Sunday 23rd September
Our morning activity involved attending mass with a performance from the Vienna Boys Choir. We set off a bit earlier to allow time for Mark to get a coffee before mass but Google maps had other ideas. It sent us in circles and we had to stop twice to ask for directions. We ended up being seated a bit earlier than the scheduled start time but that proved valuable as we heard the boys practicing. The Mass was in German and went for about 90 minutes but it was a lovely way to start the day. The boys were up in a loft and out of view for the whole mass but came down to the Altar at the conclusion and it was surprising to see how young they were; their strong voices had me imagining them as a bit older.
Mass got out at around 10.45 am and we walked to a cafe at end our street, Cafe Delia’s, for a coffee before heading home to hang out some washing.
Our afternoon plan was for a 2.5 hour walking tour at 2 pm and so we set off before 1 pm to have a wander and find somewhere for lunch. Our local supermarket was closed but we found another great market just 5 minutes in the other direction from our apartment, Billa. Whilst not offering a wine bar, there was a large cafe and the food and grocery offerings seemed more extensive. After looking around the gourmet selections on offer across the three floors we decided to take lunch there and return after our tour to buy supplies for a home meal.
Our walking tour was with Good Vienna tours and departed at a location that was a 7 min walk from our apartment. Everything seems to be within a 20 minute walking radius of our place which is most handy. The walking tour was, indeed, ‘Good’ so much so that we booked to do their Hitler tour tomorrow and Schoenberg Palace tour the day after. Much of the tour focused on the Habsburg family as they were such a dominant global influence and were Austrian and we learned that Vienna was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire for a very lengthy period (1437- essentially 1740); news to both Mark and myself! I was mightily impressed by Maria Theresa, the only female Habsburg ruler who achieved so much in her time. She reigned for 40 years and, during that time, had 16 children and achieved a lot of social reform including the first compulsory education for children but was also know to get out and wield a sword in battle when needed too.
We also saw the Opera House, thought to look like a train station and that criticism caused one of the lead architects to commit suicide. As well, the ‘Sacher Hotel‘, built with the fortunes of the young apprentice chef who stumbled on the soon-to-be famous Sachertorte recipe when asked to fill in one day when the head chef to the Royal family fell ill. Another site was Cafe Frauenhuber, the oldest cafe in Vienna (1824) and where Mozart played shortly before his death and Restaurant Figlmuller that purportedly serves the best schnitzel in town. Sadly, I just tried to make a dinner reservation there but they’re fully booked for over a week.
Our tour finished at around 4.30 pm and we then headed home with a stop-off at Billa to buy some supplies for a home cooked dinner. I’m exhausted so please excuse the typos 😦