Sunday 10 August 2014

European Adventure: Day Thirteen - Vienna, Austria

Sunday morning the three of us decided to split up and do our own thing for the day. Everyone wanted to see different things so it seemed to make the most sense. Dad and I met for coffee at Starbucks (Brian hit the ground running by 7:30am wanting to see all the Mozart stuff) and went over our plans. Dad decided to visit the Military Museum and then the outside of Belvedere Castle, whereas I decided to just wander. There were some shops I wanted to see, so I walked up along the street only to learn everything was closed because it was Sunday. That was a disappointment!

I boarded the red bus and got off at the square where there were some large buildings, statues and museums. I wandered around there taking photos, then I walked past the museum quarter. I was considering visiting one of them but the lines were long and the area was crowded. Plus none of them were really super interesting me me, so it seemed like a waste of money. I kept walking up to the Parliament building which was beautiful. It is a normal sized building unlike the massive one in Budapest but really well done. I loved the statue outside it so I spent some more time taking photos.


I walked up to the City Hall building where there was a city park and garden enclosed across from it. I wandered through looking at all the pretty flowers and the trees. By this time it was getting really hot outside so the garden provided some shade. There were people sitting on benches talking, others picnicking and some playing music. I could see it being a very popular place with the locals. 

I picked up the red bus outside the park and was still undecided on where to go. Vienna has a lot to see and do, but I was hot, tired and run down.... nothing really appealed to me. Finally I decided to switch to the blue bus line, which went to the outer part of the city. This took an hour and was disappointing. I learned a lot about Vienna, but there wasn't much to see or to get off at on this line. I didn't want to visit the observation tower or the Ferris wheel and those were the main attractions. I did get to see a unique Church which was cool, as well as parts of the Danube. Other then that it was sort of a waste of time. One area surprised me as the guide talked about them building a new community which was going to have condos, apartments, co-ops and low income housing all in the same complex. I am curious as to how that ends up turning out.

When I switched back to the red bus line I sat at the bottom as the top was full. Besides me, there was a large family with 6 adults and 7 children. 6 of the kids were insane - running around, kicking each other, screaming, putting their feet on the windows... it was chaos and it was clear the driver and guide were getting fed up. Yet the adults did nothing. That is my pet peeve. Just because your on vacation doesn't mean you get to stop being a parent. If you don't want to deal with your kids, don't bring them. At one point adults getting on the bus had to stand because five of the kids were taking up nine seats. When they got off the bus - finally - I watched as the kids ran to a fountain and started climbing on it and splashing water at each other. 

Dad and I met on the bus when it went back to the Opera House and we got off at the gardens. We had decided to meet for coffee and cake at this famous cafe Demel. I had read it was worth visiting, so we made our way toward it. We got a bit lost, but Google maps saved us! We passed another impressive palace and took photos of it, along with all the horse drawn carriages outside. It was only supposed to be a 5 minute walk, but it took us longer to find it.

We sat outside and had carbonated water and cake. I went with their famous torte and Dad had a light raspberry yogurt cake. They were both awesome! The place was really cool inside and you could see the bakery area, and all the cakes on display. All the waitresses were dressed in white aprons and looked like characters from Downton Abby. Austria really takes its baked goods seriously as many places you can only find coffee and cake, and no actual food. Even the lower end cafes have these amazing selections of mouth watering and tempting baked goods on display. Demel has been around forever and was involved in a 9 year lawsuit with another cafe over one of their cakes. They claimed they created it, whereas this fancy cafe at a hotel - Cafe Sacher- claimed it was theirs.

Below is from Wikipedia and is an account of the lawsuit. 

"In the early decades of the twentieth century, a legal battle over the use of the label "The Original Sacher Torte" developed between the Hotel Sacher and the Demel bakery. Eduard Sacher, son of Franz Sacher, the inventor of Sachertorte, had completed his own recipe of his father's cake during his time at Demel, which was the first establishment to offer the "Original" cake. Following the death of Eduard's widow Anna in 1930 and the bankruptcy of the Hotel Sacher in 1934, Eduard Sacher's son (also named Eduard Sacher) found employment at Demel and brought to the bakery the sole distribution right for an Eduard-Sacher-Torte. The first differences of opinion arose in 1938, when the new owners of the Hotel Sacher began to sell Sacher Tortes from vendor carts under the trademarked name "The Original Sacher Torte". After interruptions brought about by the Second World War and the ensuing Allied occupation, the hotel owners sued Demel in 1954, with the hotel asserting its trademark rights and the bakery claiming it developed and bought the title "Original Sacher Torte". Over the next seven years, both parties waged an intense legal war over several of the dessert's specific characteristics, including the change of the name, the second layer of jam in the middle of the cake, and the substitution of margarine for butter in the baking of the cake. The author Friedrich Torberg, who was a frequent guest at both establishments, served as a witness during this process and testified that, during the lifetime of Anna Sacher, the cake was never covered with marmalade or cut through the middle. In 1963 both parties agreed on an out of court settlement that gave the Hotel Sacher the rights to the phrase "The Original Sachertorte" and gave the Demel the rights to decorate its tortes with a triangular seal that reads Eduard-Sacher-Torte."

Seriously, a 9 year lawsuit over cake?!?!?! Austrians really take desert seriously!

Dad and I found a different way to walk back to the hotel through a cool pedestrian street. It was packed but nothing was open which was a disappointment. We watched a street performer for a few minutes and stopped to admire many fountains and buildings. It was still early but we were done. Dad went to sleep and I went to play on my iPad, read and blog. This trip had been so busy that I was fine with missing a few hours in Vienna and staying in the hotel room. The room was really warm, but still cooler then being outside.

Brian came back briefly before heading out again. He spent the day seeing Mozart's house, climbing the large cathedral towers, doing the music museum and a bunch more things. He had the most active and touristy day out of us all. We met for dinner later that night at a brew pub. It served American and Austrian food and wasn't bad. It wasn't the best meal of the trip but it was cheap and easy- and thankfully it wasn't pizza!

After dinner Dad went back to the hotel and Brian and I went to Cafe Mozart for drinks. I had a hot chocolate with Mozart liquor and Brian had Turkish coffee. Since he had missed desert in the afternoon, he ordered a chocolate cake as well. It was a cute cafe outside and we enjoyed sitting there and listening to street performers. We didn't stay out too late as we had to get back to the room and pack up for our next destination. 

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