19 February 2012

Vienna, Austria - Day 1

Last nights arrival into Vienna marked a successful finish to an 18 hour air travel which was superbly enhanced by a complimentary upgrade to business class from Dubai to Vienna. Trini was the usual superstar traveller at her tender age of 3 by watching movies, eating and sleeping.

Having way too much fun in business class
How do we go back to economy after an experience like this.
Thank you Emirates, this was divine.

Flying mostly in a singlet, it was evident I was over Europe when air in the cabin turned very chilly very suddenly and I had to layer up.  

The rest was quite uneventful with the exception of the charlatan masquerading as a taxi driver.  Initially falling for it, I asked him if he had a meter in his car.  A mixed response of yes and fixed price (decipher that one), we bowed out and went searching for a real taxi.  All I could say to that was, we just returned from Bali where four money exchangers in a row were trying to rip off John.  Mentally we were still on high alert for scammers.

Anyway, we arrived at the Marriott Hotel and went to sleep at 11pm Vienna time even though our body clock was screaming 4am Singapore time. It didn't stop us from waking up at 6.30am, a most unusual time of the day for us, who not even on a working day rise before 8am.

Refreshed and showered we started the day with a buffet breakfast consisting of fresh fruit with granola and yoghurt, followed by a perfectly combined omelette, followed by an antipasto platter with salmon, prosciutto, cheeses, some very fat and juicy olives and a glass of champagne to really get started.  Why champagne was served for breakfast and indulged by many we never had the sense to ask but we joined in and indulged daily for the remainder of our stay. Trini devoured crispy bacon, fruit, ham off the bone and a very nice hot chocolate, which became her drink of choice throughout her holiday.

Breakfast at the Marriott Hotel

A cold leisurely walk ensued as we attempted to acclimatize from 30 degrees in Singapore to 1 degree in Vienna. The greater shock was to Trini who for the last 12 months has been basking in tropical weather every day of the year.

Another hot chocolate and coffee pitstop at Cafe Schwarzenberg helped warm us up. A lovely traditional interior with chandeliers and waiters in black suits delivering coffee on silver trays accompanied by a glass of water. Viennese version of cappuccino included a dollop of cream.

Cafe Schwarzenberg.  Had many schnitsels here.

Renown for its efficient, punctual and well planned public transport system we purchased a weekly ticket for €14.  A common quote is that you could set your watch by their timetable.  It turned out to be the easiest way to get around Vienna. 

Before we could venture further we needed to return to the hotel to layer up Trini some more and whilst at it have some lunch.  A wiener schnitzel for each one of us with parsley potatoes and dill dressing cucumber and green salad. The schnitzel was perfectly cooked as expected and we devoured every morsel of our two pieces.

Another external sojourn delivers us to the tourism office where we discover information regarding Austria's globe museum presenting terrestrial and celestial globes from five centuries, with the oldest globe in the collection dating back to 1536.  The museum beautifully displays 250 globes of its collection of 650, with the smallest at around 11cm in diameter to as large as 110cm (more detailed blog is forthcoming).

Armillary Spheres (astronomical instruments) c1764.

By 5pm darkness has descended and the weather has dropped a few more degrees. Taking a different route back to the hotel we stumble on a fully pedestrianized shopping district.  Beautifully lit up, it is bustling with shoppers and tourists.  I struggled with any window displays depicting summer gear as I was passing by in a coat, hat and gloves and still feeling the cold.

At 6.30pm Trini was asleep (although I swear she said to us that she was only resting), by 7.30pm John was asleep. It is now 8.30pm and it is lights out for me too.  I barely stayed up just long enough to journal this entry.

I know tomorrow will be early but with breakfast cafe selected and exploring location decided on, let the day unfold.