FIRST ROAD TRIP TO VIENNA (with a baby)
Last weekend, my husband and I went on our first road trip with our seven month-old baby to Vienna . The plan was to leave right after lunch so we could get to Vienna in the evening. After a series of last minute changes to our schedule we ended up leaving at four in the afternoon, then ran into heavy traffic and heavy fog. To make a long story short, we arrived at our hotel at two in the morning, exhausted. Our baby managed to sleep for the last four hours of the trip but then woke up rejuvenated and stayed awake until five in the morning!
Not the ideal start to our trip. However, the next day, when we finally made our way to the city center, we realized that the trip was worth it. Since we only had the weekend, we had little time to see all that Vienna had to offer. If you only have 48 hours in Vienna, here’s what you can see and do:
Right, smack in the middle of Vienna’s city center, you will find this powerful and majestic cathedral rise up as you approach it. The cathedral is open for tours to see the catacombs and climb up the North and South towers. Tickets for adults are Euro 5,50 and tickets for children are Euro 2,00.
Visit the last home of the genius musician and composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It’s now a museum covering his life, lifestyle, family, friends and musical works through digital art installations and original and replica artifacts like sheet music, scores, programs, letters, pictures, paintings and sculptures.
SHOPPING ON KARTNERSTRASSE
Kartnerstrasse is a pedestrian promenade full of shops and name brand stores. Here, you will also run into many street food vendors which brings me to my next ‘thing to do in Vienna’:
STREET FOOD: KAISEKRAINER
TRADITIONAL AUSTRIAN FOOD
We were recommended a very traditional Austrian restaurant called “Purstner“. It is located on Riemergasse, 10 walking distance form St. Stephans cathedral. The food is hearty and abundant. I ate the tasty, fall-off-the-bone, rack of ribs with potatoes and cabbage. If you don’t manage to make a reservation, At least go to see the restaurant decor because it is something I had never seen before. There are separate rooms with different themes including one where every table was semi-encapsulated in an enormous wine barrel.
SATURDAY MORNING BRUNCH AT MARCO SERRA ENOGASTRONOMY
Traditional Italian comfort food can be found in Vienna at our friend’s restaurant at Ungargasse, 53. Marco Serra runs a successful catering company in Vienna and has recently opened up his restaurant serving easy lunches and elegant dinners. It also features a wine shop with exclusive wines from all over Italy and high quality jams, sauces, olive oil, pasta, juices and the like from the motherland. With the Christmas season in full swing, he also has artisanal Panettone al Limoncello and Pear and Chocolate Panettone available.
On the Saturday morning before we headed back to Italy, Marco invited us to brunch at his restaurant. We were served Tuscan and Calabrese-style breakfast bruschetta, mango smoothies, omelettes, croissant and Italian coffee. Delizioso!
CHRISTMAS MARKETS (winter season)
If you happen to be visiting during the Christmas season (November – December) you will definitely have to check out the magical Christmas markets. Out of the four main Christmas markets in Vienna, we managed to visit two.
The first thing to do at a Christmas market is to warm up with a hot mulled wine, Gluhwein. The mulled wine costs Euro 3,80 but you pay a deposit for the little ceramic shoe cup (Euro 3,00). You can either keep your shoe cup or return it to any of the Gluhwein stands to get three euros back.
You will find tons of hand crafted ornaments, leather-bound notebooks, honey, jams, cookies, cupcakes, toys, clothes, accessories, caramelized nuts, soaps and perfumes. There is no shortage of gift ideas here. However, I had already done most of my Christmas shopping on Karstnerstrasse and was more interested in the food. What can you eat at a Viennese Christmas market?
Try the soup in a bread bowl. You can choose from Bacon and Beans soup and a Goulash soup. Try the baked potatoes with cheese and speck (smoked prosciutto ham) or have a pretzel! If you are craving something sweet, eat the waffles with melted chocolate. Then, fill up your shoe cup again with some Gluhwein.
These were all the things we were able to do in forty-eight hours with a baby. If we had more time, we would have also done all this:
Ride the Giant Ferris Wheel
Listen to Live Jazz Music at Porgy and Bess
See an Opera Vienna State Opera – currently performing Don Giovanni
Visit Schonbrunn Palace
TIPS FOR VISITING VIENNA
Parking – If you have a car and find a parking spot on the street, you won’t find any parking meters. How do you pay for parking and avoid paying a penalty? Find the nearest tobacco shop, cigarette machine, gas station, transport ticket office or machine and buy your parking ticket there. Parking is Euro 1,00 for thirty minutes. If you choose to park in a garage in the city center, you are looking to pay Euro 4,00 – 4, 60 per hour. For more details, check out this tourist site with information on parking.
Vienna Pass – Even if you are staying for one day in Vienna, it might be economically convenient to look into a Vienna Pass. You will get free access to over sixty attractions including museums, palaces, guided tours and castles starting at Euro 60,00. At the moment, there is a 10% discount sale going on. See if the Pass is worth it for you.