Not one of those times when we leave Heathrow at lunchtime and arrive the other side of the ocean in time for tea, but one where we went the other way and “lost” an hour, wasted another one waiting for the luggage to arrive on the carousel (not just ours, but the whole plane load) which meant that a two hour flight took the whole day.
The reflection on the baggage hall wall is a clue to the grand European capital in which we’ve decided to spend the weekend.
The view from our window is magnificent and those of you who’ve been to Vienna will recognise the Stefansdom immediately. Our hotel describes itself as an “arthotel” , very modern and rather comfortable.
So, even though we caught the 11am flight this morning, by the time we’d got to the hotel and sorted ourselves out, it was getting dark. The streets were rather busy and still lavishly decorated which made walking through them a delight.
The Graben is a pedestrian thoroughfare in the grandest European style and we very much enjoyed taking in the atmosphere. The small, individual shop fronts, some of which remain from the 19th century, are in stark contrast to so many of our city streets with their bland, international corporate buildings.
On this cold early evening, the shop windows glittered and beckoned us in.
However, bearing in mind that we had a reservation for dinner and we have a couple more days to spend lingering in these places, we stepped out and reacquainted ourselves with the layout of the city centre, getting our bearings around the Hofburg and thinking about where we’d like to go tomorrow. It’s fifteen years since we were here, we think, so our memories are a little patchy.
Though the weather forecast had predicted mild temperatures, it was such a chill wind that blew my Hero’s cap right off and led me into a fine Viennese hat shop to look for some practical headgear to keep my ears warm! Since I’m unlikely to bump into anyone I know here, I was happy to prioritise comfort before style (!) but the “neck ear warmers” I chose are practical and if not quite elegant, are respectable and very effective!
Fortunately it wasn’t far to the restaurant Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer (White Chimney Sweep – read the story here) and there was to be found the most delicious supper – the best way of warming us through again!
Not a bad quest for the next couple of days, wouldn’t you say? I suspect we might see a few other interesting things along the way, too