09 August 2010

A great Vienna weekend

Ok, so with only 2 more weeks left in Vienna, Kelly & I decided we needed to get out this weekend and jam pack it full of Vienna stuff.

We started out on Saturday mid-day by walking downtown in the old city, with a particular Italian restaurant in mind for lunch. Kelly has been there once with a friend of hers and said it was excellent.

We had some beef carpaccio with garlic bread as an appetizer, and then a quatrro formaggio pizza.......delicious.

Unfortunately Saturday was a bit rainy, so it was nice to camp out, drink some wine and laugh our asses off.

Kelly laughing her ass off.
After lunch, we walked through the old city some more, until the rain picked up...then we hopped on the subway and went to?...you guessed it, Gary & Inge's

It was a quiet day at the pub, so we got to sit and talk with Inge for a good long while. When I was in England (and Kelly was in Paris) we missed Inge's 70th birthday party...so we promised to come back next week to celebrate.

Next stop was the movies. We saw Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was very good and a good way to escape the rain.

After the movie we stopped at Starbucks for coffee-to-go and walked down to the Rathaus (City Hall).

They have a bunch of bars and eateries setup in the summer outside the Rathaus AND have a free outdoor cinema...but on this rainy Saturday evening they had a special treat showing on the big screen.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra playing a bunch of Austrian favorites.

After a while we walked back through the Hofburg and made our way home...a good day indeed.

On Sunday, the weather was beautiful...perfect even. We headed out to the Prater, a large public park formerly the royal hunting grounds, which is only about 20 minutes from our house. Its a great place to walk around...and its ginormous (20 times the size of Central Park) but we went there to eat at the Schweizerhaus.

The Schweizerhaus (Swiss House) is the place to eat in the Prater. There has been a restaurant here since 1907 and actually has nothing to do with Switzerland. There used to be a Swiss dairy nearby and in the time of the emperors, Switzerland had been, for centuries, associated with opulence and sophisticated gastronomy.

They serve all sorts of delicious (and overpriced) food, but its also all about the atmosphere. They have a huge beer garden, divided and named after parts of the city. On a nice day, its a great place to hang out.
They are also famous for one particular dish, Stelze. Depending on who you ask, its either a ham hock, a pork knuckle or a shin shank....either way its a giant crispy skinned, juicy, fatty, hunk of pork rubbed with coarse salt and served with horseradish and mustard. Yummmmmmm.

I looked it up. I think its a ham hock.

So as if that wasn't enough for a great Sunday....there's more!

Our friends and Richi & Anita called us and asked if we want to go for dinner and drinks at Schloss Neugebäude! So after a brief stop (and nap) at home, we hopped on the train to Simmering.

Schloss Neugebäude is a castle built in the 1560's on the spot where the Sultan Sulyeman had his tent during the Siege of Vienna in the 1530's.
These days in the summers, it has...you guessed it, a beer garden, small eateries and an outdoor cinema.

We had a few drinks, some food and relaxed.

A great ending to a wonderful Viennese weekend.

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