in Vienna was better :)

      Love your profile by the way. I can relate. Love red lipstick too!

      Have a lovely evening, too x

  7. Beautiful pictures and those Schnitzels!!
    I love Austria, such a conservative and yet quirky country...
    My father-in-law is Austrian. He lives in a village outside of Salzburg in the Mountains. Whenever we visit him I have a love/hate thing going on with the place. It's beautiful, the architecture and schnitzels are awe-inspiring, but I can't quite get it out of my mind that there are just too many unwritten rules of how to behave!

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for visiting! I love Salzburg! In fact, I'll be featuring it in subsequent posts. Went there as well after Vienna. I didn't realise the whole Vienna trip will take up that much space.

      I did get the impression that Austria's a conservative country. But I also got the impression that it's such a relaxed and down-to-earth place. I'd love to go back to visit the places we couldn't coz we didn't have enough time.

      See you again soon x

  8. great photos! would you like to follow each other in gfc and bloglovin? let me know!

    1. Thank you for your comment miss love is beauty (not sure yet how to address you :) )

      Just checked your page and I love that tiger-print shirt from Vero Moda. Look forward to your next post.

      You're on my bloglovin. Hope to see you there too!

      More soon!


  9. I thoroughly enjoyed your grand tour of Vienna with its stunning architecture. I have already visited a number of places in Austria including Salzburg but Vienna is on my must-visit list. I last had weiner schnitzel last year in Munich. Thank you very much for your lovely comments and of course for following. I've just found time to read your earlier posts which are so varied and I'm delighted to be following now on Bloglovin'

    1. I'm delighted miss b :) And so happy you read my previous posts.

      We visited Salzburg after Vienna and will be posting about it soon. I really loved Salzburg too!

      We had schnitzels at least 2x more after the 1st one :)

      Lovely to have you here. See you again :)

  10. followed you back in bloglovin #8 :)

  11. Hello from France! (holiday) ... have loved reading about Vienna, especially as we were in Vienna last year at this time! I adored Vienna ... was struck by the beauty of the architecture - Loved St Stephen's cathedral and especially the Lipizaner horses... do try to go if you haven't already! We had Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher ... sublime! Lunch at Demel is also worth a try... more temptations! Thanks for following my blog... thrilled!! Jenny

    1. Sacher torte will be served next Jenny, so watch out for that :)

      There's so much more we haven't seen and done, but we had a wonderful time, with my Vienna accounts on its Part IV soon.

      It's great to hear from someone who's also been to Vienna. It's quite a surprise that despite it being a major tourist destination, not a lot of people I've met have been.

      See you again soon :)

  12. So not only am I jealous of the bags in your ownership, I'm jealous of your adventures. Austria hasn't so much been on my to-do list, but Vienna always has based on feedback from friends and this post has definitely sealed it.

    The architecture is just stunning and your photography has really shown it off well. The Gloriette looks stunning, I can imagine that whole area on a hot sunny day.

    How fabulous the atmosphere must have been to sitting on the streets watching Opera on the big screen. I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason - there was a reason you wore the converse, so you could experience the opera in a different way. I think that's fab!

    1. Oh Colleen, don't be jealous...after this I'm back to the daily grind. Just really needed the break!

      I'm glad you loved the photos. It helped that Vienna was very picturesque. Very clean also. You must go to Vienna one day, plan your styling and have a photo shoot there :)

      It was indeed lovely watching the opera from the outside. Thought I could use some popcorn. Haha.It was probably 18 degrees at night. Just perfect.

      I do love dressing up from time to time so I'd gladly ditch the Converse. But maybe saving that for next time.

      Have a lovely weekend :)

  13. Oh wow what a super post! And, packed with loads of wonderful photos. My sister used to live in Austria until recently in Linz, so I'm very familiar with Vienna. I also loved Salzburg, but Vienna we liked there to shop. Thanks for sharing your experience. xo/Madison

    1. Hi Madison, thanks for finding my photos wonderful. That's so lovely to hear when you're not a photographer :)

      I'll be featuring Salzburg soon which we also visited. So watch out for that. I did like the shops in Vienna too and maybe next time I can do some shopping.

      See you next time x


  14. Super blog :) Do you want to follow each other?
    and on bloglovin?
    We invite you to giveaway :

    1. Hi Paula,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I'll check your page.

      Have a lovely day :)

  15. It looks like you really saw all the best parts, my countries capital has to offer! I'm happy to hear you liked it! :)
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Didn't just like it--I loved it!

      Will be featuring another Austrian favourite very soon.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      MsMadge x


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