Day 6 was a mix of the old and the new. It was a day of Cafes and Christmas markets – and, of course, FOOD! Another lazy morning faced a serious crisis due to my mismanagement of our bread supplies. Luckily, we bought eggs yesterday and supplemented our sorry stash with some hard-boiled eggs. The successful traveler always needs to be ready with a backup plan and that starts at breakfast!
Winter in Vienna
Winter is not when Vienna is at its most beautiful. Every park we’ve been too has been a desolate wasteland. The structures are ornate and grand but, as one might expect from a snow-less city, all plant life is dead and laid bare for all to see. So we were underwhelmed by the Stadtpark (city park) and quickly made our way to the other end. Our pace was hurried by an unexpectedly cold day; today was supposed to be much warmer! Sadly, the sun betrayed us and never showed its face.
But winter in Vienna can still be great because of the strong cafe culture. What better way to pass a cold and depressing day than inside, sipping your tea? We made our way to Cafe Central to have lunch and warm up. We weren’t completely sure that it’d be open, since Austrians celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception today. Well, everybody needs a reason to celebrate in the winter, so I won’t rob them of that.
Cafe Central was packed but we only had to wait 5 minutes for a table. We braced for an awful spot but ended up with quite a good location. As soon as I opened the menu, I knew what I wanted and seized the chance to get a proper Wiener Schnitzel. After all, I’ve got to compare pork and veal, right? To complete the suffering of the baby cows, Jelena took the Kalbsleber (liver from the baby cow). That poor baby cow did not die in vain.
The meals were excellent and I can happily say this was a truly great Schnitzel, even better than Figlmüller’s from yesterday. I’d recommend Cafe Central any day, especially because the price difference was small and potatoes came with it. I was disappointed you couldn’t order tap water but the Apfelschorle was tasty, so I’m not complaining. Of course, I knew it’d be good, since I scouted this location out with my mom back in 2010 – another great Vienna trip!
The cafe crawl continues
Although Cafe Central looks and feels incredible, it was too hectic at lunch time to relax and hang out, so we decided to move on to greener pastures. We thought we’d swing by Cafe Landtmann to peek in the window but they were similarly overrun by customers. We’re considering giving it another shot tomorrow. I had a nice breakfast at Landtmann with my mom last time I was in Vienna. Next time, I’d like to try their desserts!
Well Jelena really enjoyed Cafe Sperl, so we retraced our steps to an old favourite and claimed the last table in the joint. After a light but good breakfast and a mouthwatering and exceptional lunch, it was time to reward ourselves with a little bit of cake. Jelena took the Sachertorte this time, while I took the Gugelhupf. Despite the funny name, this was a solid choice for a plain cake eater like me. This is my idea of a cake – no jam or nuts or other radical ingredients to get in the way of the enjoyment of sugar.
As we sipped our tea, Jelena read 2 different newspapers, while I organized some Travel to Live administrative work and did some social networking. The Viennese cafe culture is truly a great one. I’m glad we have Cafe Maldaner back home, but, somehow, I doubt they have wireless Internet access. Few locations in Germany do. I’m going to miss Austria!
Topping it all off
With our tea and cake long gone, we decided to move on home, so we could drop off our things and head to the Christmas market. We wanted to wait until the evening, so we could enjoy the lights and nighttime atmosphere of the market. Karlskirche is truly a sight to behold; it’s my personal favourite church in Vienna and was where my mom and I attended a classical music concert back in 2010.
The Christmas market was busy but not too crazy. We first enjoyed a freshly baked pastry covered in sugar, before descending upon the sausage stand. We took lamb sausages with freshly baked flatbread to finish off the night. Delicious! Jelena also found herself a new mug while we perused the items on offer at this market. Having accomplished our goals, we headed home for some rest and a little work.
Of course, you didn’t think we were done eating yet, did you? No, when we arrived home, we put on the kettle and ate some more of the tasty cookies we bought back on day 3. Another great day at an end. Food success record still undefeated (knock on wood). Tomorrow‘s our last full day in Vienna. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store!