We arrived mid-morning, and as our room at the Konzerthaus Hotel wasn't yet ready, we set off on foot to explore the city. We walked along one of the main shopping streets, stopped to admire Stephansdom, ate a delicious lunch of viennese sausages and walked a loop around to Hofburg Palace and Museum Quarter - stopping to admire the Mozart Memorial along the way back to the hotel.
We discovered the amazing and wonderful Gmoa Keller, a traditional Viennese Inn, right near our hotel where we feasted on Weiner Schnitzels and Cordon Bleu - and Ben was blown away by his vegetarian dishes. If you are ever in Vienna, I would highly recommend making the trip to eat here!
Day 2 saw us venture to the Riesenrad - the ferris wheel made famous from the old-school movie The Third Man. I quite like getting up high in a new city to get a good sense of direction and as Vienna doesn't have many tall buildings you get a really nice view over the whole city (whilst also freaking out about how windy it is up there!). We then had a hot date with a Sacher Torte at Cafe Demel - made famous for being the original maker of the Sacher (although this is highly debated, with Hotel Sacher also claiming this fame). Of course, we had to try both just to see for ourselves - I highly recommend trying the "mini" tortes - it was a close call for me - the Demel mini had a lovely tingly coating of apricot jam between the cake and ganache, whereas the Hotel Sacher variety had an extra layer of jam in the middle which was just as divine.
Then finally, the night had arrived - the Spanish Riding School performance. There aren't really words to describe how beautiful this was - the horses are magnificent and talented and the venue gorgeous - it truly is an amazing tradition that has been carried on since 1745!!! We followed with dinner (i.e. more schnitzel's :) at Cafe Griensteidl opposite the School, and another meal that didn't disappoint!
New Years Eve started with swooning over the largest collection of Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere, watching Ben get his skate on at the massive ice skating rink near our hotel (about 4 times bigger than any in London!) and our final trip to Hotel Sacher. By that stage, the streets were getting quite busy with revellers, so we headed back for, yep you guessed it, more schnitzel - this time at the hotel restaurant! After dinner, Ben and I headed out to join the street party and were amazed at how civilised everyone was, even though there was a large amount of alcohol being consumed - that certainly wouldn't happen in Australia!
So now we are home, back in rainy London and as I type this, the New Year Concert is being shown on BBC Four and we have just witnessed ballet dancers in the Klimt room of the Belvedere, not only dancing in front of "The Kiss", but recreating it - we are all very excited to claim that we were there just yesterday, and saw all of the equipment being set up - how cool to be able to see the "other end" of all of that - I personally find it all very fascinating!!!!