Thursday, September 20, 2012

Austria, September 2012

I had the good fortune of getting to go to Vienna for work.  First off, "Jet Lag" it is real.  I thought it was just a term for being tired but it is really this very odd sensation of feeling just off, tired, after about two days, I was back to my old self.

Anyways, my first night there, I stayed at this boutique hotel near the airport.  They had a little bar in the place with a limited menu.  So with my hotel room, I got a free glass of white wine.  This wine is called Gruner Vetliner and MY is delicious and cheap.  I asked for another glass and it was 1.90E, which is like $2.50US.  That is unheard of in US restaurants.  If I wasn't so jet lagged I probably would have just bought a bottle.  For dinner I got a tomato bisque and some sausage....all super delicious and tasty.  The whole meal with wine, about $11USD.  There is a lot to be said about the presentation of food and the meal here that we don't see as much of in the US.  I mean, I was at a little tiny bar and the barmaid would be bring me a sprig of fresh grapes with each glass of wine and a fresh napkin.

Then for breakfast, seriously, it was heaven.  I don't remember the price, I think like $12USD.

A ton of breads.  A ton of different cheeses. Smoked trout and salmon.  Yogurts and muesli and NUTELLA.  I really can't figure out how I got to the age of 37 and never tried nutella.  I ate it on croissant and it was like time stood still.  And so begins my obsession with nutella (side note: did you on Pinterest there are all these recipes for making and using nutella?)

So off to the big city of Vienna I went as we cabbed over (in a smoky cab, yak!) the Danube River, riffed with graffiti, which is something I kind of like.

My hotel, The Levante Parliament, I found it on a website called Tablet Hotels which specializes in boutique and luxury hotels.  I was a able to get a 25% discount for booking more than 3 nights and I got to stay at this hip little place for less than what it would have cost to stay at one of the branded hotels  (oh and they had cute little Ritter chocolates on the bed and a rainfall shower).

The city of Vienna is amazing.  It is beautiful and old but yet very sophisticated and it is very obvious that it has held through the recession tide because there were a ton of high end luxury stores (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, etc.) I love that you can walk a block and find a massive fountain or statue and then another block and find a museum or see a horse drawn carriage.  I adore how worldly and culturally diverse it was.  Lastly, the transportation was amazing, small fuel efficient cars, bicycles, trains and scooters were everywhere.

Fun things to note:

1)People still actively wear lederhosen and it is not very cheap to purchase a pair. (A shop over by the conference had them for 250E).  It was fantastic to see that tradition has not died out there.

2)The Naschmarkt is a spice/food/trinket market and it was amazing.  So much variety, so many good smells, I wish I could have sat and ate there all day.

2)Two scoops of Nutella ice cream is only 2Euros and yes I did eat it every single day and yes I did gain at least five pounds while there. Oh and I did I mention I want to start my own portable ice cream cart business?

3)Loved all the graffiti and signs in German (Auchtung!).

4) I got see the Klimt collection, as in the "The Kiss" and it was awe-inspiring.(no photos allowed at the Belvedere.)

Lastly, I thought this trip would appease the travel bug but it was just a starter drug...and now I am hooked.  Up next:  Tuscany, Greece, Thailand, Malaysia, Costa Rica (HA!  I wish.) But definitely Florida in the spring, Glacier next summer...but there has to be a passport-using trip in there somewhere.


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