We are on our European holiday at the moment so posts for this month will include not just recipes but also travel features about the countries we are visiting. Here are some holiday photos from our trip to Austria. Hope you enjoy browsing! By the way, the above photo is of the Schonbrunn Palace and is featured below, too.
What I love about traveling around Europe is the ease of it all. You simply hop on the train and then after a few hours you're on the next country. Depending on how far the destination is sometimes it only takes about 2-3 hours and you are in another territory. They have very nice and efficient trains here and since we're a family we're given first class seats which make traveling really comfortable. The tots (that's how I call them) switch between napping and reading on the train as we do, too! ;)
In the afternoon after we arrived in Vienna, we took a Hop-on-hop-off Bus tour around the city to get a feel of it and a bird's eye view of the places to visit. That's Sophie enjoying the bus tour despite the heat. It was so hot that temps reached up to 40 degrees celsius (about 104 F) last week. We all stayed at the top deck but on the covered area as the sun was quite strong and humidity was really high.
Just one of the lovely streets (strasse) we passed through in Vienna. Pretty much all the surrounding buildings were magnificent - vintage and glorious!!!
Getting near the Vienna State Opera in the city center. According to the tour guide, the Emperor didn't like the building and told the architect that this building looked like a railway station rather than a grand opera house and as a result the poor man committed suicide. Very sad.
Perhaps the King wasn't enamored with it but it's grand enough for me! :)
Here's another view of the Opera House. According to Wikipedia the Vienna Opera House is one of the busiest in the whole world producing 50-60 operas per year and 10 ballet productions and approximately 300 performances! That is a lot indeed! :)
Can you see the man who looks like he's contemplating jumping off the building? I don't know what the significance of this is (I just saw this while on the bus) but it sure reminded me of the stories about the 2 Austrian architects who committed suicide because their buildings were not properly appreciated.
Anyway, let's move on to something a bit more cheerful! Here's the Vienna Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum). It looks like a palace to me! :)
Here's the Austrian Parliament Building featuring the Greek Revival type of architecture prevalent in the late 18th century up to the early 19th century.
The Votivkirche (Votiv Church) is a Neo-gothic church located on the Ringstraße. There was some construction going on so I couldn't get a better photo for this.
Mark's parents and aunt flew from England and joined us for our Austrian leg of the journey and this was where we met them at the Weiner Prater - a large public park which is famous for its amusement park - the Wurstelprater. It is believed to be the oldest amusement park in the world.
At the Prater you would find one of the world's oldest operating Ferries wheels. This was built in 1897 to honor Emperor Franz Josef 1's 50th Jubilee and it continues to run up to this day. Isn't that amazing?
After all that walking and touring in that stifling summer heat we needed dinner desperately! Mark's parents' hotel was near the Old Danube and they took us to this amazing restaurant (built in 1893) by the river with lovely views of the Danube. We had a lovely seat overlooking the river.
It was quite fun to watch the scenery going on the river - dinner cruises, lots of people just relaxing on their boats.
And yes, swimmers! Lots of them actually and I was almost tempted to jump in as it was hot and humid and they looked so fresh and happy on the water! :) The river was very clean so swimming was quite a good option when it became too hot.
Anyway, here we are after our orders had arrived. The servings were massive, too! Since this is a food blog after all, I have to share some food below.
My husband ordered some pork skewers and they were perfectly grilled and so tender and tasty!
I decided to order something more traditional and Vienesse - Schnitzels! I ordered the pork one though the more authentic and expensive one would be the veal version - called Weiner Schnitzel.
And for dessert.....drum roll please....a good glass of Vienesse Iced Coffee.
Since we are talking about food, I thought I'll share this as any foodie would love this information. This building is the Sacher Hotel where the original Sacher Torte (that famous Austrian Chocolate Cake!) was created.
Here's a closer view of the entrance to the hotel with me and little Sophie.
The creator of the Sacher Torte himself.
And here's that delicious chocolate cake. I thought it would be dense - it was actually light and not overly sweet which I prefer! It has two layers of sponge cake spread with apricot jam in between and then on top a decadent chocolate icing and always served with freshly whipped cream! I am already imagining a new post about this. Of course, the original recipe is a closely guarded secret kept in the vault or something but there are many copycat recipes all around and I got myself an Austrian cookbook which has a recipe for this, yay! :)
Sunday evening walk around the city center.
There are so many beautiful buildings, it's impossible to miss them.
Don't fancy walking? Ride with pride on a horse carriage instead! :)
A tour in Vienna would not be complete without a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace - a 1,441 room Baroque Palace which was the former imperial summer residence. It is majestic indeed. Not as overwhelming as Versailles Palace in France in my opinion but nonetheless grand in itself.
Here are some of hubby's artsy shots - he is the photographer in the family really. :)
Taken by the Neptune Fountain in the Schonbrunn Garden over looking the palace.
Here's hubby and me. Photo courtesy of my father-in-law.
And here's all of us! It was a fitting way to end the tour in Vienna! Until the next country! Hope you enjoyed your tour with us. :)