VIENNA, AUSTRIA // TRAVEL DIARY // NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019
December 11, 2019
Moving From West to East
Ben and I were so excited to visit the beautiful historic city of Vienna! As it was quickly approaching December, we were craving some festive spirit and Christmas cheer, and Vienna did not disappoint!
We left lovely Antwerp in the early hours of the morning on the 21st of November and caught a 5 am train to Brussels airport. We arrived in Vienna in the early afternoon and were immediately struck by its stunning architecture, welcoming residents and overall beauty.
Ben and I are members of a website called Trusted Housesitters where animal lovers can apply to look after pets in various cities around the world whilst their owners are away. Sitters get free accommodation and the owners get a free pet sitter for the length of the sit.
This is what brought us to Vienna in the first place. Ben and I spent two weeks looking after a cheeky cat and two beautiful rabbits in an apartment just outside Vienna’s city centre. It was so lovely coming home to furry cuddles after a long day of work or exploring!
Food, Glorious Food!
Okay. So it is pretty evident from all the recipes posted and all of our cooking classes that Ben and I are BIG foodies! One of the things we loved about Vienna was the variety of food we discovered in Vienna itself and its various Christmas markets.
Obviously, being in Austria, there are a few traditional Viennese dishes we HAD to try. Dishes such as schnitzel, bratwurst, and strudel to name a few! However, one of my favourite foods that we discovered is a pastry called a baumstriezel (pictured below).
Variations of this DELICIOUS sugary pastry are also eaten in other countries around Europe but are called different names. For example, Kürtőskalács in Hungary, Trdelník in Romania, or simply “chimney cake” in other countries.
Baumstriezel is a pastry made from dough wrapped around a baking spit, dusted with butter and cooked until golden. It is then dusted with sugar and then baked until caramelised. After baking, the pastry can then be topped with other ingredients, and in our case, it was cinnamon sugar and almonds.
If you are ever in the realms of a European Christmas market, make sure to keep an eye out for this tasty pastry!
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
I mentioned earlier that Ben and I were so looking forward to finally feeling festive as December approached. Vienna was completely submerged in Christmas cheer and it was beautiful!
There were Christmas decorations all across the city, complete with Christmas markets, glowing against the December-night sky. We were utterly consumed with the Christmas spirit as we wandered through the twinkly lights, wooden hatches, and handmade Christmas baubles.
We drank spiced apple punch, smelled the aromas of cinnamon, mulled wine and freshly baked cakes and held hands lovingly, whilst lost in a Winter Wonderland.
Schnitzel & Strudel
On Saturday the 30th of November, Ben and I took the train to west Vienna for our “Schnitzel & Strudel” cooking class with Airbnb experiences!
We had such a lovely time learning traditional Austrian recipes in a beautiful Viennese Biedermeier-Style house from the 1800s. We spent three hours learning and cooking a wide variety of dishes from soup, to schnitzel to strudel – recipes included at the end!
Our host was extremely welcoming and accommodating and possessed a true passion for her country’s cuisine and family history. We met a lovely American family and spent cherished time chatting, eating delicious food and comparing the cultures and Christmas traditions of our respective countries.
Schönbrunn for Lovers
On one of our final days in Vienna, we spent a chilly day taking in the breathtaking magnificence of the Schönbrunn Palace.
The gorgeous palace is one of the most treasured historic buildings in Austria and was the summer home of many generations of the Habsburg royal family. It has a massive 1,441 rooms, each one reflecting the passing of time over its 300-year history.
Today, the palace is a major mark on every tourist’s checklist when travelling to Vienna and receives millions of visitors every year. The palace grounds feature a wide variety of interesting sites, including immaculate gardens, 32 sculptures, a huge hill supporting the Gloriette structure and the “Roman Ruins” architectural feature.
The Schönbrunn Palace has had many famous visitors and residents over the past 300 years, including Mozart, who performed for the Habsburg family when he was only a child!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – that’s for sure!
Ben and I cherished our time spent together in this beautiful city. It was so relaxing to walk around, hand-in-hand, just taking in everything.
We are trying our best to wind down before the glacier of Christmas hits, but we can’t wait to see our families and friends in only a few week’s time for a relaxing break!