Winter showers bring May flowers … or March flowers, as it is. Vienna’s Hotel Capricorno has really managed to blossom anew, following a complete overhaul all of its 42 rooms for the comfort of a modern, contemporary Vienna city hotel. And yet, it still manages to preserve the typical “charm” of the Viennese tradition: Large black & white photo canvases showing typical local architecture. A mighty staircase for a small sense of the former empire. Friendly smiles everywhere (the notion of the “grumpy Viennese” is definitely being defied here). “Those pictures of Vienna that you can see? I have taken all of them myself”, Peter Buocz of the Hotel Capricorno tells us with a modest smile; Peter who welcomes us as friends rather than as guests and who is already familiar to us for having “met” him on the YouTube video channel of the Hotel Capricorno …! That is just how it goes, in the blogging age.
Finding a good reason to celebrate, Peter has invited Christof Habres, author of the famous “Wiener Barbuch” in order to tell the real insider story of the local Viennese bar culture. Christof and Peter take me & my colleagues Janett (“Teilzeitreisender”), Eva (“WhereEVAimayroam”) & Samantha (“TheWanderingWanderluster”) under their wing, highlighting some of the best local bars in town and living rather than reading, what his new guide book is all about …!
Do make sure you get the new “Wiener Barbuch” (Vienna Bar Guide) – and leaf through it from the terrace at Schick Hotel Am Parkring. It likely offers you the best possible view over the inner city of Vienna.
“Vienna upon second glance”. Not because our vision is still impaired from the previous bar night out … but because Vienna really has got a lot to offer upon first, second or even third glance!
Word from an “almost-local” like me! After all, my lovely home town Krems is only an hour’s drive away from Vienna. And yet, this guided tour “Vienna upon second glance” run by Katharina Trost, herself a charming and super knowledgeable, certified tour guide, did have me discover new things constantly. Windows For Peace? Sycamore trees that are being protected as cultural monuments? Statues in fountains that understandably caused outrage in times of the empress Maria Theresia – for their sexy allure .. ?
Well. They were definitely more reserved in those days. But going beyond what meets the eye, here in the centre of Vienna’s first district – a city centre essentially displaying the charm of a small countryside town! – many more details wait to be found. Which is why we have taken to the streets under the expert guidance of dear Kathi, whose vivid, historical storytelling accounts I have translated into an “InstaWalk” of modern times. Not sure what we mean by that? Then I encourage you to have a look at some of the most beautiful impressions during our tour “Vienna upon second glance“!
Klosterneuburg Abbey easily comes to mind (and sight!) when visiting Vienna. An experience for all the senses – especially us travelling as the #winelover in town!
Yes, they did grow wine here for many centuries already. Last year too, I completely succumbed to the magic of the mighty monastery more than 900 years old, travelling as part of a “garden glory” trip to the abbeys and monastery parks of Lower Austria. The palace-like building structures should have become the former “El Escorial” of Austria, hinting at the many ties with the Spanish crown of the Habsburg nobility at the time. Delightful wines are being stored and produced in the mighty old cellars of the abbey, including a tour to introduce us to all its art & architecture history. Besides the pompous abbey church, it is the Sala Terrena at the very entrance itself that takes my breath away each time. “Thank God” there is a glass of wine to relax and unwind after it all, allowing you to take in the historical ambiance from an aromatic and delightful point of view.
But the magic does not stop there. Now, it is our turn to taste what the Viennese cuisine really is all about – with a so-called “Alt-Wiener Schmankerl-Reise” at Schick Hotel Stefanie.
This view will simply leave you feel hungry. Tender veal goulash, slow-cooked and served with its more exotic sister dish, a Vegetarian-type spice goulash. “I take the goulash trio“, I beam at the waiter, happily handing her the menu and feeling my taste buds tingle with delight. At the Wiener Wirtschaft restaurant of the Schick Hotel Rainer (it seems there is a “Schick Hotel” for every preference around town here – rooms, view, food!), I share the following photo, causing #foodie uproar throughout Social Media – and promptly being shared by the hotel team itself.!
Afterwards, we are taken to a “foodie journey of a kind“, taking us to the fairy-tale land of the Viennese cuisine: Goulash & Salzstangerl. Beef broth with stripes of pancake (it’s called “Frittatensuppe”.). Tafelspitz beef with veggies and horseradish mixed with apple mousse (delightful ..!). Schnitzel with potato salad (a classic). Kaiserschmarren & Powidl for dessert (go pronounce!) … I might have eaten for two on this day. But who can resist such a feast? And after all … the Vienna bar tour certainly does something to burn off those extra calories walking, partying … right? 😉
Vienna upon third glance maybe. As my very last travel tip for you here.!
Last but not least, I do encourage you to wander (and wonder). On this cool spring day, we left the Schick Hotels here in Vienna behind and simply took off exploring whatever tickled our fancy. Much like the wind blowing us around on this Sunday in March, leaving people hurrying towards Vienna’s famous coffee houses and us walking hand in hand, side by side. Past many little details that even I had not really become aware of before: It is only when you “slow travel in your own city” that you end up literally seeing new things! A larger-than-life, big pink rabbit in front of the Vienna State Opera. Huge buttons in a shop window, telling “Es Keat Oanfoch Viel Mehr Gschmust!” (“People should kiss a lot more!”). “Zwetschkenflecke” cakes at Café Sperl, one of Vienna’s oldest and most traditional coffee houses. “What is a Zwetschkenfleck?”, my German & Polish visitors ask.
You see. Some things are not even obvious to our German-speaking neighbours. The Viennese are different, to say the least – even or especially if you come from Austria yourself. A type of “Wiener Schmäh”, the subtle humour of the imperial capital city, that makes you laugh and smile on countless occasions. And leaves you with a desire to come back, time and time again.
Check out even more travel stories & tips about Vienna here.
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Schick Hotels Wien to go on a culinary-cultural journey of Vienna. All opinions are my own.