Austria

AustriaDestinationsEuropeFoodWestern Europe

Cakes, Palaces and the Genteel Life

Sachertorte Demel

Cakes are in mouth-watering abundance in the cafes here. The origin of the famous Sachertorte is claimed by 2 coffee places: The cafe in the Hotel Sacher (which claims to ship all over the world) and the nearby Cafe Demel. The latter is not attached to any hotel and thus easier to infiltrate. Another plus-point: The cakes that are on display are visually pornographic.

coffee and cake menu

But pleasure can be found in other things: in the length of hair, or in the sheer largeness of a building.

The pleasure garden is found in Schoenbrunn Palace, beautifully symmetrical in accordance with the Enlightenment beliefs. Swarming with tourists sweating in the mid-day heat, I think the only pristine thing that really remains is the Schlosspark. Home to the Emperor Franz Josef and his royal wife Elisabeth alias Sisi (known to spend hours a day coiffing her ankle-length hair), Schoenbrunn’s rococo interior bowls me over with its excess.

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AustriaDestinationsEuropeWestern Europe

The Blue Danube

Horse Carriage Rides

Many guests at the hostel are using Austria as a springboard to travel to the rest of Eastern Europe – Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava (a mere 2-hour train ride away). The weather is hot, hot, hot, but at least the humidity is down.

There is of course, the hazard of having the hostel lying just behind the massive shopping street, though it does make a very interesting walk. So I went a little crazy looking at the prices (and not buying) and rejoicing that they were way more manageable than Scandinavia.

Towards Hofburg

It is a city that I’ve not quite experienced before: expansive, baroque, so elegant and such a cultural mecca for those who particularly love art and music. It’s Mozart’s Bicentennial, and typically, the city celebrates in style, using his name liberally as a selling point for the gullible ones.

Hofburg3

Hofburg1

Schönbrunn Upclose

The Albertina (a cool museum built in Roccoco style) though, showcases an excellent exhibition of Mozart and the context of the times in which he lived.

It is not however, excluded from the frequent plugs by the pompously-dressed salesman for numerous ongoing concerts, and the core of the city, apart from the heart-stopping museums quarter, is a maze of open-mouthed tourists, touts, over-priced shops, ornate horse-carriages and cafes.

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