Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

VIENNA: EXPLORING THE OLD TOWN



This is a multi-part series about our Danube River cruise. 


Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise



River Cruise Day 8


Guten Morgen, Vienna! I'm beside myself with excitement (seriously, I peered in the mirror and there two of me looking quite elated)! I've had Vienna on my bucket list for years! 

As if being in Vienna isn't enough, I've got another reason to be excited.........I'm going to meet a blog friend this afternoon! I've been following Merisi from Merisi's Vienna For Beginners  for years, and her breathtaking photos intensified my desire to visit Vienna.  When she found out I was coming, Merisi generously offered to show me around. There's only one thing better than traveling to someplace new, and that's having a local as a personal tour guide! 

But before I meet Merisi, our tour group goes on a little sightseeing drive around the famous Ringstrasse, or Ring Road, which encircles the Old Town district. The architecture of Vienna is intoxicating! We pass many magnificent buildings, including City Hall............

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
City Hall


.......and The Parliament, which has the audacity to be undergoing repairs, mucking up my photos. But even with debris in the shot, it's too pretty not to share.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Parliament

Our tour guide tells us that Vienna has topped the list of the "World's Most Liveable Cities" multiple times (and it does again, late this summer).  Free health care, free education, excellent public transportation, a strong cultural identity, long maternity leaves, large swaths of parkland, and say what?  You get paid to be parents? Awesome! A financial benefit makes it more realistic to stay home and take care of the little ones. 

The bus tour is over; it's time to put our feet to pavement and walk through Vienna's first district, or Innere Stadt. There are 23 districts, but today, we will explore just one -- the historic old town.

That building to my right with the gray dome.......I think it's The Museum of Natural History. Or is it the Kunsthistorisches Museum? I honestly can't tell these seemingly identical twins apart. 

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Museum of Natural History or Kunsthistorisches Museum?


Straight ahead is the Austrian National Library. Is that a giant fly on the roof? No, it's a bird, it's a plane, yep, it's a.......bird.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Austrian National Library




This entire complex is part of the Hofburg Palace, which for centuries was the imperial castle for the Habsburg dynasty. The magnificent mint green Leopoldine wing is where none other than Marie Antoinette was born and raised (before she lost her head). For 
some inexplicable reason, I've got a sudden hankering for cake. 😉

Hofburg Palace: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #hofburgpalace #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Leopoldine Wing - Hofburg Palace



We walk through the palace courtyard and pass under an archway.  And I mean archway with a capital ARCH!

Hofburg Palace: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #hofburgpalace #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise



On the other side of the archway, we are in front of the entrance to the magnificent Hofburg Palace. The dynasty is gone, but the president of Austria and several museums have taken up residency.

Hofburg Palace: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #hofburgpalace #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #hofburgpalace #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Hofburg Palace


Our guide takes us down the street called Kohlmarkt, past Gucci, Lagerfeld and Cartier. I'm so busy looking up, that Mr. GS has saved me from tripping several times, but the details on the tops of buildings are not to be missed!

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise



Kohlmarkt leads into to a large pedestrian plaza, known as The Graben. I'm trying to keep my ears tuned to what our guide is saying, but I'm distracted by the side streets, and keep scooting away from our group. Now Mr. GS is afraid I'm going to get lost.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
 

Halfway down The Graben, an ornate structure called the Plague Monument, or Pestsäule commands our attention. It was erected to commemorate the great bubonic plague of 1679. 
                                                               
Plague Monument: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #plaguemonument #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
The Plague Monument


Further down on The Graben, St. Stephen's Cathedral stops me in my tracks. Sure, I've seen pictures, but its enormity takes me by surprise. I photograph it from every angle, and now, I think I have more photos of St. Stephen's than I do of my dog.

St. Stephen's Cathedral: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #ststephenscathedral #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
St. Stephen's Cathedral


St. Stephen's Cathedral: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #ststephenscathedral #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


Our walking tour ends in the square outside the Albertina Museum. Here is where I leave Mr. GS to meet Merisi.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes  #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


We are to connoiter upstairs at the equestrian statue, which I can see from street level. An escalator whisks me to a rooftop, where I'm rewarded with a fantastic view of the famous Vienna State Opera.

Vienna State Opera: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #viennastateopera #austria #danuberivercruise
Vienna State Opera


Merisi arrives, and after hugs and warm greetings, we're off!

We peek inside the famous Hotel Sacher, home of the original sacher torte. We wander around the old city's back alleys. I'm getting a view of Vienna that I never would see on my own. And if I did, no doubt I'd be lost in the passageways of Vienna forever.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise





We venture even further off the beaten path into little hidden courtyards which are a refuge from the busy city. 

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


We stop for lunch at one of Vienna's most famous restaurants, Cafe Demel. I figure it must be good since it's been operating, oh, almost as long as the United States has been in existence.  

World Famous Cafe Demel: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #cafedemel #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


Merisi insists on buying a piece of apple strudel for Mr. Goo Shoes, which is known to be the best in all of Austria. (Later tonight, Mr. GS and I will concur that it is). She treats me to a violet (yes, violet!) ice cream cone "mit shlag"  (with whipped cream), and I'm ready to become an expat for the food at Demel, alone.  

World Famous Cafe Demel: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #cafedemel #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Kitchen at Cafe Demel


It's time for me to get back to the ship, as we are having dinner tonight at Palais Pallavicini, and I must get ready. It's been a glorious and memorable afternoon, and I am so happy to have met one of my favorite bloggers!

Showered and refreshed, we have a lovely dinner at the palace. We dine, accompanied by classical music, opera singers, and ballet dancers, giving us a sampling of the arts that the Viennese are so rightly proud of.

Vienna | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise



River Cruise Day 9 

The four of us decide that we want to spend Day 2 in Vienna on our own. We skip the tour of Schonbrunn Palace, and spend the morning shopping for souvenirs, and leisurely strolling the streets.

We start on Kaerntnerstrasse, a touristy pedestrian shopping street, and buy a crazy number Gustav Klimt souvenirs. I crack myself and the others up when I say, "We're not verklempt, we're ver-klimt!" 

One thing I notice about Vienna is that there are many benches. Unlike NYC, which doesn't want anyone to get too comfy, Vienna beckons us to rest our feet and sit a spell. 

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Kaerntnerstrasse, a touristy shopping  street. 


That "please linger" mentality extends to Vienna's coffee house culture. One can sit the entire day in a coffee shop, having ordered a single cup of java.  In fact, this culture is protected by UNESCO, as a piece of heritage that can never be changed.

We sit down outdoors at Segafredo Espresso on The Graben for a mid-morning coffee break. We have no intention of staying all day, but it's nice to know the waitstaff won't give us the evil eye if we dawdle. 

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Segafredo Espresso on The Graben


Viennese coffee is always served with a silver spoon and a glass of water.  I learned this from Merisi's Coffee, Anyone? series on her blog.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


We walk some more, shop some more, and thoroughly enjoy soaking up the sights and sounds that are Vienna at our own pace.

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise


I'm thrilled that my non-foodie companions want to stop for lunch, giving me another chance to sample local cuisine.  At Cafe Mozart, we all order the asparagus ravioli, which is one of the best things I've eaten on this trip, and maybe ever! A G'spritzter, (aka wine spritzer), is quite fashionable for lunch in Austria, and it is a refreshing compliment to our pasta.

Cafe Mozart: Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #cafemozart #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
Cafe Mozart


It's time to go back to the ship. As we cross the Little Danube enroute the to big Danube, I wonder as I always do when I travel, "Could I live here?"

Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise
The Little Danube


Yes. Yes, I could. I mean, what's not to like about the world's most liveable city?

Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna. Until we meet again! 



This is a multi-part series about our Danube River cruise. 

Read 10 Things To Know About River Cruising here
 Read Our First Day In Prague here.
Read Day 2 In Prague here.
Read Day 3 In Prague here
Read A Day In Medieval Regensburg, Germany here.
Read Picturesque Towns Of Austria Part 1: Engelhartszell here.
Read Picturesque Towns Of Austria Part 2: Salzburg here.
Read Picturesque Towns Of Austria Part 3: Durnstein here.
Read Scenery Of The Wachau Valley here



Coming soon:

Bratislava: Slovakia's Charming Capital
Budapest: The Pearl of the Danube River


 
Vienna's old town intoxicates visitors with its grandiose architecture! | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes #vienna #austria #danuberivercruise

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