Having returned Monday evening from Vienna (see previous article: ‘Four Away-days‘) the contrast twixt there and here are remarkable in more ways than one.
First; the weather. We experienced temperatures rising from 18 degrees (Friday) to 24 degrees (Monday), naturally with cloudless, blue skies; but landing in Newcastle it was 8 degrees and wet – very wet, which continued throughout Tuesday.
Second; cleanliness; Vienna is similar to Switzerland in that it appears spotless – no litter (cigarette ends, plastic bottles, crisp packets, etc) anywhere. This is, no doubt, due to litter bins in relatively close proximity, each of which contained a cigarette ashtray – and as in Switzerland I witnessed people waiting to dispose of their rubbish regardless of content.
Fourth: the ‘Chef de Bar’ presented me with a first: Red Label whisky, Dry Ginger and ice -but with a straw, which made a delightful slow drink (I had more than one each evening!).
Fifth: At Zurich there is a ‘smoker’s room’, prior to going through ‘Security’, which is not that pleasant even for one who smokes. At Heathrow, twixt Terminal 3 and 5, there is an opportunity for a ‘fag-break’ – but is a mesh cage, albeit under cover, in the open air. What did I find in the Vienna lounge but an air-conditioned smoker’s room – a lesson for Heathrow?
Sixth: Can Austrians eat? (Rhetorical question!) The first meal at our hotel we both ordered Wiener Schnitzel, which covered the plate – it would have fed three. Helen has a hearty appetite but could only manage a third of it. The second night (after pleading with the Chef, via the waiter) was better – a lovely piece of baked Cod.
Seventh: Among the highlights for us were a Mozart concert at the Musikverein:
and a Fiaker ride:
We spent Saturday and Sunday (six hours, at least, each day) walking round the city viewing such icons as St. Stephens, the Votiv Church and St. Peters, the interior of the latter being totally stunning in my opinion.
We never got round to visiting the Wiener Riesenrad (in any event Helen had been on it during her last visit some years ago).
Vienna is a most beautiful city and two days is nowhere long enough to see everything. Consequently we plan to return for a much longer period sometime in the near future.