My tour of Vienna started with an unusual breakfast and some disappointment. I was supposed to meet an artist couple at the Kunsthalle Cafe at Karlsplatz, but they didn't come. I waited and waited, and finally I ordered coffee and food. Later we realized some emails had gone missing, but at the time I felt a bit nervous and confused.
I started to wonder what on earth I had gotten myself into - who was I to begin a 12 month "travel and art project" anyway?! Despite my worries, the breakfast was very special and good - a coffee mokka, an egg, a croissant and a fresh roll, a pat of butter tied up in fancy parchment paper, apricot and raspberry marmelade, honey, and a spread made of white chocolate.
Afterwards I wandered across the street to Karlsplatz, where the subway/underground/u-bahn station was designed by Otto Wagner and decorated with golden, elaborate, ornamental Art Nouveau elements.
From Karlsplatz I could see the Karlskirche with its lovely copper domed roof and towers peeking out from behind the trees
so I walked over
and heard nostalgic, playful Hungarian polka music drifting through the air
while families, children, tourists, and I strolled along the water.
Next, I walked up a busy street and passed by the regal Hotel Sacher
where the decadently rich chocolate Sacher Torte is made. If you have money to spare, you can even buy a Sacher Torte to take home in a fancy wooden box.
There is no shortage of superb bakeries in Vienna.
This one advertises its status of being a royal "sugar baker" for the Austrian aristocrats.
More cakes than you can count are displayed on tiny pedestals,
and I even spotted some cupcakes.
But Vienna isn't just about cake.
I saw stands with hot dogs and wuerstl sausages for the hungry tourists,
kitschy bags for your loved ones
and the Stephansdom preserved in a snowball.
In Vienna, I watched elegant "Fiaker," or horse-drawn carriages, clop clop clop go by
or wait patiently
outside of the Stephansdom
with its colorful, patterned tile roof.
I gazed at Vienna's dreamy architecture and wandered through cobblestone streets
before I stopped at a pleasant outdoor cafe, where I was refreshed by a tomato mozzarella tramezzini and a raspberry soda served cold in a wine glass.
After lunch, I took one of Vienna's old fashioned street cars
with their charming wooden seats reminding me of a school.
I visited the Hundertwasserhaus and the Kunst Haus Wien, where the unusual, funky architecture designed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser livens up the neighborhood
and every corner surprises one with colorful, random, artsy elements.
In the lovely garden cafe of the Kunst Haus, I was grateful to meet Valerie and Ally, who shared inspirational conversation and an afternoon coffee with me. They reassured me that this travel project is doable and worthwhile, and I felt much better afterwards.
After such a busy day, I happily returned to my quiet hotel with its pretty green, leafy courtyard. As you can imagine, I fell asleep right away!
Tomorrow: Join me as we visit the colorful, multi-cultural stands of the famous Naschmarkt farmer's market, see the incredible architecture of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, walk past the flower gardens at the Volksgarten, and enjoy the tarts at historical Cafe Central.