Making our way through the mighty Dolomites, we cruised past typical Austrian villages, complete with wooden chalets and green mountain fields. My first night in Austria was spent at the city’s famous amusement park, Prater. It was Canada Day, so I felt a little bit homesick. I managed to find some Canadian flags throughout the park though, and took my picture with them.
The next morning, the day began by introducing ourselves to the city’s historical heritage. There was the imperial grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, the elegantly ornate State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece. We cruised down Kärntner Strasse, Vienna’s main shopping spot and enjoyed some authentic Austrian Sacher torte! Sacher torte is a type of chocolate cake that was invented in Vienna. It is a chocolate and apricot concoction, and one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties. It was phenomenal. The Sacher torte is to Vienna what chocolate chip cookies are to us, or gelato to Italy – it defines it.
We meandered along the magnificent squares, majestic palaces and the city’s art galleries for hours. To take a break we chilled out in Vienna’s manicured gardens and ate popsicles. After our rest and relaxation in the gardens, we all got schnapps savvy with a behind-the-scenes look into this local liqour’s production in an excursion to the Old Vienna Schnapps Museum. Upon entering, a bar top was lined with dozens of different kinds of liqour shots. We all went to town, taking shots of anything from Goldschläger, to mint, caramel, spicy, fruity, or bubblegum-y flavours.
That night, I had the opportunity to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces. We all got really dressed up for this. Seeing as we had been living in tents the past couple weeks, we never ceased to impress each other how nice we could clean up.