We left at 7:30am from the flat for Heathrow to get our BA flight to Vienna. We had some breakfast in the BA lounge and by the time we were finished it was almost ready to board the plane. I used air miles for the flights and could only get 3 business class and 3 economy class seats and so O, M & S were in economy where you get no food on the flight at all so they went to buy some lunch and drinks for the flight before we boarded. We left a few minutes late but landed early into Vienna (at around 1pm). The guy at passport control was the grumpiest guy ever … matched US passport control guys (or at least my experience of them). He insisted we each come one at a time even though everywhere else in the world you go together as a family. Not the best start to an arrival in Austria but it wasn’t going to affect our view that much.
We took a Uber to the hotel from the airport (needed a van for the 6 of us). We are staying at Motel One Wien Staatsoper (https://www.motel-one.com/en/hotels/vienna/wien-staatsoper/). It is perfectly situated for us and even though the rooms are slightly small and there is no in-room safe or coffee maker, the hotel’s position makes up for that and the quality is quite good. It was recommended by the branch manager of the Vienna office of the company I work for and it was a good recommendation.
We went on a walking tour before dinner. As you can guess from the hotel name, we are very close to the State Opera House in Vienna. From there we walked to St. Stephen’s Cathedral (St Stephen definitely isn’t with us on this trip though). As usual the Cathedral is shrouded in scaffolding as they clean & renovate (as you’ll find for many European Cathedrals). From there we went to Mozart Haus which is now a museum to Mozart. It was where he lived while in Vienna and where he wrote the music for Marriage of Figaro (opera). It was until recently known as Figaro House (for that reason).
I learnt more than I had ever known about Mozart (my knowledge was limited to the movie Amadeus which I realised I had forgotten anyway). I didn’t for instance know that Mozart was a Freemason, nor that he was a big gambler (he lost over half his earnings on gambling and he earned a lot), nor that he was that well paid for a young man (who died young too). He earned more than professionals living in Vienna and was closer in earnings to some of the royalty of his day. I also learnt that Figaro was a political statement against the elite of the day (like most musicians over time he used his music to protest). For the times, the apartment he lived in was quite spacious and again showed his wealth (the rental was about 50% of what the average middle class person would earn in year).
By the time we finished at Mozart Haus I was starving and following the restaurant recommendations of my colleague (branch manager in Vienna again), we walked to Lugeck Figlmuller which is an Austrian restaurant specialising in Wiener Schnitzel. You probably need to make a reservation to get in but we were fortunate that we got a table so long as we finished before 8pm (it was 6:30pm so we thought that perfectly possible). We went totally local including local drinks – Lugeck beer for men and Pear (C), Apricot (H) and Rhubarb & Raspberry (O) juice for ladies. We all went for Wiener Schnitzel and none of us regretted that decision. It really was very nice Schnitzel and the service was excellent as well.
We were so full we went for an after dinner walk on the way back to the hotel. Vienna is a very beautiful city. The buildings and parks and particularly striking. We walked past a lot of museums, the national library, Burggarten, Hofberg etc etc. It is an easy city to walk around despite the throngs (and I really do mean throngs) of people milling around (especially near the Cathedral).
It was a really good afternoon and enjoyed by everyone (Chloe even declared she was feeling really happy).
Until tomorrow P, C (because she’s so happy), H, O, M & S (S should actually be on his own line after today after amount of irritating he did – he was taking the view he was already at the bottom so why not make the most of it)