The Case of the missing baggage
The first day of the Vienna leg of our holiday was spent travelling from Budapest to Vienna and then locating our AirBnb apartment, a feat no lazy man can accomplish. Our minivan was comfortable enough and the view was quite pleasant: mostly crop fields and cottages and the occasional Burger King advert. When we did arrive, it was shortly before lunchtime and we were all set to spend the day exploring. This is when disaster struck and we found out that my luggage (which I lost in Vienna) would not arrive until late in the evening, and that somebody would have to stay at the apartment to collect it. We pretty much wasted all of daylight waiting for this.; it was perhaps the worst way to begin a holiday.
Vienna Music and Film Festival
The music film festival at City Hall Square is a yearly event that takes place between June and September. Each evening you can sit down with food and drinks from the nearby stalls and enjoy a wide range of music, from classical to jazz to blues. The venue was open-air and the night was just perfectly cool and breezy. The entire place was decking in colourful lights that made the entire experience seem surreal.
Stephansplatz is the geographical centre of Vienna, named after the prominent Stephansdom Cathedral that pierces the sky with its tall, sharp towers (one of the tallest in the world, in fact). Located right at the centre is the Heindl chocolate shop, a local confectionary brand so obsessed with Mozart that their entire branding technique seems to be based around his existence. I picked up a bunch of chocolates from there for my friends which I eventually ate myself, along with some incredible gelato from one of the many stores, and steaming hot pretzels from a street stall. This was probably my most enjoyable experience in the city; it’s perfect for grabbing a drink or an ice cream and walking around the square. We finished the trip with a visit to the Demel Cafe, one of the oldest coffeeshops that serves impeccably shaped pastries and desserts.
The Alberti Museum is one of the many museums scattered around Vienna, but the only one we had time for. I was not disappointed at all; they had artwork from Munch, Dali, Toulouse, Picasso, Warhol, and a bunch of other artists I admire. I also picked up some lovely postcards for a euro each, not a bad price considering I got some pretty pictures taken of them.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of my trip was my visit to an opera show later in the evening. I don’t remember the name of the opera, but it was definitely a poor gimmick set up mostly for tourists who know nothing about classical music. It wasn’t bad, per say, and the traditional costumes worn by the dancers and singers certainly made things interesting, but for someone who regularly listens to classical music, it was a little disenchanting.
On the final day of our trip, we visited the Schonbrunn palace, the former imperial residence of the royal family located a few minutes away from our apartment. The gardens of the palace are incredibly vast and beautiful, and include a maze, loads of stone fountains, and countless smaller gardens. The Schonbrunn cafe, located within the compound, is a small open-air cafe with delicious food and one of the prettiest vintage menus I’ve ever seen. After a lunch of salad and chicken we went inside the actual palace for a tour. It was incredible to see how well preserved all the rooms were; I could almost imagine all the great kings and queens walking bedsides me in their royal regalia. The audio commentary was a little confusing as it moved back and forth through time pretty rapidly, but nevertheless I learned a lot about the Habsburgs, one of the most influential royal houses of Europe. The entire tour lasted for about forty five minutes, after which we headed straight to the airport for our flight back home.